Before You Start Keeping Turkeys: Must-Know Facts
The desire to keep pets goes beyond cats and dogs. Keeping turkeys is a rising trend, thanks to their unique temperament and minimal grooming needs. But, domesticated turkeys come with their own set of needs, including housing and feeding requirements.
Unlike their wild cousins, domesticated male turkeys can grow up to 86 pounds, which is a whopping four times bigger! Picture a bird as long as four feet with some eye-catching tail feather spread. Speaking of feathers, did you know only the males can fan their beautiful tail feathers as part of their elaborate mating display? It’s truly a sight to behold!
Comfortable Housing for Your Turkeys
Some turkeys are flight capable, while others prefer to stay primarily grounded. For non-flying turkeys, a simple fenced-in yard works as a perfect home. Flying turkeys, however, require a netted enclosure to ensure they can’t escape. The recommended space for a pair of turkeys is a 90-square-foot area, enclosed by a six-foot-tall fence.
Additional to that, turkeys need a shelter from adverse weather. Options range from a basic tarp to a more complex barn stall. Regardless of what you choose, cleanliness is key!
Keep Their Home Clean
Turkeys like their surroundings spick and span. Daily disposal of waste and addition of fresh hay or dirt will keep them happy and healthy. After all, cleanliness contributes to overall turkey welfare.
How to Feed Your Turkeys Right?
Feeding turkeys goes beyond mere pellets. They also enjoy a variety of fruits and veggies, grains, and even small bugs. Not to forget, they need constant access to clean, fresh water.
What About Young Turkeys?
Baby turkeys, or poults, can be fussy eaters. If they reject pellets initially, offer them crickets, spiders, and earthworms. However, exercise caution when catching bugs to avoid any exposure to insecticides.
Caring for Your Turkeys
Health and exercise go hand in hand for turkeys. They need sufficient space to flex their muscles and keep fit. However, improper care, such as overfeeding and neglecting physical exercise, can lead to health complications.
What About Diseases?
Turkeys are susceptible to parasites, notably Blackhead disease. This disease is primarily transmitted by chickens and often proves fatal for the turkeys. Therefore, it’s essential to keep regular checks for early detection and intervention.