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  • Writer's pictureAnnie

Can Turkeys and Chickens Live Together?


turkey in the yard with chickens

Photo Credit: Cackle Hatchery


I remember our kids begging us for a couple of turkeys to add to our flock. While the idea sounded a bit fun at the time, we decided to stick to chickens due to our set up not being ready to take on a turkey as well.


Can Chicken and Turkeys Live Together?

Yes, turkeys and chickens can live together under the right conditions. I know many people who have mixed flocks and do it well. However, if you don’t have the right set up, it can be a challenge for your birds to be one big happy family! 


Here are some factors to consider when raising chickens and turkeys together:

 

1. Space: Both turkeys and chickens need ample space to roam and forage. Make sure to provide enough space in the coop and outdoor area to prevent overcrowding and potential aggression. Chickens need 4 square feet per bird in the coop and 10 square feet in the run. Turkeys are quite a bit bigger than chickens and therefore require about 6-10 square feet of coop space per bird and around 10-25 square feet of run space per bird. If you free range your flock, that seems best if you have a mixed flock. It gives everyone all the room they need to forage for yummy snacks and to get away from one another if needed.

 

2. Feed: Turkeys have different nutritional requirements than chickens. It’s important to provide separate feed for turkeys to ensure they are getting the right balance of nutrients. This can be a bit tricky if you’re trying to keep them from eating one another’s food. I’d recommend separate feeding areas for each and then let them free range after feeding time.

 

3. Health: Turkeys are susceptible to certain diseases that chickens can carry without showing symptoms, such as Blackhead disease (histomoniasis) and Mycoplasma gallisepticum. These diseases can be fatal for turkeys, making regular health checks essential to prevent their spread. Keeping a close eye on your flock and maintaining good biosecurity practices can help protect your turkeys from these threats. Always consult with a veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your birds!


4. Behavior: Turkeys and chickens have different social structures and behaviors. While chickens tend to be more social and establish a pecking order, turkeys can become more aggressive, particularly during the breeding season in the spring from February through early June. Of course, breeding season can vary depending on the region and the arrival of spring. Make sure to monitor their interactions to prevent any aggression. This can also be a danger to your hens if the turkeys get aggressive. Your chickens could get injured or even die under the wrath of an aggressive turkey, so some people separate their flocks during this time.

 

5. Roosting: Turkeys prefer higher roosting areas compared to chickens. Ensure that there are roosting options at different heights to accommodate both species. Chickens do like to get high, but turkeys are next level when it comes to roosting. In the wild, turkeys will roost high up in trees to keep safe from predators.

 

6. Integrating: When introducing turkeys to an existing flock of chickens, do it gradually and monitor their interactions closely. It's best to introduce them when they are young to minimize aggression. I would integrate them the same way I do my other flocks. Slowly and closely monitored so no one gets hurt.

 

Overall, with proper care, space, and attention to their specific needs, turkeys and chickens can live together peacefully. For some flocks, the turkeys actually become the protectors against predators! With proper care and monitoring, many people have done it! But for me? I’ll stick with my chickens.

 

Until next time,

 

–The Wing Lady

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