What Do Turkeys Eat?

What To Feed Turkeys

Raising turkeys as part of having a reliable food source in case of an emergency may seem like a no-brainer, but do you know exactly what to feed turkes as well as what to feed wild turkeys so they’ll be healthy and grow to full size? Feeding turkeys may seem simple enough at first, but there’s more to it than just throwing down hen scratch and leaving them to it. Do it wrong and they’ll be sick and underweight. Luckily, I’ve got some handy pointers below to help you learn all you need to know to get your birds big, healthy and plump.

Raising turkeys as part of having a reliable food source in case of an emergency may seem like a no-brainer, but do you know exactly what to feed turkes as well as what to feed wild turkeys so they’ll be healthy and grow to full size? Feeding turkeys may seem simple enough at first, but there’s more to it than just throwing down hen scratch and leaving them to it. Do it wrong and they’ll be sick and underweight. Luckily, I’ve got some handy pointers below to help you learn all you need to know to get your birds big, healthy and plump.

What to feed domesticated turkeys

Medicated or un-medicated feed:

One of the first things you’re going to want to ask yourself is should I give my turkey medicated feed? If your vet finds that your birds have developed Coccidiosis – a disease that causes diarrhea and can cause a turkey not to grow well, then it may be called for. However, giving your turkeys plenty of room, not letting droppings build up or get wet, getting them out on pastures by eight weeks, and getting your chicks vaccinated will eliminate the need for it.

Different feed for different stages:

Knowing what to feed turkes at what stage of life is crucial to their growth. You want to start them off with turkey starter crumbs that have a protein content of 22% - 24% until they are about seven weeks old. After that, you want to switch them on to a growler or finishing food that has a lower protein ratio of about 20%. If you don’t plan to slaughter them at six months or so and mean to keep them for breeding, then switch to a 16% protein feed around breeding season.

How much feed will it take:

You can estimate feeding each Tom about 100 lbs. of feed for an eight month lifespan. For a hen, the estimate is closer to 60 pounds. While it may seem to make more money sense to only get hens, the pay-off with the bigger meat makes the Toms worth the extra cost.

What to feed turkeys from the home:

Domesticated turkeys should not be fed meat, processed food or salted food from the dinner table. Try to keep the stale bread and cereal to a minimum, because of the low nutrition content. It’s just fine to feed them any veggies or fruit you have left over, though.

How do I store Turkey Feed:

Be sure to not let you turkey feed go bad and only buy enough to last two to four weeks at a time. Keeping your feed in a plastic container will keep it safe from mold causing condensation and putting that plastic container inside a metal one will keep it safe from mice, too.

What supplements should I use:

Knowing what supplements to give your turkeys is as important as knowing what to feed them. I recommend feed with lysine and methionine for the first six weeks to help with feather growth. After that your birds are going to need feed with a high trace mineral and vitamin count and a different calcium/phosphorus ratio than you would find in chicken feed, on account of their bigger bones. Probiotics can help plump up struggling birds by improving their digestion, too.

What to feed wild turkeys:

It takes a different kind of know-how to know how to feed wild turkeys. Wild turkeys are wily creatures and won’t just come in a flock because you put some seed out in your yard. It takes a little more work, but the taste of wild turkey makes it worth it.

What will wild turkeys eat:

Wild turkeys will eat nuts, acorns, berries, roots, grass, a variety of insects, as well as small lizards, snakes and amphibians. While they will also eat seed, corn and soy, they are opportunistic foragers whose omnivorous habits leave nothing off the table, including baby bunnies.

How to make wild turkeys forage on your land:

Since wild turkeys are foragers, you’ve got to make your land friendly to their eating habits to entice them on to your property. Let leaves accumulate on the ground to provide cover for insects and amphibians. Practice discing the soil with shallow tilling to encourage roots and forage foods to grow under full grown wooded areas that turkeys like to forage in.

Knowing what to feed your turkeys doesn’t have to be difficult. Just follow my advice I’ve outlined here, and you’ll be set. Leave me a comment if you have any questions. I’ve provided a few links below if you want to read more.

http://smallfarm.about.com/od/farmanimals/a/How-To-Raise-Turkeys-From-Poults.htm

https://poultrykeeper.com/keeping-turkeys-faq/what-should-i-feed-turkeys/

http://agricultured.org/feeding-turkeys/

http://mylandplan.org/content/how-attract-turkeys-your-land

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWE3cXpFmOQ

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About the author

Cory Thomas

Chief editor here at Survive The Wild, I'm a proud husband and father passionate about survival and preparedness that doesn't involve dependence on anyone but myself!

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