Planning to rear turkeys and chickens together and wondering if they can live together?
Poultry birds are known to live together without serious issues. So it’s not unsual to find a farm where chickens, ducks, turkeys etc. all live together.
Can turkeys and chickens live together? Well, yes, they can. Turkeys and chickens can live peaceably together without one hurting the other. Chickens are easy going birds who would not cause trouble as long as they have plenty food to eat and a large farm or field to roam and dig.
They sometimes get aggressive and challenge one another but they wouldn’t bother the turkeys.
Turkeys are much more bigger than chickens so it will discourage the chickens from troubling them.
It is also essential you introduce them properly so they can get used to each other on the farm and learn to live well together.
Will turkeys kill chickens?
Turkeys can kill chickens but if they will, it depends on the mood and gender of the turkeys involved.
Turkeys are larger than chickens, so if they are not introduced properly before rearing them together, there can be injuries and even death.
Turkeys are territorial in nature and sometimes male chickens are too.
This is why keeping them in the same pen or coop is a bad choice. If you are going to rear them together on your farm, make sure you provide different coops for them to live in.
You should also avoid keeping male turkeys with female chickens. The turkeys will attempt to mate with the chickens and because of their big sizes the chickens could be crushed to death.
Related: Here is a comprehensive guide I wrote on How to raise turkeys.
Can a turkey and chicken cross breed?
Turkeys and chickens may mate but crossbreed? It is unlikely.
Many attempts have been carried out to crossbreed turkeys and chickens but they haven’t been successful.
So right now there is no turkey and chicken breed anywhere.
When male chicken are mated with female turkeys in an attempt to crossbreed them, the turkeys usually lay fertile eggs that cannot develop into an embryo.
If the eggs develop into an embryo, they won’t hatch. It is a time consuming process that isn’t worth it.
In a research carried out many years ago, only about three hybrids grew to maturity out of over two thousand fertile eggs.
So if you’re going to rear turkeys and chickens together and you are worried they will crossbreed, don’t be.
They probably will mate though which should be avoided because of their health.
So keep them in different coops.
How do you introduce turkeys to chickens?
First, if you are going to rear turkeys and chickens together, you should start with young turkeys and chickens.
There’s more chance at success than keeping adult turkeys and chickens who didn’t grow together.
But it isn’t impossible.
Separate them by dividers into the same coop. That way, they are close to each other but in different apartments.
This makes it easy for them to get used to each other and not get alarmed by each other’s presence when you allow them roam together on the farm.
Do this for a few days or about two weeks.
After getting acquainted through the divider, they will likely ignore one another when you let them roam free together on the farm.
You should however be close by and keep watch until you are sure they are fine being together.
Can you raise baby turkeys and chickens together?
Yes, you can. First, you have to make sure the turkeys and animals aren’t carrying any diseases, especially the baby chickens.
Blackhead spreads fast between chickens and turkeys and it is very deadly to turkeys.
If blackwood is not a common disease in your area then you have nothing to worry about.
Baby chickens and baby turkeys have been known to live and grow well together on a number of farms.
You should however monitor them carefully.
Baby chickens are very active compared to baby turkeys and could trample them.
That’s why you should keep watch for a few days until you are sure there won’t be problems.
Because baby turkeys are quite fragile, they need more heat than baby chickens.
So if you’re going to keep them together, ensure you provide heat that will help the turkeys thrive.
It won’t hurt the baby chickens.
Do turkeys protect chickens?
Turkeys aren’t much protection for chickens. I’ve seen cases where hawks still carried chickens while they were roaming with turkeys.
You could however train your turkeys to alert you when hawks or other predators are nearby.
Turkeys are also known to break fights between chickens.
If you have two aggressive male chickens always fighting, your turkeys can help minimize these fights when you are not there, so they won’t hurt themselves.
Are turkeys louder than chickens?
Most times turkeys are quiet, but when they make their sounds (gobbling, cackling, etc.) they can be heard a mile or so away.
Theirs sounds carry very far.
Chickens on the other hand hardly ever stay quiet. Their sounds may not carry very far but they are always making one sound or the other, even when feeding!
Whether they are foraging, nursing their young ones, or with their fellow chickens, they always seem to have something to say.
Can turkeys and chickens eat the same food?
Yes, turkeys and chickens can eat the same food.
There isn’t much of a difference between a turkey and chicken feed. Their treats are also similar.
You should note however that baby turkeys require more protein in their diet than baby chickens so baby turkeys can’t eat the same feed as the chickens.
You can however feed the baby turkeys’ feed to the baby chickens, the extra protein won’t hurt them at all.
Turkeys and chickens can live together if introduced early and properly.
The turkeys will ignore the chickens mostly and go about their daily routine while the chickens dig earth and play.
You should however keep them in separate coops in order to avoid fights and unwanted mating, which can lead to the death of your precious chickens.
Turkeys and chickens can eat the same food so they can be fed together if they get along well.
Overall, keeping turkeys and chickens together isn’t a bad idea if you have weighed the pros and cons and you are quite sure you can manage it.