Do Turkeys Eat Meat? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Turkeys are not choosy eaters so they eat a wide range of foods.

Do turkeys eat meat? Most of their diet comes from grains, seeds, fruits and nuts but they eat small animals too. So yes, turkeys do eat meat. Turkeys forage a lot, even domestic ones. They search for worms and large insects like grasshoppers and spiders and eat them. Turkeys also ear small reptiles like lizards and snakes.

In eating meat, turkeys don’t just limit themselves to reptiles alone as they also eat rats, frogs, mice etc.

They do not limit themselves to a particular type of meat as all meat is game to them.

Your domestic turkeys can be fed meat too. You just have to make sure the meat is cooked and not raw.

Cooked pork, beef, fish etc. is okay for them to eat.

As long as your turkeys love them, because turkeys tend to have different personalities.

What are the health benefits of meat?

do turkeys eat meat

Not only can turkeys eat meat, meat has a lot of benefits for them.

They can gain lots of nutrients from meat which will help them stay healthy.

Let’s discuss some of these benefits.

1. Protein.

Turkeys need a diet that is high in protein especially when young.

This helps them to grow well and gain muscle quickly.

Protein gotten from meat can supply this to turkeys.

In fact, animal protein provides all the nine essential amino acids.

A deficiency of protein in turkeys causes retarded growth.

It also reduces the sizes of their eggs or the quantity of eggs they lay in that period.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on how do turkeys mate

2. Iron.

Red meat like beef, goat etc. are rich in iron.

Eating this type of meat is good for turkeys as it supplies them with the needed iron required for their health.

A deficiency in iron causes anemia which is a serious condition that can lead to death if not treated immediately.

3. Vitamin B12.

Meat is a good source of vitamin B12, which is necessary for turkeys to maintain a healthy growth.

A deficiency in vitamin B12 causes nervous breakdown, decrease in feeding, loss of weight, reduction in egg size etc.

Do turkeys eat dead animals?

No, turkeys do not eat dead animals.

Turkeys are not carrion eaters so as much as they love animal meat, they will stay away from a dead animal.

Due to their curious nature though, they may circle a dead predator for several minutes just to be sure it’s dead.

Interested in raising turkeys? Check out this comprehensive guide

Are turkeys carnivores?

Carnivores are animals that eat meat only, and as we know turkeys eat a whole lot of other foods apart from meat so turkeys are not carnivores.

Turkeys aren’t picky when it comes to food so they mostly eat what comes their way.

Will turkeys eat fruits, seeds, grain, corn, nuts etc.

They even eat leaves and grasses. Insects are also not spared.

Your domestic turkeys would probably eat these if it were made available too.

So no, turkeys are not carnivores at all.

What should you not feed turkeys?

Your turkeys would probably eat whatever you give them since they are not choosy.

But it doesn’t mean all foods are safe for them.

This is a list of some of the food you shouldn’t feed your turkeys.

✓ Uncooked meat. I mentioned earlier that turkeys are omnivores, which means they can eat plants and animal meat. You should however not feed your turkeys raw meat. Uncooked meat may contain bacteria that is harmful to your turkeys. Make sure meat is well cooked before feeding it to your turkeys to avoid illnesses.

✓ Uncooked beans. Beans should also be cooked before feeding it to turkeys. Uncooked beans contain phytohemagglutinin which is very harmful to turkeys. The resulting illnesses can even lead to death.

✓ Avoacados. Avocados are good for us but quite toxic for our turkeys. They cannot eat them. Avocados can destroy their heart cells leading to heart failure and eventually death.

✓ Onions. This contains toxin that can kill the red blood cells of turkeys, so it should be avoided. Don’t feed them to your turkeys, and don’t keep them lying around so your turkeys won’t eat them without your knowledge.

✓ Tomato leaves. Tomato leaves and every plants belonging to the nightshade family are toxic to poultry birds. Don’t feed them to your turkeys.

What do turkeys like to eat most?

Turkeys aren’t picky eaters, so they don’t really have favorites when it comes to food.

Turkeys also differ in personalities like humans.

This means what my turkeys love and go crazy over, your turkeys may not like them.

Generally though, turkeys love to eat greens; grass and clover weeds. They enjoy eating the growing tips of grass.

They also like kitchen scraps, small animals and fruits. They enjoy bananas a lot.


Turkeys eat meat.

They eat a wide range of food as they forage and large insects and animals are not left out.

Turkeys eat snakes, lizards, snails, slugs etc. whatever it is they find. Turkeys eat red meat too.

Meat is also quite beneficial to their health.

They get a lot of minerals and vitamins from meat which helps in their overall growth.

They get vitamins that boosts their immune systems, protein that help them grow well and quickly, iron that helps in red blood cells formation etc.

Turkeys do not however eat dead animals.

Once an animal is dead, they do not eat it.

Even if it’s an animal they enjoy eating.

They are not carnivores as they also eat plants and grasses.

You should however note that not all good is good for your turkeys.

Yes, they aren’t choosy about their food but it doesn’t mean they can eat anything.

Don’t feed them tomato leaves or any plant in the nightshade family, onions, avocados etc.

They can cause them serious health issues, pain and even death.

They enjoy eating fruits but try to remove the seeds.

They love nuts, plant tops, kitchen scraps, cooked meat etc. They also love eating bananas.


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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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