Do Turkeys Eat Ticks? (Here is What You Need To Know)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Turkeys are a wonderful addition to your backyard poultry birds, not only because of their large meat size but also because they can eat anything.

They love to forage and can keep their stomach full with all kind of food like seeds and grains, fruits, snails and even small reptiles like lizards and small snakes.

Do turkeys eat ticks? Turkeys also enjoy eating parasites like ticks. There is no evidence that they seek them out, but turkeys will eat ticks if they find them.

Ticks are parasites that feed on blood.

They are not particular about their host, as they suck on both human and animal blood.

They are dangerous because they can transfer a number of diseases to humans and animals.

Turkeys are known to be great eaters of ticks which is something amazing because there is need for our backyards and homes to be free of these blood sucking parasites.

Can wild turkeys keep your yards free of ticks?

do turkeys eat ticks

Wild turkeys are natural tick eaters and consume a lot of them while foraging but unfortunately they can’t keep your yards free of ticks.

Adult wild turkeys are said to eat up to 200 ticks in a day.

Imagine 10 of them in your backyard. This should be an effective way of controlling ticks in your yard or even eradicating them completely but this is unlikely.

Why? Wild turkeys do not confine themselves to a yard.

They will most probably not turn your yard to their permanent habitat.

Most times, when you spot them in your yard, they are probably just passing by.

And a flock of wild turkeys passing by your yard once in a while isn’t enough to keep your yards free of ticks.

Related: Can turkeys eat meat?

Where do ticks live and how do they find their host?

Ticks are usually found where their hosts normally live and roam.

You will definitely find them in grassy and woody areas where deer’s, squirrels, birds, rabbits, mice and other rodents live and roam.

Ticks can also be found in urban areas and on beaches, so staying away from bushes and tall grasses can’t protect you from ticks.

They can basically be found everywhere that is moist and shady.

They however stay away from dry and sunny areas. They also can’t be found on trees.

Without blood ticks cannot survive for long which is why they must find hosts to feed on regularly.

They usually keep the first pair of their legs outstretched, waiting for a host to pass by.

Once a host passes by, they climb onto them and attach themselves.

They then go on to bite and feed. On humans, they like to be in areas like scalp, groin, back of neck etc.

What makes ticks dangerous?

Ticks are dangerous for a number of reasons.

They are parasites that survive by sucking blood from hosts.

Ticks bite.

Though most of their bites are painless, they cause symptoms on the body like redness, swelling or sores.

A tick bite can cause your animals to have anemia, paralysis, lameness etc.

This is why you should make sure your turkeys’ living areas are not pest infected.

Ticks are also dangerous to humans and animals because they transmit diseases to their hosts.

Ticks are carriers of about nine bacterial diseases, including the Lyme disease and the Rocky spotted mountain fever (RSMF), which can be deadly to you and your pets.

Ticks can give your farm animals and poultry birds diseases that can eventually kill them.

This is why you have to take ticks seriously if you live in an environment that is populated by them.

Here is a comprehensive guide on how to raise turkeys for profit

How to prevent ticks from infesting your birds and other animals.

You can prevent ticks from infesting your birds and other animals by doing a tick treatment around your home and animals.

The first place to treat for treatment is your yard, where your birds and other animals roam, forage and play.

You can treat this area by spraying liquid insecticides and Insect growth regulator (IGR).

Since ticks can be anywhere in the yard, you have to spray everywhere.

Mix the liquid insecticide with the IGR in a sprayer, add water and spray your yard.

Read the product label so you can know the product to water ratio.

Make sure the insecticide is a tick controller before buying.

The insecticides will kill mature ticks, while the IGR helps stop the young ticks from growing to sexual maturity and reproducing.

To prevent ticks from infesting your birds and animals, you also have to treat them for ticks.

√ Spray them with spot-on pet tick drops every 4-6 weeks. This kills the ticks and makes them drop off your birds and animals. If the tick dies but doesn’t drop, remove it from the body of your animal with tweezers.

√ Give them a tick bath with medicated shampoo. If your animals don’t mind having a bath, this is another option that works well.

√ You could also use tick sprays instead of spot-on drops. This kills the ticks instantly and prevent infestation for a short period.

Can turkeys get Lyme diseases from eating ticks?

No, turkeys cannot get Lyme disease from eating ticks.

To infest their host with diseases, ticks have to bite. This does not even happen immediately.

To transmit Lyme disease, hard ticks would have been attached to their hosts for about 36 hours.

Only immature ticks transmit Lyme disease almost immediately.

When the adult tick is at the end of its meal and full of blood, it then transmits diseases.

This cannot happen after they have been killed and eaten by turkeys. There has not been an instance of a turkey getting Lyme disease after eating ticks.


Turkeys are usually not choosy about their food and can eat anything.

They eat plants, fruits, nuts and large insects. Ticks aren’t an exception.

Wild turkeys will eat ticks in your yard when they pass across but they cannot keep your yards free of ticks.

Ticks usually live in areas where their hosts live and roam, and that’s in grassy and woody areas.

They attach themselves to their hosts when they pass by feeding on their blood for like 2 days before detaching from them.

Ticks are quite dangerous because they can transmit diseases to their hosts which include humans.

This is why you need to get your environment completely free of them.


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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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