Do Turkeys Make Good Pets? (All You Need To Know)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Ever wondered if turkeys can be used as pets? Are there any things in particular you need to know about?

Do turkeys make good pets? Yes, turkeys make very good pets. They are affectionate and easy to care for. Turkeys are very interesting creatures and look amazing. The beautiful feathers of the toms makes them a good addition to them home.

The hens are docile and friendly which makes them ideal as pets especially for children.

Turkeys are hardy animals.

They are not difficult to care for and aren’t prone to sicknesses.

They can ride through any kind of weather with no issues. Another reason people choose them as pets.

They are also lovely pets that will give you eggs. Turkey eggs are bigger than chicken eggs.

So keeping them as pets means you get eggs to eat.

They are social and won’t shy away from you or get aggressive when you try to love them.

Are turkeys affectionate?

Do Turkeys Make Good Pets
Turkeys and chickens strolling at the village courtyard

Yes, turkeys are affectionate. In fact, in my opinion, they are very affectionate.

These lovely birds will let you pet and hug them for hours without complaining.

They will follow you around and keep you company if they like and trust you.

Turkeys treated well while growing will come to love humans and bond well with them.

They’ll always try to get attention by coming around you every time. That’s why kids love to hold and pet them.

Related: Want to know how to raise turkeys? Read this comprehensive guide

Can you have a wild turkey as a pet?

No, you cannot have a wild turkey as a pet, no matter how tempting it looks.

First, it is banned in a lot of countries and states.

It is illegal for you to keep wild turkeys in your house without a game holding permit. And you cannot sell or buy them.

For example, in South Carolina, it illegal to rob wild turkeys’ nests, have their eggs in your possession or keep wild turkeys.

Apart from this, wild turkeys are not used to living in captivity or bondage.

They are used to being in the wild, foraging in the forest and sleeping in trees.

That is their natural habitat and their instincts will always drive them back there, no matter how much you care for them.

Because of fear of capture and prey instincts, they might be afraid of you which can make them aggressive enough to attack you.

So keeping them as wild pets isn’t advisable.

A farmer got three wild poults from his friend who hatched them, and tried caring for them.

But it just wasn’t possible. They gave him all kinds of trouble.

Banging their heads on the cage, spilling their water and later dying. The domestic life is just not for them.

Some have successfully done it but I don’t think it’s worth the trouble.

Are turkeys easy to keep?

Yes, turkeys are easy to keep.

They are not prone to diseases and they can survive even terrible harsh weather conditions.

They eat kitchen remnants and also insects and small animals.

So they care for themselves well. Turkeys are social and will relate with you well if you care for them.

They however require a large space to sleep and pasture to forage.

They usually require more space than chicken’s because of their large size.

They also need more care while young but that’s just for about 8 weeks.

What breed of turkey makes the best pet?

The best breed of turkey that makes the best pet is the heritage breed.

They are far suitable than the broad breasted breed.

The broad breasted breed grows fast and do not live long.

They become overweight easily since they are reared for their meat and they cannot reproduce naturally because of their weight.

You can have them as pets but they are not as suitable as the heritage breed.

The heritage breed are friendly. They love to be around people and form bonds with humans easily.

They live long and they can reproduce naturally.

Some of the heritage turkeys are Royal Palm, Bourbon Red, Jersey Buff, Black Spanish etc.

Of these turkeys, the Bourbon Red make the best pets.

They are very friendly. They will follow you around and will allow you touch them, pet them and even cuddle them.

They are lovely around children and are not aggressive at all. They are also easy to care for.

They are curious and will follow you around to know what you are doing.

They live long and reproduce naturally. They can fly so you may have to clip their wings if they fly out of the compound often.

The only disadvantage is, they probably wouldn’t shout if they are being stolen because they are docile and quite trusting of humans.

Are turkeys friendlier than chickens?

Yes, turkeys are friendlier than chickens.

They are social and do not keep to themselves like chickens.

If you are with your chickens in the yard, they will gladly ignore you while foraging and will only bother you if there’s food with you or around you.

Turkeys aren’t like that.

They are people friendly and will follow you keeping you company and chatting endlessly.

If you are very close with them, they will allow you carry them on your shoulders and sit on your laps.

Chickens are wary and will most likely run if you move too close to them.

Do turkeys like to cuddle?

Yes, turkeys like to cuddle.

If you got your turkeys while they were still young and care for them well, they will bond with you.

They will allow you carry them and cuddle them. They seem to enjoy it a lot.

Turkeys have different personalities though, so you may want to find out first if that particular turkey likes to cuddle.

Some of your turkeys will allow you cuddle them while some may not.

It all depends on how close you are with them and how much they trust humans.

Are turkeys messy?

Yes, turkeys are messy.

They are bigger so it means more poop and more cleaning for you.

They like to roost on everything so they will try roosting on their water bowls and bowl feed which can cause quite a mess.

The baby turkeys stay in their brooder mostly so you will give them more attention and clean their coop regularly.

This is necessary for them to stay healthy.

It becomes easier when they start sleeping outside.

You only have to pack the large piles of droppings below their roosting areas once in a while.

They do not scatter their food and eat cleaner.

Do turkeys scratch like chickens?

No, turkeys do not scratch like chickens, they scratch more than chickens.

Turkeys dig bigger holes and make more mess while scratching because they are bigger.


Turkeys make good pets because they are friendly and social.

They are affectionate and like to be petted and cuddled.

Wild turkeys should not be kept as pets. Instead there are some half wild ones known as heritage turkeys which are more suitable.

Turkeys are friendlier than chickens but scratch more and make more mess because they are bigger.


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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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