the truth about raising turkeys

The Truth About Raising Turkeys

the truth about raising turkeys

The truth about raising turkeys is quite simple, they’re not like any other poultry you will ever raise!  And honestly, we never thought we’d enjoy raising them as much as we have.  Are they funny?  Ha!  That’s truly an understatement!

Turkeys. Goodness, if you don’t raise them let me give you a good insight on a few things about them.  Just be warned, what you read is the truth!  The God honest truth! 

For those that do raise them, I think you will agree on what I’m about to say!

First of all, they’re conversationalists.  

They’re going to strike up a conversation with you regardless if you want to talk or not.  Feeling blue? Share it with them, they’ll listen.  Got something exciting to share?  Oh, my word!  They will comment with an excited gobble-gobble or an almost sweet cooing sound….over and over again!  They’re simply trying to express that you are loved and valued, I mean really….what other poultry could possibly make you feel that good?!

Characters, booooy, are they ever! 

Nice toms will circle you strutting their stuff, performing a beautiful tango, trying to entice you into courtship.  It’s quite a romantic act, and one you should truly appreciate.  But in all honesty it could be worse, you could always get the grumpy tom that will chase you to kingdom come!

the truth about raising turkeys
Gary is a romancer through and through, often found strutting his stuff for the world to see.

You will never find a better protector than a turkey. 

They will do whatever it takes to protect and save your from the unknown; honestly, a bucket could knock you down, while a shoe can cause you to trip.  A turkey takes its job as the mighty homestead protector seriously, and a simple thank you goes a long way for this hard working bird!

the truth about raising turkeys
Henry recently saved us from the dangerous shoe. The stand-off took 10 minutes, and we are glad to report that he killed the shoe saving us from any possible reoccurring hazards!

But then there’s the turkey hens.

Who loved watching the Lucille Ball Show?  Remember the episode where she was working at the chocolate factory, and the part where she was running back and forth on the assembly line stuffing chocolate into her mouth because she didn’t know what to do with it all? 

Do you remember how Lucy Ball’s eyes were bulging and she seemed confused and lost, not knowing what to do next?  Yeah, well that a turkey hen for you.

Turkey hens aren’t quick in the head, every action seems to run through their mind at least 50 times before they decide on what their next move will be.  Poor little hens, they always appear lost!

the truth about raising turkeys
You can never be alone if you raise turkeys.  They will peek on you regardless of where you are, this time from the kitchen window! Want to know where the term Peeping Tom came from?  There you have it! 

What’s that you say?  You don’t have a dog because of allergy issues? Don’t worry, raise turkeys! 

Turkeys will follow you around for hours seeking your approval!  They love to run circles around you often causing you to almost trip, but never stop suddenly if they are behind you, they are destined to collide into your legs! 

Faithful doesn’t even begin to describe their personalities and they will often sit, watching and supervising, as you go about your chores.  The peanut gallery can’t seem to help but inform you of all the things you are doing wrong.

I forgot to mention, they will play fetch, but can’t seem to grasp the concept of returning the ball, they’re kinda odd like that.  If you get a chance go out and throw a ball for them, they will definitely chase it down.  Just don’t count on them to bring it back!

Turkeys love to roost as high as they can get, some enjoy comfort and a ride on your shoulder may be the way to go for many of them. 

The truth about raising turkeys
Lindsay F. has a little guy that likes shoulder rides and to steal food from people!

While other turkeys like to sit on your lap like a dog!

The truth about raising turkeys
These little ones from Shannonagins Farm tend to fight for the best seat!

Jewelry wearers beware and be warned! 

They LOOOOVE shiny stuff, dangly stuff, small stuff, large stuff, basically stuff that doesn’t belong to them.  They are little thieves and will try to steal that ‘stuff’ from you!

If they get ahold of said ‘stuff’ make sure to have your running shoes on, they are quite quick and do not plan on giving it up easily.

Turkeys will visit often and expect to be let in to your home. 

A chicken will sneak into your home, a duck wants nothing to do with your home, and guinea fowl consider your home to be dangerous.  But a turkey?  A turkey doesn’t wait to be invited in…it shoves its way into your home.  ORRRR, it will sneak in when you’re not looking!

the truth about raising turkeys
Turkeys will friend anyone or anything that gives them the time of day.

Which leads me to my next segment. 

One Sunday afternoon I left the house to run a few errands, which had me away from home for no more than 3 hours.  Just 3 hours….

Upon my return the kitchen was torn apart!  I can’t even begin to explain how bad it was.  Canning jar lids were knocked off the counter and spread all over the kitchen floor (remember, lids are shiny), herbs which were hanging to be dried were pulled from the drying rack, and a big turkey poop was left on my bread machine! Gahhhhhhh, I can’t even begin to express how mad I was!

Somehow not one person at the house seemed to know what had happened, but I did. 

The back door doesn’t stay shut unless it’s latched.  Our cat has discovered this and quickly realized that she can open the door by pushing on it.  I am willing to bet that darned lazy non-mouser left the door wide open when she came in and invited the turkey in for a party!

Of course the turkeys took advantage of the invite and had quite a celebration in my kitchen!!!  They then, quickly and quietly, left before anyone noticed that they were even in the house.

So you see friends, if you are considering turkeys be warned…they do come with a warning label!

This was originally shared on our Facebook page and here’s what a few followers said about their turkeys:

It was hilarious watching the turkey and dog play keep way! – Stacey W.

We have turkeys for the first time this year and anytime I go outside I have a group of 21 ‘supervisors’ following me around!  I didn’t realize how much personality they have! – Kate B.

What started as a meal is now the farm character.  He pushes himself in between people who are talking and stand there like he’s listening to the conversation. – Linda M.

I had one that was adopted as a poult by the geese, she’d stand in the water with them and everything! – Shelly S.

the truth about raising turkeys

Do you still want to raise turkeys after reading this?  If you do I’m willing to bet you are as crazy of a homesteading family as we are!

If you have enjoyed this blog you may enjoy Guinea Fowl – Are They Right For Your Homestead.

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  1. When I was a kid we had a male turkey that used to go sledding with me. I would get the sled set up start and then feel a thump behind me as he landed on the back of the sled.

  2. Do you have any recommendations of what breed of turkeys are friendly like yours? Ever since I met Stanley the Turkey at the Austin Zoo and had a long conversation with him, I’ve always wanted a turkey, but I don’t really know anything about the breeds yet. Any recommendations for a friendly one for beginners?

    1. Tom turkeys are as moody as rooster. You get the good with the bad. I have found Blue Slate are a gentler breed than the other, and in truth, smaller and much easier to manage. We have raised the Blue Slate, Narragansett, Royal Palm, and broiler turkey breeds.

  3. Do your turkey’s go in a coop at night? If so, do they share the coop with your other fowl? We currently have guineas, but I would like to add chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Can they all share the brooder when little and the coop when older?

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