About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pet Turkey?

Hi, I am writing because there is an abandoned domesticated turkey living on the grounds of my mom's employer, and she wants to take care of him. She has a few questions and I am hoping that you can help as I can not find answers anywhere else. What kind of shelter does Mr. Turkey need? What should we feed him so he is healthy? And lastly are they social birds that need companions? I hope that you can help as I am sure Mr. Turkey does too.

Thanks, RD

Your mom sounds like a real sweetheart. I’m sorry I can't be of much help. You need to consult a feed store for proper nutrition.

The domestic turkey is a descendant of the Wild Turkey and is usually raised as a source of food for humans. Through selective breeding, the birds weigh twice as big as their wild relatives and the feathers are white.

I did do a little research and found that domestic turkeys can't fly and if you want to keep the bird as a pet it can be kept inside a fenced yard. The bird should have a shelter to shield him from the weather. It's best if the shelter floor is dirt. Cement can be hard on turkey’s feet but these floors can be covered with hay or sand.

The diet of a domestic turkey consists mainly of fowl pellets that you can purchase at farm and pet stores. In addition to the pellets they like fruits, vegetables, crickets, mealworms, salads, weeds, nuts, acorns, grass, grapes, kale, and all berries that humans eat.

And of course fresh water should always be provided in a bowl or poultry water dispenser which can be also be purchased at a farm store.

Wild Turkeys travel in small flocks. For most of the year, they are single-sex flocks. Females are with females, males with males. Young turkeys follow their mothers. I assume domestic turkeys like company too. I'm not sure if it has to be another turkey.

Sorry I can't be more help. You should also contact a local wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian. And check with local laws to see if it's legal to care for livestock in your area. Good luck in your rescue. If anyone else can help, feel free to leave a comment.

1 comment:

Karin said...

She needs to watch the PBS show- I think it was a Nature episode- "my life as a Turkey" So great!!!