Turkeys are commonly known as the centrepiece of the traditional American Thanksgiving feast. However, turkeys can make wonderful pets too!
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These friendly and curious birds can be great companions for those who are willing to put in the time and effort required to care for them properly.
Do turkeys make a good pet?
Turkeys do like to be petted and tend to live a long time when kept as pets, ten to twelve years is not uncommon for pet turkeys. The friendliest turkeys are those that have been hatched and reared on site rather than bought in.
Raising from young poults will almost guarantee a friendly bird.
Turkeys are susceptible to several health issues, including respiratory infections, parasites, and bacterial infections. It is essential to keep your turkey's living area clean and well-maintained to prevent the spread of disease. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian who specialises in avian care are also crucial in ensuring your turkey's health.
Can a turkey live alone?
Turkeys are social creatures and thrive on interaction with other turkeys and their owners. You really need to keep at least three turkeys for a happy flock.
Three hens are fine or two hens and a tom. You do not need a tom for eggs, only if you want fertilised eggs.
Spend time with your turkey daily, talking to it, and offering treats. With proper training and socialisation, turkeys can become friendly and affectionate pets.
Can you house train a turkey?
You should not try to keep a turkey as an indoor house pet as they can not be properly house trained and will mess on your carpets and furniture.
Turkeys require ample space to move around and exercise. The ideal space for a pet turkey is a fenced-in yard or pasture.
If you plan to keep your turkey indoors, a large, well-ventilated coop is necessary. The coop should be cleaned regularly, and the bedding should be changed frequently to maintain a clean and healthy environment for your bird.
Choosing the right breed as a pet turkey:
If you are then interested in keeping turkeys at home to be raised as pets, it is important for you to know that there are different varieties of turkeys that you can choose:
- Meat turkeys,
- Heritage turkey breeds,
- Wild turkeys.
Of these turkey types you should only choose the heritage breeds like the Bourbon red or Narragansett to keep for pets.
Meat type turkeys get fat too fast, have very short lives and suffer many health problems if kept as pets.
On the other hand, wild turkeys are wild and tend to fly off when the fancy takes them.
The most common breeds include the Bronze, White, Narragansett, and Bourbon Red. Each breed has its unique characteristics, including size, colour, and temperament.
When choosing a breed, consider your space, time, and resources. Smaller breeds like the Bourbon Red may be more suitable for those with limited space, while larger breeds like the Bronze may require more attention and care.
Feeding pet turkeys:
Turkeys have specific dietary requirements and need a balanced diet to maintain their health. They require a high protein diet that includes grains, seeds, vegetables, and fruits.
Additionally, turkeys need access to clean water at all times. Avoid feeding your turkey processed foods or anything that contains high levels of salt or sugar.
It is also very important for you to remember that you should watch the things you will feed your turkeys so that your pets will become stronger and healthier.
Remember not to overfeed your turkeys.