Pet turkeys?! While it may seem a bit unconventional, keeping turkeys as pets is becoming more popular. And it’s easy to see why! Turkeys are generally low maintenance and make a good outdoor animal. They bond well to their families and enjoy being social.
We never expected to have a pet turkey! But, in a strange twist of events, Baby (yes, like Baby from Dirty Dancing), came to join our little farm! I was rather intimidated by her at first. But it didn’t take me long to see how sweet, fun and loving she was!
If you are considering adding a pet turkey to your family, here are 5 things to know!
Pet turkeys can be noisy
Each turkey is unique and some are more vocal than others. Male turkeys gobble (especially during mating season) while females make a high-pitched chirping noise. Our turkey gets especially noisy when it’s almost meal time. She is also very social and loves to talk to any and every neighbor that she can see! Our neighbors always enjoyed her friendly interaction, but you may want to make sure your neighbors are okay with it before you invest in a pet turkey!
Pet turkeys are very friendly and social
Turkeys are social animals and will become very attached to their people! We have an ongoing joke that our turkey is a better dog than the dog is! She will faithfully follow us around anywhere we go! She loves to be pet and will even sit down on our feet to try to get attention!
Every turkey is different, and some toms can become territorial. However, most turkeys are generally docile, making them a good animal to be around children. Our turkey loves kids and she is usually the star of our farm with young visitors! She will sit down gently beside them and let them pet her for hours!
Turkeys can usually be housed with chickens or other livestock
Turkeys can usually be housed with chickens; however, there are some precautions to be aware of. Blackhead is a disease that commonly affects turkeys and can be transmitted by chickens or other fowl. If blackhead is common in your area, it’s probably best to house your chickens and turkeys separately.
Some turkeys can also be aggressive towards chickens. And, we have also had some roosters that were aggressive towards our turkey. I have also heard that toms may try to mate with smaller chicken hens, harming them in the process.
Currently, our turkey lives with our goats and our chickens. While she prefers hanging out with the goats, she still gets along well with the chickens, even though she had a few scuffles with some roosters in the past. For the most part, she is the big chicken and will run away from the chickens if she feels threatened or scared.
Pet turkeys are usually very good about staying near their people and their home. Even when they are allowed to free range, they generally don’t wander as far as chickens do. We like to let our turkey out to come follow us around while we work in the barn or in the yard. However, we do keep her in a fenced pasture area when we aren’t around to make sure she is safe from predators and neighbor dogs who may take an interest in her.
Turkeys love food!
Turkeys love to eat! They love to eat so much, that you might have to limit their food intake! We have to monitor how much our turkey eats through the day to keep her at an optimal weight. She is allowed to free range as much as she wants though. She also loves to receive healthy veggies and fruit snacks! You can also use special treats to train your turkey to come when called and do other fun tricks!
Pet turkeys are clumsy, quirky and hilarious
There is no doubt that a pet turkey will keep you entertained! They are quite clumsy animals, which makes them even cuter in my opinion! I’ve seen our turkey trip over everything from food bowls to chickens! She’s even walked right into a goat once or twice! But her sweet disposition is what I love most. She is always enthusiastic about everything in life and is thrilled anytime she sees us coming. And she certainly puts a smile on our faces each time she comes waddling up to us!