How To Raise Turkeys In Your Backyard: A Complete Guide

To raise turkeys in your backyard, provide them with adequate shelter, feed, and water. Creating a safe and comfortable environment for turkeys is crucial for their growth and well-being.

Raising turkeys in your backyard is becoming an increasingly popular trend nowadays as more people are interested in self-sustenance and homesteading. Whether you plan to raise them for meat, eggs, or just as pets, turkeys can be a fun and rewarding addition to your backyard farm.

However, before diving in, you need to understand the basics of raising turkeys, such as providing them with a comfortable shelter, ensuring they have access to adequate feed and water, and keeping them safe from predators. In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about raising turkeys in your backyard, from selecting the right breed to caring for them throughout their life cycle.

Selecting The Right Turkeys For Your Backyard

Selecting the right turkeys for your backyard is crucial to ensure their health and happiness. When it comes to different turkey breeds suitable for small backyards, consider heritage breeds such as bourbon red or narragansett. These breeds are smaller in size, making them ideal for confined spaces.

In addition to size, docility and friendliness are also important traits to look for when selecting turkeys for your backyard. Birds that are easy to handle and tame will make your experience as a turkey raiser more enjoyable. So, before bringing home your new feathered friends, make sure to do your research and choose the right turkeys that fit your backyard’s specific needs.

Setting Up Your Backyard For Turkeys

Select the ideal location for your turkey coop before setting up. Ensure that they have sufficient shelter, protection from predators, and enough space to roam around. Turkey coops should be spacious and protected from the elements. The shelter should be secure enough to keep predators out while still allowing fresh air in.

When it comes to food and water, the best option is to use automatic feeders and waterers. This ensures that your turkeys are always healthy and hydrated. Remember to avoid using poultry fountains and pans, as they are not a suitable choice for turkeys.

Make sure to follow these guidelines to raise healthy turkeys in your backyard.

Raising Baby Turkeys

Raising baby turkeys can be a rewarding experience for backyard enthusiasts. To hatch your own turkey eggs, ensure they have been fertilized and place them in an incubator. Alternatively, invest in ready-to-raise poults from a reputable supplier. Keep the young turkeys in a brooder under heat lamps until they are fully feathered and self-regulating their body temperature.

Feed them a high-protein diet and ensure they have access to clean water at all times. Introduce them to fresh grazing greens and insects as they get older. With proper care and attention, your baby turkeys can grow into healthy, happy adult birds, providing a source of fresh meat and eggs for your family.

Raising Adult Turkeys

Keeping your adult turkeys healthy is crucial in ensuring that they live long and produce healthy offspring for their entire lifespan. Having said that, it is essential to note that the adult turkeys’ diet should be a mixture of protein, fiber, and other necessary nutrients.

Be sure to set up nesting areas and keep them clean to ensure comfortable egg-laying experiences for your turkey hens. Additionally, you should allow the opportunity for successful mating to occur and consider artificial insemination if natural insemination is not going well.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your adult turkeys stay healthy and produce healthy offspring.

Disease And Biosecurity Measures

Turkeys, like any other animals, can be vulnerable to diseases. As a backyard turkey raiser, you need to keep an eye out for common diseases and take measures to prevent them from spreading. Some of the common turkey diseases include fowl pox, coccidiosis, and blackhead.

To prevent the spread of infections, you should limit visitors to your turkey flock and invest in proper disinfectants to clean any tools, equipment, or boots that enter the turkey’s living area. Proper hygiene practices, such as washing your hands frequently, can also help prevent the spread of disease.

As a turkey raiser, it is essential to develop good biosecurity measures that will keep your flock healthy and happy.

Turkey Behavior And Training

Turkeys can be challenging to raise, but with proper understanding of their behavior, training and taming them can be easier. Turkeys are social animals that live in groups. When training and taming your turkey, keep them isolated and provide plenty of human interaction.

Talk to them regularly and get them used to human contact. They can be aggressive, especially during mating season, so it’s important to understand how to deal with aggressive turkeys. If a turkey starts to act aggressive, try to avoid it until it calms down.

Don’t let children or pets near an aggressive turkey. With patience and consistency, you can train and tame your turkeys and enjoy their company in your backyard.

Handling And Butchering Turkeys

When it comes to handling turkeys, it’s important to be gentle and calm. Avoid grabbing them by the wings or legs as this can cause injuries. Instead, place one hand under their breast and the other around their back. If you need to move them, use a secure cage or box and make sure they have enough room to move around.

When transporting turkeys, ensure that the vehicle is well-ventilated and that they are protected from extreme temperatures. For proper techniques in slaughter and processing, seek guidance from experienced farmers or professionals. There are various ways to preserve and cook turkey meat, such as smoking, freezing and roasting.

Research recipes and experiment to find your perfect method.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Raise Turkeys In Your Backyard

How Often Should I Feed My Turkeys?

Turkeys should be fed twice a day, with each feeding lasting around thirty minutes. Young turkeys should be given a high-protein diet, while adults need more roughage.

How Much Space Do Turkeys Need To Roam?

Turkeys can be raised in small backyard spaces as long as they have access to fresh air, sunlight, and plenty of room to move around.

Do Turkeys Need A Lot Of Water?

Turkeys depend on water to maintain their health, so ensure that they always have access to clean, fresh water.

What Is The Best Way To Keep Turkeys Healthy?

Vaccinate your turkeys against common illnesses and parasites, isolate any sick birds, keep their living area clean, and ensure that their diet meets all of their nutritional needs.

Do Turkeys Need A Special Place To Lay Eggs?

Turkeys will lay eggs wherever they feel safe and comfortable. However, you can provide nesting boxes filled with straw or wood shavings for them to lay their eggs in peace.

How Long Does It Take For A Turkey To Reach Full Size?

Broad-breasted turkeys take around 14-16 weeks to reach full size, while heritage breeds can take up to 28 weeks.


Raising turkeys in your backyard requires patience, dedication, and a willingness to learn. With the right resources and information, you can successfully raise healthy turkeys that will provide you with nourishing meat and eggs. Remember to select the right breed, provide adequate shelter, and feed them properly.

Turkeys require more attention than chickens, but the benefits are worth the effort. Additionally, be mindful of the regulations in your area and make sure you are in compliance with your local laws. By implementing the tips and tricks outlined in this guide, you can confidently embark on your turkey-raising journey.

With some love and care, you can have a thriving turkey community in your backyard. Here’s to happy turkey raising!

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