Turkeys and Chickens

Interaction of turkeys and chickens, good, bad and the Ugly

Florida perching


Rooster and Chicken Hen waiting out Hurricane Irma

Rooster and teenage turkeys (it was funny)


Briefly, the bad.....

Well you cannot hardly escape the internet without the warning NOT to let Turkeys and Chickens mingle because of the disease known as Blackhead. (Histomonas Meleagridis)) is caused by a protozoan parasite that lives in the cecal worm and can infect both chickens and turkeys-but turkeys will perish liver damage while chicken are more hardy in regard to this parasite. The internet "image" search of cecal worms in chickens is rather horrifying.

If you free range your Turkeys and chickens together (as we do) Blackhead Disease can show up at any time and decimate your turkeys.

So far we have used Wazine to control the roundworm carrier of blackhead, Heterakis Gallinarium. but I really do not know if we are just lucky because that I know of, we have never had any problems.


Hungry Chicken Hen

(To my dismay this mother hatched 13 chicks in my kayak)

Perhaps here on the Mosquito Coast (Brevard County) in East Central Florida we are just lucky. Our turkeys and Chickens-along with some minor interaction of quail and pheasant co-mingle, with never a disease problem.

----I cannot seem to find a pattern if Black Head is more prevalent in some states or counties. Perhaps the Florida soil is too poor (beach sand with weeds) to support this particular parasite. (But probably just luck, de-worming and clean a lot)

Description of chicken parasites

What I can say is we are lucky enough to enjoy a flock of mixed Galliformes


Interestingly, despite how contented the turkeys and chickens are in the new garden, the Black Head warnings state: NOT to let the what you see in this photo happen. Because the turkeys may be eating infected worms.


And the good....

Turkeys and chicken dusting together in the fire pit

As mentioned in Free Range Sentinels, the turkeys are more often on the watch for predators, whiles the chickens may be more focused on scratching up that parasite infested worm.

The Ameraucana hen in the above photo was rescued from a red shouldered hawk by four turkey hens. The four turkeys had the hawk trapped under a guava tree and when I came to see what the noise was, the hawk released the chicken and flew away without dinner.

Turkeys and chickens

Turkey hen raising two chickens (Great Mother)


And Briefly, the UGLY......

Turkey Hen and Rooster square off

There are occasional spats between the roosters and the turkeys.

These fights only involve the turkey hens or teenage turkeys. The adult turkey males never fight with anything but other male turkeys.

They turkeys always win, mostly because they have a longer reach with longer legs.

To be fair, the rooster and turkey hen confrontations are rare and brief.

But makes for interesting pictures.

I've never able to witness the exact motion that starts the confrontation, but it seems like the roosters are somewhat cranky and sometimes peck at the turkey hens just because they are too close. And the Turkey hens do get agitated and finishes the spat with rooster at a run to escape kicking feet.

From what I can guess, the turkeys do not consider chickens worthy of combat, meaning they are no threat to their turkey flock status. However once the rooster makes a challenging move, they all of the sudden appears the fearsome turkey that defends with blood it's social (flock) status. And it is war.


Flemish painter Frans Snijders  (1579-1657)

Turkey and Cock fighting

Amazing painting!




Just a couple of pictures......

One of the neat things about chickens is all the colors!

Our rescue Barred Rock hen!



Increase in home chicken flocks across the United States

With the increase in chicken home chicken (and turkey) flocks: This reminder which I have already placed on two other pages:

In most of North America and the United Kingdom; there is NO such thing as a "Pet" Turkey. Turkeys and Chickens are food animals with no rights.

Always expect to be told the following:

From the UK BSAVA :

Back yard poultry 

"Over the past decade, small-scale poultry keeping has increased dramatically. Many of these new keepers view their poultry as pets rather than farmyard animals. However, irrespective of the purpose for which poultry are kept, they are technically ‘farm animals’ and ‘food-producing animals’. Unlike in horses, there is no current provision allowing for poultry to be classed as non-food producing animals." (UK Back Yard Poultry)




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