Who doesn't like blueberries?
What food to give your new turkey?
Turkeys like other fowl have certain requirements to keep them healthy, safe & happy. Before bring home your new turkey please be aware of the necessities. One requirement is turkey feed.
Game bird nutrition requirements are posted all over the internet. So the following information is an just a simple description of what we feed our flock of pet turkeys.
Snacks: Favorite snack: Bananas. Who would have guessed that?
Well our birds come running when we walk out the door of the house, as we are almost always carrying a snack for the eager flock. By far, the turkey’s favorite snacks are small pieces of Bananas. However they readily gobble down any type of bread, raisins and grapes.
When in season, acorns are eagerly snatched up and swallowed.
"Three Grain Scratch" is 75% of the diet for our birds
Principal diet “Three Grain Scratch”
Beyond the snacks; our turkey flock’s principal diet consists of “Three Grain Scratch” from the feed store (no specific brand loyalty)
The brand of scratch we use the most.
(Not really a preference, but this is what Brian carries)
Protein! Must have Protein!
Like other “game birds” (quail, ducks, geese, etc.) Turkeys require additional protein to their diets. When purchasing food, make brief a comparison to chicken and turkey feeds-the different amount of protein is right up front.
We feed the adults a couple of handfuls of “Game Bird Sporting Pellets” or “Mallard Duck Conditioner”- to achieve the approximately 18% of protein required to keep turkeys healthy.
The poults (turkey chicks) and young birds are fed “Game Bird Starter” – a finely ground meal with approximately 28% protein.
The high protein requirement for the baby turkeys is self-evident in their behavior. Adults concentrate on eating vegetation, but little turkeys are consummate hunters, forever on the lookout for insects. A mole cricket is a prize trophy! In fact a common demise of baby turkeys is too large because it looks like an insect.
This is the high protein "Game Bird Starter" we use for the baby turkeys. Although I prefer to mix this with the slightly coarser Purina "Game Bird Chow"
-The poults seem to waste less when I mix the two feeds.
We supplement the adult turkey diet with high protein Mallard pellets.
Our flock of Heritage Turkeys free range all day, eating grasses, clover, leafy plants and will spend hours stripping the seed off of Bahia grass.
In late summer/autumn they gorge on acorns & Florida beauty-berries.
Oh yes, and the tomato leaves are a delight when they can get into the garden.
Summer "Beauty Berries"
Garden Raiders...Once inside the fence the tomatoes leaves are a feast!
Calcium Although not exactly food...
Calcium is required for bone growth and egg production. We were purchasing oyster shell from the feed store for the few laying chickens we keep and soon noticed that the turkey hens that had been recently been bred took a distinct attentiveness to eating the shell. (This also cued me in to keep an eye out for a secretive nest) So oyster shell was a common feature provided to the birds.
Then by sheer accident I brought home some tiny shells after kayaking on the Indian River. The turkeys loved them! So I brought home more and they were quickly eaten.
I still purchase the bag of oyster shell on occasion (impulse buy) but more often a simple trip to the Beach line (528) causeway and for no cost, I bring home five gallons of tiny shells that all the turkeys and chickens love. We make the attempt to keep some around for both the laying turkeys and chickens, but also for the young birds.
Grit: and also not exactly food...
Here on the east coast of Florida, we only have to dig down about two feet and we hit clean beach sand.
Every now and then I will place a shovelful on the ground and the birds gobble it down like their favorite food.
Can’t explain the reason, although I understand the little ones require grit to help digest their food (perhaps as gizzard stones). Nonetheless it is surprising to watch the adults eat sand.
Well a recent internet search stated domestic turkeys “loved” kitchen leftovers that would normally be tossed on a compost pile.
“NO” at least our birds are so spoiled they will not even touch a whole vegetable, let alone the garbage parts. I can imagine if the turkeys are starving they would be forced to eat garbage- as would people.
Strongly recommend you do not get turkeys- if leftovers is the food you
plan on giving your birds.
Update: Our oak trees produced no acorns this year. So we collected these free snacks from the local park.
Old Blue berries? The turkeys love em!
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