What NOT to Feed Turkeys

Turkeys are fragile and very sensitive when it comes to feeding. They are easily affected by toxins and anything poison ingested can result in serious health issues or even death. So, do you know what not to feed turkeys?

When feeding your rafters, be very sure about the kind of food you’re giving them. Unbalanced feeds that contains deficit of some nutrients or have too much of the nutrients than is required can lead to malnutrition or disease.

Anything you think can be poisonous should not be fed to baby turkeys. Expired food or feeds stored in mist and wet surfaces are likely to have high levels of molds and therefore unfit for your birds to eat.

A healthy eating habit in turkeys means zero problems and happy, healthy robust growth and development.

What should you not feed turkeys

Maybe, what you are about to feed your birds is not the right food for them. So, what are some of the foods you should never give to your Black Spanish turkeys?

Continue reading to understand what not to feed your domestic turkeys and why.

Raw meat

Is raw meat good for turkeys?

Meat is a favorite food among humans and a good source of protein. However, to your turkeys it is opposite especially when raw.

Raw meat contains some bacteria like salmonella that can cause serious health issues to turkeys when ingested.

Even though these bacteria are always present in the esophagus, their numbers are not that much like they are in raw meat. Adding them by feeding raw meat can be dangerous as they may result in illnesses or even death.

However, turkeys can be fed with cooked meat but in small amounts as a treat. Do not forget to chop the meat into small pieces to prevent it from choking them. Additionally, remove all the bones and any fat before feeding.

Cook the meat thoroughly by either boiling or roasting without adding salt and seasonings. Salt is harmful to turkeys and can lead to kidney problems.

Chicken feeds

It may sound strange to say that chicken feed is not good for turkeys while both birds are all poultry. Something you should know is that turkeys have high protein requirements than chickens and should be fed on game bird feeds.

Poults require a feed that has protein levels of 28% compared to chicken that only require 24% protein in their feeds. However, as they grow, the protein requirements in turkey’s drops but the levels of vitamins and other minerals remain constant.

Chicken feed is also contains high amounts of calcium which leads to slow growth and impaired feed utilization in poults…sciencedirect.com.

Raw beans

Are raw beans food for turkeys?

Whether just a few or much, raw beans should never be fed to your White turkeys. They can lead to severe poisoning which may lead to death.

Red kidney beans are the worst of them all though different beans contains varying amounts of toxins. If you want to feed cooked beans that are canned, remember to wash them first as they contain high levels of sodium.

Livestock feed

Manufactured concentrates for livestock are not good for turkeys to eat. These kinds of feeds do not contain nutrients in balanced portions per the requirements of turkeys.

Some like whole barley contains some husks that can cause crop impaction in baby turkeys when eaten. Meanwhile, others like soya beans, lucerne and cracked cereals like maize can be fed as they are nutritious to your birds in moderation.


Should backyard turkeys eat onion?

Onions are on the list of a no foods for your turkeys. They contain a toxin that can destroy red blood cells in your birds which can be very fatal.

This can lead to low oxygen levels in their blood which can cause death. However, cooked onions can be fed sparingly and in moderation as a treat although not all birds may like them.

Junk food

Junk foods are very unhealthy to turkeys just like they are to humans. These types of foods contribute to obesity and will make your birds overweight.

Birds fed on such foods get too heavy and unhealthy developing leg and back problems. Junks are bad for your Narragansett toms because they are laden with salt, oils and other seasonings used in cooking.

Best examples of junk foods include; processed snacks like marshmallows, chips, chocolate, cakes, biscuits and burgers among others.

Dairy products

Can baby turkeys eat butter?

Although dairy products like milk contain protein, they are not good for turkeys since they can cause problems such as diarrhea which may lead to dehydration and death.

The digestive systems of these birds are not designed to digest them. It is safe if you do not feed them on such foods.

What plants are toxic to turkeys?

The following plants contain some toxins and can be very dangerous to turkeys;

  • Eggplant.
  • Tomato leaves and stems.
  • Viscum album.
  • Cannabis sativa.
  • Pepper leaves.
  • Yew.
  • Thorn apple.
  • Milk weed.

Even if your birds have a craving for plant materials, never feed them the above named plants as they are poisonous to turkeys and can kill them.

What vegetables can turkeys eat?

Are vegetables good for turkeys to eat?

Turkeys are very fond of green plants. They love to graze on fresh grass and weeds and they will love it when you give them a chance to range on the backyard. Vegetables are good for turkeys to eat because they are low in calories and sugars making them one of the best treats you can always count on.

You can give your bird’s kale, cabbages, carrots, spinach, beetroot leaves, strawberry tops, asparagus, ripe tomatoes and much more.

When giving them vegetables, always be sure where they were sourced from. Some contains strong agricultural chemicals which may affect their health.

What to feed turkeys to fatten them up

When raising turkeys for meat, you must be very sure on what to feed them so that they attain the right market weight. If you fail to do this, these birds will not be ready for harvest within the specified period of time.

Turkeys have high protein requirements than chickens do. Always make sure their feeds have high content of proteins at the rate of 30%. Whole grains like corn are the leading kinds of food that fatten turkeys very well.

On top of grains, make sure you add green matter to their diet as this will supplement with minerals and vitamins that are very vital for growth and development.

You can choose to buy mealworms, fruits like water melon, raisins, seedless grapes and cracked corn to supplement their diet.

Remember clean drinking water is much needed as lack of water can lead to dehydration.


Raising turkeys can sometimes be tricky as they are very sensitive than chickens. The way they are fed is almost similar to chickens only that they require more proteins and vitamins.

The good thing with these birds is that they tolerate confinement and free range as well. If you have a good turkey coop and enough space you can have a flock of turkeys on your backyard.

Adhering to the feeding advice will make raising these birds easier and fun for you. Goodluck!


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