Poultry refers to a group of domesticated birds that includes a variety of kinds such as ducks, chickens, turkeys, geese, etc. Even though they are poultry, each type has its own distinctive features. So can turkeys and chickens live together?
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Can turkeys and chickens live together?
The answer is definitely YES. Turkeys and chickens are known to live together without having serious troubles. However, is it a good idea to put turkeys and chickens in the same place? There are some things that you should take into your consideration before making a decision.
If you are searching to see if turkeys and chickens can live together, I am sure that you absolutely heard about “Blackhead disease” at least once.
This is probably the most major concern when keeping both turkeys and chickens together. A parasite named Histomonas Meleagridis is the cause of blackhead disease, it is contained in a cecal worm egg. (Source)
This disease can easily pass from bird to bird through its excrement. Firstly, an infected bird will expel its droppings which contain the worm egg. Next, another bird continues to consume these feces directly or by eating an infected earthworm. After that, a turkey or a chicken eats this earthworm and is infected.
According to some research, chickens react to blackhead disease less strongly than turkeys. In the past, some scientists used to think that chickens were immune to this disease but it has been found to be wrong. They are still affected by blackhead but it is not as serious as turkeys.
If chickens are infected, they just show some symptoms, but the worst case can be death, although rare.
In contrast, turkeys are much more susceptible to blackhead disease. Once a turkey has been infected, it would be hard for it to survive when being infected. The death rate is up to 70 to 100%.
Read more: Can geese and chickens live together?
How to prevent blackhead disease from your poultry?
Prevention is always better than cure, so you can implement a couple of things which help to prevent your poultry from blackhead disease.
Firstly, you should worm your chickens regularly. Taking medication properly and periodically following poultry vet is a great way to reduce the occurrence of the caecal worm and helps chickens not to be infected.
Secondly, it would be better if you keep turkeys away from other birds. Since turkeys are more susceptible to blackhead disease, keeping them away from other birds is a good preventative measure to ensure their safety.
Thirdly, you should create a fresh living environment for your poultry. Specifically, you should rotate pastures and keep poultry’s space clean. Therefore, turkeys and chickens are less likely to have blackhead disease while living in a clean place.
Fourth, remember to clean your protective clothes on a daily basis. Your boosts and gear can be the places containing the caecal worm and lead to the infection, so you should wash and clean them before feeding or making contact with your poultry.
Finally, you should ask about the fowl’s sources when purchasing and quarantine new animals to make sure that they are healthy and safe when being in the same place as other poultry.
On the other hand, once blackhead disease appears, farmers have to abolish the infected poultry and wait about three years to completely eliminate it. That is the one and only way.
However, we are not sure that the disease will not happen again and it is also difficult to remove blackhead disease from a flock, so prevention is the best strategy.
Should turkeys and chickens live well together?
Apart from the blackhead disease, harmony when living together is also one of the crucial problems. Even though chickens are supposed to be a bit more aggressive than turkeys, they may not bother the turkeys as turkeys are much bigger than them.
However, you have to introduce them to help them get used to and ready to share the living space well together. It would be better for you to start with young turkeys and chickens since there is more possibility to succeed than putting adult turkeys and chickens in the same place that did not grow together.
This is simply because they have been familiar with their own lives and it can be upsetting and definitely have trouble living together with another one.
Baby turkeys are more fragile than baby chickens so they need a lot more heat. Farmers should make sure that there is enough heat for baby turkeys without hurting baby chickens.
In addition, baby chickens are also hyper and more active than baby turkeys so you should protect baby turkeys from being trampled and pecked.
Last but not least, turkeys have a different diet. As we know, turkeys are almost raised for the purpose of serving them as dinner and this is the main reason that they need to consume a high protein diet to guarantee the meat quality.
In the meanwhile, chickens raised for egg production need a lower protein diet and more minerals like calcium to promote laying and the solidity of the eggshells.
In the case of meat chickens, they will develop too promptly if they are fed with high protein food that can harm their health issues.
Turkeys and chickens can live together. However, should we put them in the same place is still an uncertain problem because it depends on each farmer’s opinion as well as their working experience.
Therefore, to ensure your benefits, farmers should consider thoroughly before deciding to let turkeys and chickens live together.