Chickens and turkeys can live harmoniously together if they begin their life together at about the same size. As they grow, the chickens should have plenty of room to get out of the way of the big guys. Perches or roosts up high help the chickens when they need to get out of a full grown turkey’s way.
When choosing breeds of chickens that are to be raised with turkeys, it is important to choose chickens that have a relaxed nature and are on the docile side. An aggressive rooster and an adult male turkey may fight to the death.
If you are raising one turkey and one chicken as pets it’s best to get females. They are not as prone to fighting as they get older, plus you will get eggs to use.
When mixing chickens and turkeys it is especially important to keep them current on worming and other medications. There is a disease that the turkeys can contract from the chicken’s droppings called Blackhead. The chickens get it from a worm, but many times the chickens don’t show any symptoms of the infection. It is 100% deadly in turkeys.
Symptoms of Blackhead are depression, fluffed feathers, yellow diarrhea, and blue (cyanotic) condition of the flesh around the face and head. The end result of this disease is that it destroys the birds liver.
Many poultry owners raise chickens and turkeys together without ever having a problem. But if chickens ever carry Blackhead disease it can stay viable in the dirt for four years after those chickens are gone. Contact your local agriculture extension agent to get your soil tested if there is any suspicion of Blackhead in your area.
Photo by: Katherine