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What do Baby Turkeys Eat? Food & Diet Guide

Published By Adam Travis Last Modified: 
April 24, 2021

This article is on what do baby turkeys eat for their first six weeks.

Raising turkey is becoming the next big thing in the livestock sector. More and more people are becoming interested in this sector. Some are here for profit and some for part-time pleasure.

Whatever the reason is, everybody has a beginning stage, which may be a bit overwhelming.

Turkeys are strong enough to endure harsh natural phenomenon. But in their juvenile stage, they are helpless. This is no different from raising chicken. That’s why turkeys are considered for raising together with chickens.

However, the main problem starts with the feeding. Baby turkeys are not supposed to eat like adult ones. Much like the chicken, they have a constantly increasing requirement of food.

In this discussion, we will dig inside this phenomenon in detail.

Which are Considered Baby Turkeys?

It is of course that turkeys are considered babies during a certain portion of their lives. They are named poults during their very first 4 weeks of life. This is a critical stage as it triggers transitions. They need extra care regarding their habits and diet.

You need to monitor the temperature of their habitants until they are 6 weeks old.

As baby turkeys are unable to control their body temperature, this external temperature regulation has an impact even over their diet. Of course, this can be a deciding factor over their growth.

What to Feed Baby Turkeys? Daily Diet List for 0 to 6 Weeks

If you have some experience of raising chickens, this can prove quite helpful in raising turkeys. Turkeys are fairly similar in terms of food habits. Of course, a higher amount of protein is needed in this case.

However, you cannot just inject a higher amount of protein! Delivering this protein has to be through a balanced diet. This will ensure proper growth as well as adequate immunity.

Until 5th week,

Turkeys show some special characteristics during this period. This behavior heavily governs their food habit and growth.

However, wild turkeys portray a slightly different nature than the domesticated turkey during this phase.
Baby turkeys are extremely helpless during these weeks.

Even before reaching week 4 or week 5, they cannot fly. They are heavily dependent during this time. Female turkeys play a crucial role in protecting their babies.

Here is the food requirements for baby turkey...

1. Starter food

During the first one or two days of their lives, baby turkeys can extract energy from their body. This energy is generated from the abdomen which can accumulate the stored energy from the yolk.

However, this helps initiate life, not a sustainable source of energy.

You have to start feeding after the first day or the second. It depends on the condition of the newborns.

You can find starter feed for turkeys in the local stores. These feeds help deliver protein. They are processed in such a way that baby turkeys can absorb the nutrition without spending much digestive power.

One thing has to be noted that this starter feeds must be rich in protein. Besides, they must be digestive. ‘Turkey starters’ may not be found in some areas.

In such a scenario, game bird starter can be a better alternative.

Turkey starters contain about 26 – 30% protein of their total mass.

But the ‘Game Bird’ starter can contain up to 28-30% protein.

There is another type of starter food namely ‘Chick starter’. But this starter food is for chicken that contains 18-19% protein. This may not be the best compliment for the baby turkeys.

Here are some recommended starter foods...

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2. Water

Expert suggests introducing water to the baby turkey as soon as they arrive. It is wiser to dip the beaks of poults to ensure that they begin to eat faster.


However, presenting water to the poults is the big deal. Poults are extremely vulnerable to drowning. By placing a larger vessel you may increase the risk significantly.


There is a dedicated water container in the market that can be a better option for this task. One-gallon chick waterer can accomplish this task. Besides, you can consider any similar-sized vessel.


Keeping the poults hydrated is important. It ensures a properly balanced diet. But if you forget to fill up the water vessel, don’t pour water directly into it. The poults may become overwhelmed after seeing that much water which can eventually be fatal.

Instead, you can place some water elsewhere. Then, when the poults have done with it, you can place water in the dedicated pot.

Above 5th week

Most of the experts in this field agree that the vulnerable stage for the poults lasts up to the 4th week. But the 5th week is also born much importance. A proper diet chart must be followed throughout this time.

3. Food supplements

As per experts, the protein requirement of the baby turkeys drops around the 5th week. But this solely depends on the growth of the turkeys.

You can readily stick to the starter pack till the 8th week. But keeping your turkeys on an over-protein diet has its consequence. It is wiser to observe the growth and then to decide.

If you are satisfied with the growth of your birds, you can switch to regular turkey foods. It will ensure the healthy growth of the turkeys.

Besides, you can find some commercially available food made especially for this period.
These food packs are marketed as ‘Grower’. It is not necessary to throw away the ‘starter feed’ that you have bought for the newly born turkeys.

Most probably you will have some amount left in the bag at that time. You can feed them to these young turkeys. But whenever you have to buy a new bag of feed, go for the ‘Grower feed’.

4. Chicken Food

Chicken food can be another option at this stage. It will do because at this time the protein requirement of the turkeys will drop. But still, turkeys need more nutrition than chicken because of their superior size. So, chicken feed is not the ideal solution for the long run.

Baby Turkeys Feeding and Diet Tips

Turkeys have a foraging habit. They tend to find their food and can stay alive on this omnivorous diet. New-born turkeys cannot go hunting as they lack basic skills.

Even, roaming around is potentially dangerous for them. They depend on hens for receiving their daily diet.

Capable adult turkeys hunt and then share the food with their babies.

Adult turkeys hunt for small or large insects, small reptiles, fruits and gain, even gravel to satisfy their appetite. I short, they tend to go for protein-rich sources.

Conclusion

Raising turkey has a wide range of benefits of its own. But, of course, it presents some unique challenges. Choosing the right food for the young turkeys is a part of it.

But if you follow the planned diet mentioned above, it will be a lot easier to have a farm full of healthy turkeys. You can also go for a mixed farm of turkeys and chicken by following some modifications in this diet.

Have any question? Ask in the comment below...

A die heart farmer. Loves farming and growing various things in his backyard. He is one of the founder member of Farming Method- The Modern Farmers Blog.

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