Do Turkeys Eat Weeds & Forage For Free Food?

Do turkeys eat weeds?

Do Turkeys Eat Weeds?

If you are wondering, ‘Do turkeys eat weeds?’ I’m here to help. Yes! Turkeys do eat weeds!

Our young Broadbreasted turkeys (2 1/2 months old) love to forage for wild greens in their pen. I recently increased the size of their pasture so they could graze more and they’ve eaten all of their favorites in the new area too. I may need to increase the size of their pasture again.

Wondering what breed of turkey to raise and how to raise them? I can help with that too. Here are some helpful articles I’ve shared…

Broad Breasted vs Heritage Turkeys

Your List of Heritage Turkey Breeds for the Homestead

How to Raise Turkeys

 

Do turkeys eat weeds

What Weeds Do Turkeys Eat?

My turkeys greedily devour lambs quarters, amaranth, burdock leaves, giant ragweed, purslane, plantain, dandelion leaves, and sow thistle. When I pull weeds in the garden, I dump them in the pasture for the turkeys to ‘gobble’ down. Spent garden plants also get tossed in, like pea plants that are done producing, lettuce gone to seed, and ratty old kale leaves. In addition, our compost is tossed in the pasture and they love the melon rinds, meat scraps, and vegetable peelings.

Wild turkeys hunt for bugs and small critters, in addition to foraging for acorns and other seeds to provide protein. Our turkeys don’t have enough space to free range for more of their feed, so I need to supply most of it.

Wild turkeys foraging for food.
Wild turkeys have to rustle up their own grubs.

Do Weed Eating Turkeys Still Need Feed?

Yes, they still need a complete meat producer feed with extra protein to fuel growth. But I have noticed that they don’t eat as much purchased feed when they have plenty of green stuff to munch on!

I expect that their feed consumption will continue to climb as they get larger and closer to processing age. They are being raised for meat…some for Thanksgiving and the rest for cutting up, making sausage, and pressure canning for turkey soup. But, in the meantime, I’m glad that they have fresh air, sunshine, a nice pasture to roam, and a safe coop for roosting at night. This is about as good as it gets for meat birds.

I Like Having Lower Feed Bills!

I’ve raised turkeys before and by this age they were consuming quite a bit of feed. I’m really liking the reduced feed bill. Once the turkeys and extra roosters are all butchered I should have minimal expenses for the poultry. If all goes well I will be left with 6 laying hens and 1 rooster late this fall.

Compared to the feed bills from several years ago when I had 30+ chickens, half a dozen ducks, and several adult turkeys…our expenses now are quite affordable. I’ve made a conscious effort to downsize my work load and our expenses over the past year. Feeding the turkeys weeds doesn’t add any extra work, really…but it does help reduce the necessary investment!

If you would like to save some money on feed bills, let your turkeys eat weeds too!

Do you feed your poultry weeds?

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