Do Turkeys Eat Meat? (Read This First!) 

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Raising turkeys in the backyard is a popular hobby. They provide meat and eggs that are full of nutrients.

To keep turkeys happy and healthy, you must be careful about their living, especially their diet, since they do not eat the same food as other domestic birds.

Are all turkeys fed the same food? Can they eat animals or meat?

You’ll get every detail you need about your turkey’s diet so that you can keep your backyard folks healthy and happy!

Do Turkeys Eat Meat?

Since turkeys are omnivores, they can eat meat. In addition to seeds, fruits, and grains, wild turkeys eat insects, small animals, and reptiles.

Domestic turkeys can be fed cooked fish, beef, or pork meat. Thus, they get protein, fat, minerals, and grow well.

As an omnivorous bird, turkeys eat both plants and meat. Along with seeds, grains, fruits, and vegetables, they also eat insects and small animals.

At their young age, around the first 4 weeks, turkeys need a high-protein diet to grow strongly. To produce larger eggs, turkeys need 6 to 8 percent of animal protein in their diet.

Since grains, vegetables, and fruits can’t provide them with the necessary protein and minerals, they eat insects such as grasshoppers, worms, spiders, etc. 

These might look small but provide the necessary animal protein. As domestic turkeys are raised under supervision, the meat type may vary from wild turkeys.

Turkeys in the wild eat large insects and small reptiles. Domestic turkeys also eat insects and reptiles. Owners sometimes feed their turkeys cooked beef, pork, or goat to change their diet.

Turkeys are part of the poultry family, so many owners wonder whether they can eat chicken meat. Let’s find out:

Chicken meat:

When it comes to meat, turkeys don’t differentiate much, so if you give them chicken meat, they’ll happily eat it. However, in the wild, turkeys don’t usually eat chicken.

3 Reasons Why Turkeys Eat Meat

As omnivores, turkeys love to eat a variety of foods around them. It’s like a game for them to eat and enjoy.

When it comes to meat, they don’t just eat it because it’s fun. They eat it because it offers many health benefits that other foods can’t match.

Here are some reasons why turkeys eat meat:

Meat is full of Protein:

Because plant-based foods cannot provide turkeys with that much protein, they eat meat to grow properly at their early stages.

In addition to helping turkeys grow, animal protein also helps them produce larger and more eggs.

Meats prevent Iron deficiency: 

Iron deficiency can be prevented by eating meat. It is important for turkeys to eat red meats, such as beef, pork, or goat, since iron is essential to their health and well-being.

If turkeys aren’t fed meat, they may suffer from iron deficiency, which can lead to death when severe.

Meats provide vitamins:

A turkey’s growth and reproductive processes depend on vitamins.

Beef, goat, and reptile meat contain vitamins such as vitamin b12, b6 that prevent turkeys from developing vitamin deficiencies.

How Much Meat Do Turkeys Eat?

In addition to plant-based food, turkeys eat a variety of meat-based foods. However, their diet varies according to their age and location.

Now let’s find out what turkeys eat:

Brush turkey:

A brush turkey is a common and popular turkey species that eats herbs and animals, including meat.

Turkeys eat mostly reptile meat, such as snails, silkworms, frogs, and other insects.

Wild Turkeys:

In the wild, turkeys have the opportunity to consume a wide variety of foods since they roam around freely all the time.

During the summer, they eat insects, reptiles, and invertebrates, such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, snails, lizards, frogs, etc.

Domestic Turkeys:

Most domestic turkeys are fed poultry feeds such as grains, seeds, nuts, and other food mixtures. 

If raisers want their turkeys to grow faster and healthier, they will occasionally feed them cooked meat.

A domestic turkey’s meal also includes insects and small reptiles.

Baby Turkeys:

In order to thrive, baby turkeys need a high-protein diet, but since they can’t absorb food as adults, they aren’t given meat in a larger amount. 

They instead eat insects and bugs, which provide enough protein to meet their needs.

Are Turkeys Carnivores Or Vegetarians?

Turkeys are omnivores, not carnivores. Animals that are omnivorous eat both meat and plant-based foods. They consume animals, reptiles, insects, grains, plants, and fruits.

In the wild, turkeys are always seeking food. They eat whatever they like to survive, including vegetables and animals, as they are omnivorous.

Especially at an early age, turkeys are fed cooked beef or goat, insects, animals for high protein.

Depending on the habitat and the season, turkeys eat both meat and plant-based food on their menus.

What Do Turkeys Normally Eat?

Due to different seasons, turkeys’ food habits change throughout the year when they are living in the wild.

In general, turkeys like to eat almost the same foods around the world. Let’s see what they normally eat:

Grains and seeds:

It is common for turkeys to eat grains and seeds throughout the year. They may consume corn, canola, soy, wheat, barley, walnuts, or beechnuts.


Domestic turkeys are also fed fruits or fruit mix feed as part of their daily diet. Fruits are easy to find, so they’re used to them as meals.

The turkey eats small fruits like berries, dogwood, cherries, wild grapes, and apples.

Plant materials:

Both wild and domestic turkeys consume vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, young plants, grass, buds, green leaves, and shoots regularly.


For protein, turkeys usually eat insects, reptiles, grasshoppers, worms, snails, frogs, etc. They can also consume cooked meat if provided with it.

Do Turkeys Eat Cats?

It’s not uncommon for owners to assume turkeys eat cats since turkeys are characterized as omnivorous.

You may have seen video footage of turkeys circling a cat which also confused owners.

In general, turkeys won’t eat cats. Not even the wild ones. Instead, cats often prey on turkeys, so they might circle one out of curiosity.

Turkeys are omnivorous which indicates they eat meat along with plant materials or vegetables. Many people don’t realize that turkeys eat small animals, mainly invertebrates. For instance, frogs, tiny mice, snails, small snakes, moles, etc.

They also eat insects, but avoid larger animals or vertebrates, so turkeys don’t normally eat cats. They just protect themselves from cats in case they destroy their eggs.

Lastly, I would like to say…

The nutrients in meat help turkeys grow and develop and make them more energetic, so they eat meat. 

In their early stages, turkeys are mostly fed seeds and grains, but a small portion of their diet consists of meat to fulfill their protein needs.

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