What Do Turkeys Eat?

Category: Birds.

A turkey’s diet will depend on whether they are in the wild or whether they are are farmed. Both types have important considerations to ponder in their choice of food. For a wild turkey, they have a diet that is omnivorous. They can choose from items such as nuts, snakes, insects and berries. A turkey that is farmed will have a different diet. Their diet will be very limited as they are due for slaughter at a certain time. A diet in fat, protein and carbohydrates is the main consideration for a domestic turkey.

Wild turkeys foraging for food. © National Wild Turkey Federation.

Domestic or farm turkey

The diet for this type of turkey usually consists of soybeans and corn. It is also fed meal and the diet includes minerals and vitamins to help the turkey grow. Depending on the needs, the diet can be adjusted for fat, protein and carbohydrate levels until slaughter.

Wild turkey

The wild turkey has a more varied diet than the domesticated bird for good reason. They eat a diet rich in berries (such as blackberries, cherries, huckleberries and grapes), seeds, nuts, acorns, pinyon pine nuts, chestnuts, insects (such as larvae, beetles, grasshoppers and leafhoppers) and can sometimes eat snakes, lizards and frogs. Diet considerations will also include the different grasses that they can graze on.

Ocellated turkey

The ocellated turkey lives in the Yucatan Peninsula and its diet consists of leaves, insects, seeds and berries. They live in the tropical areas of different regions and are considered to be a near-threatened species of turkey. Depending on where they live, the seeds, berries and leaves will be of different species.

Varied diet for wild turkey

There is a small bit of difference when it comes to the three turkeys that are described. The diets are similar in the main part but vary depending on if they are wild or not. The wild turkeys have a more varied diet than the domesticated version of the turkey. Since it is usually bound for slaughter, the considerations for diet are much less than they would be in the wild.

Related birds and their diets

  1. Chicken
  2. Duck
  3. Mallard duck
  4. Peacock
  5. Swan

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