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Turkeys in with Goats

 
Shelly Randall
Posts: 73
Location: Central Valley California
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We want to keep some turkeys in with the goats. Our chickens are in a separate run, and we read that turkeys and chickens should not be kept together. We have acquaintances who have had problems with the goats getting diarrhea from parasites from the chickens. Can this happen with turkeys? And can they bed down in the goat shed or do they need a separate roost? I would welcome any advice on this, and it would be much appreciated.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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I have kept turkeys with goats and cows. They get along just fine if the turkeys are put in when pretty small, so that the other critters don't perceive them as any kind of threat. You also need to goatproof any grain feeders that you put in there for the turkeys. I attached a piece of mesh fence with openings big enough for a turkey's neck, but too small for a goat's nose, over the feed troughs. We also had turkeys in with a big Holstein dairy cow. The turkeys scratched all the cow manure out into the pasture, looking for bits of corn and worms. They also would pick the big horseflies off the cow, and eventually the cow would lie down and let the turkeys walk all over her to do this!
 
Lynn Jacobs
Posts: 40
Location: At home with my soulmate <3 Living in a hot dry place.
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We have acquaintances who have had problems with the goats getting diarrhea from parasites from the chickens.
I'm guessing you mean coccidia? It was nothing I was familiar with, but the woman here kept saying that you can't let chickens in with goats or the goats will get sick, b/c the chickens poop on the hay and the goats eat it. Well, that just didn't sound right to me, because I've been on other farms where the chickens practically lived with the goats and nobody ever got sick. Plus I know how picky goats are about their feed, and if they won't even eat a piece that they drop on the ground, I just don't think they're going to eat poopy hay either!

So I looked it up. Several sites confirmed my suspicions: This is NOT a real threat. Coccidiosis is species specific. This means that while Yes, animals can and do get this disease, they don't get it from other species. Goats can only get this from other goats! This would be a good reason to keep the bedding areas clean.

Our chickens are in a separate run, and we read that turkeys and chickens should not be kept together.
I don't know if "should not" is correct. My observation has been that they just don't care for each others company. At a previous farm everything was free-range. The turkeys never went in the chicken coop or roosted in there. They did, however, hang out near the guinea hens. Here at this farm we did an experiment for a couple days and put the 5 turkeys in the fenced chicken area with about 30 chickens. The turkeys didn't socialize well. The toms strutted their stuff and puffed out their feathers to intimidate the chickens away from the grains and food that I would toss in to them. They did go inside the coop to eat and drink water, but at night they would be lined up outside along the fence, and wouldn't go in to sleep. The turkeys are now back in their chosen home...with the ducks. It's been below freezing for a couple days now, with snow on the ground, and they all still sit outside instead of going into the (rather drafty) shed.
 
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