(Q) KEEPING TURKEYS AND CHICKENS TOGETHER
I currently run a 'flock' of ten chickens (now there's a question - what number denotes a flock?) and I have been offered the chance to fatten some turkeys for Christmas but could I keep them with my hens? I have been told, in an indirect manner, that this is not a good idea as turkeys carry a virus that hens are susceptible to.
A flock of chickens can be any number of birds, it is the way that many poultry keepers describe the number of birds they keep, taking this into account a flock is generally more than two birds with the reality being that a flock represents quite a large number, it is used today as a basic description so I consider that ten birds would represent a flock.
With regards to mixing the two species, turkeys can be prone to suffer from a problem called "Blackhead” this is a disease which is a serious form of Coccidiosis.
The bird becomes sick and the head does literally go dark almost black in colour, the result in this is normally the loss of the bird.
This problem can be easily passed onto the other birds through normal daily contact but treatment is possible and can be acquired through your vet.
There are several preventative methods that can be used for tackling the problem from occurring, the most effective being Bi-00-cyst, if used as instructed in the pens this should help to prevent the disease from spreading.
The ideal solution is to have the turkeys and keep them in a separate pen away from the chickens, I would still strongly recommend the use of Bi-00-cyst as part of your cleaning programme as a preventative to avoid any contamination.
BB’S Choice is a selection of only the best tried and tested products recommended by Terry Beebe. Terry has been involved in backyard and exhibition poultry keeping for over 20 years and writes articles for Practical Poultry, Fancy Fowl, Country Smallholder, Home Farmer magazines and many others. He has also written several informative books, so you know his advice can be trusted.