Turkey farming is a rewarding pastime, whether you plan to raise your turkey as livestock or simply want to keep them as pets. However, it’s essential to be prepared before acquiring turkeys. You especially need to know where you want to keep them.
Do turkeys need a coop? Most turkeys raised on a farm need a coop to provide them with sufficient warmth, and protection from the elements and predators. However, not all turkey breeds are ready for coop life.
This article explains whether turkeys need a coop and walks you through how you can house your own turkeys.
What Exactly Is a Turkey Coop?
Put simply, a turkey coop is identical to a chicken coop but on a slightly larger scale. It’s a structure in which your turkeys live. It is usually a small enclosed area. In their coop, turkeys typically sleep, rest, lay their eggs, and more.
The purpose of a turkey coop is to protect your turkeys from bad weather and potential predators. You can make turkey coops from various materials, such as wood, wire, or metal bars. They can look like a traditional house or contain a roof and some simple siding. How you build your turkey coop depends on how you plan on keeping your turkeys.
When Do Turkeys Need a Coop?
If you plan on raising turkeys from poults, you undeniably need a coop.
Turkeys are similar to hens in that they should be kept in a brooder for their first six weeks. A brooder is an enclosed, heated structure where baby turkeys (or baby chicks if raising chickens or a mixed flock) are kept for the early part of their lives. It involves a brooder guard to keep the young turkey poults enclosed and an infrared light to keep them warm.
Once those six weeks are up, your young turkeys will have most likely outgrown the brooder and should be transferred to a coop setting.
Which Turkeys Need a Coop?
Not all adult turkeys need a coop, and not all turkeys will readily accept life in a coop.
In particular, a Broad Breasted turkey has more potential to get ready for coop life. You’ll find it easier to get them to sleep in their coop and even to develop their own routine when it comes to being in a coop.
In contrast, a heritage turkey, such as White Holland turkeys, are less likely to accept coop life. Even if they sleep in the coop as a poult, they may eventually resist the coop and choose to sleep outdoors instead.
However, not all hope is lost for a heritage turkey. If you build your coop large enough and design it to integrate the heritage breed turkeys’ natural instinct to roost in trees, your turkey flock may be less resistant to sleeping in their coop.
What Should a Turkey Coop Include?
You know the answer to “do turkeys need a coop,” but if you’re raising turkeys, you should also consider what a turkey coop should include.
A turkey coop should have several components to keep your turkeys happy and healthy.
One of your top priorities for a turkey coop should be providing your turkeys somewhere to roost – a roosting bar. For a larger breed bird, the roosting bar should be lower to the ground to avoid injuries or strain to your turkeys trying to reach the bar.
Be aware, however, that birds in a Broad Breasted turkey flock eventually get so big that they may choose to roost on the ground.
Size of the Coop
The size you choose for your turkey coop largely depends on how much time they’ll spend in it.
If you have ample yard space and decent weather year-round and expect your turkeys to spend their days exercising outside, then they will most likely only use the turkey coop for roosting, and it, therefore, can be smaller.
However, if you plan on having your turkeys spend extended amounts of time in their coop, it should be large enough for them to have space to move around and navigate.
To give you an idea of how to plan the size of your coop, here’s how much space each turkey needs at each age:
- 0-8 weeks: 2-2.5 square feet per turkey
- 8-16 weeks: 3-4 square feet per turkey
- 16-20 weeks: 5-8 square feet per turkey
- 20 weeks onwards: 6-10 square feet per turkey
Another critical consideration for turkey coops is an entryway large enough to accommodate their size.
As you know, turkeys can become quite large, so your coop must be able to accommodate their size, especially if your turkeys are not done growing.
If you get turkey poults or very young turkeys, you must get a coop that accommodates their mature size. Otherwise, you may need to get another coop for your bird flock sooner rather than later.
How to Build Your Own Turkey Coop
It doesn’t take a lot to build your own turkey coop. In fact, all you really need is a roof and some sides.
Here are the steps to building your own turkey coop:
- Measure the space you need for your coop based on how many turkeys you plan to have.
- Choose your materials — wood is recommended for the structure, but you can use wire for the sides. Galvanized tin is an excellent option for the roof.
- Build the structure according to your measurements, then add your siding of choice. Don’t forget to build a large door for your turkeys to walk through.
- Add your roosting bar, ensuring that it is a large enough distance from the wall for your turkeys to sit comfortably.
- Add your tin roof, and you are done!
You can also set up your turkey coop in a barn if you already have one. Just make sure that they have their own area.
Conclusion: Protect Your Turkeys in a Coop
To conclude, while there are instances where your turkeys may not need a coop or even want to be in one, it’s a good idea to build a turkey coop anyway.
Turkey coops make raising turkeys easier by protecting them from weather and predators, ensuring their safety. Make sure to build your turkey coop large enough to enable your turkeys’ comfort and health.