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Do Turkeys Eat Meat? (Read This First!)

Turkeys are very popular to raise in the backyard. They are fun to have around and also provide meat and egg full of nutrients.

But to keep the turkeys happy and healthy you must be careful about their living, especially their diet. Since they don’t eat similar food as other domestic birds you might have many confusions regarding their food habits. 

Such as Do all turkeys eat the same food? Or can they have animals or meat?

We’ll break down these questions and fill you with every detail possible that’s related to your turkey’s diet so that you can keep your backyard folks happy and healthy!

Do turkeys eat meat?

Turkeys can have meat since they are omnivores. Along with seed, fruit, and grains, turkeys, especially the wild ones eat small animals, insects, and reptiles. Domestic turkeys can be fed meats of fish, beef, or pork that’s cooked. Thus they get protein, fat, minerals and grow properly.

Turkeys are omnivorous which means they eat both plants and meats. Along with plant materials such as different types of seeds, grain, fruits, and vegetables, turkeys eat insects, small animals too.

Turkeys’ diet depends a lot on their age and habitant. At their early age, around the first 4 weeks, turkeys need a high-protein diet to grow strongly. A turkey needs 6 to 8 percent of animal protein for its increased growth and larger eggs.

Since grains, vegetables or fruits can’t provide them the amount of protein as well as minerals and calories, they eat insects like grasshoppers, worms, spiders, etc. These might look small but serve the required amount of animal protein. 

This is applicable for both domestic and wild turkeys but since domestic turkeys are raised under supervision, the meat type may vary.

In the wild turkeys consume meat from available large insects, small reptiles. Domestic turkeys are fed these too. Owners even sometimes fed their turkeys cooked beef, pork, or goat for some change in their meat consumption.

However, many owners wonder if turkeys can eat chicken meat since turkeys are a family of birds. So let’s know whether you can give your turkey chicken treat:

Chicken meat:

Turkeys don’t differentiate much when it comes to meat. So if you give your turkey chicken meat it will happily consume that as long as it’s cooked. But in the wild, usually, turkeys aren’t seen having chicken as a meal.

Three reasons why turkeys eat meat

Turkeys love to have different types of meals. They are omnivorous and tend to eat from a variety of foods around them. It’s like a game for them to eat and enjoy.

But when it comes to meat, they just don’t have it for fun. It’s a need for their health since there are many health benefits of meat that other foods can’t cover-up.

Let’s know what makes turkeys eat meat:

Meat is full of Protein:

At their early stage, turkeys need a large amount of protein to boost their growth. But since plant-based foods can’t provide that amount of protein for turkeys, they eat meat to grow properly. 

Animal protein helps turkeys to have the best growth as well as increases the size and amount of their eggs.

Meats prevent Iron deficiency:

Meats especially the red ones found in beef, pork or goat are full of iron. Iron is important for turkeys to stay in good health and fight various health issues.  

If not fed meat, turkeys might lack iron in their body thus suffer from iron deficiency. Iron deficiency can take a turkey’s life when it gets severe.

Meats provide vitamins:

Vitamins are important for a turkey to grow in a healthy way. It’s also crucial to maintain their reproductive process. 

Meats of animals like beef, goat, or reptiles contain vitamins such as vitamin b12, b6 that prevent vitamin deficiency and other health issues in a turkey.

What turkeys eat meat?

Turkeys eat both plant and meat-based food. But since their diet depends on their age and habitant, you would find not all turkeys eat the same kind of food. For example, meat.

So now let’s know what turkeys eat meat:

Brush turkey:

Brush turkeys are a common and popular species of turkey. They eat everything that includes herb-based food and animals, which means they eat meat too. 

Brush turkeys mostly eat meats of reptiles, for example, snail, silkworm, frog, and other insects.

Wild Turkeys:

Wild turkeys get the opportunity to explore a large range of foods since they roam around freely all the time. Depending on where they are living and which season it is turkeys in the wild consume their meals. 

It’s the summer mainly when they eat insects, reptiles, and invertebrates such as grasshopper, caterpillars, snails, lizards, frogs, etc. to fulfill their requirement of meat.

Domestic Turkeys:

Domestic turkeys are mostly fed poultry foods which include grains, seeds, nuts, and other food mixtures. But since raisers want their turkeys to grow faster and healthier, they do give them meat sometimes which is cooked. 

Other than that, insects and small reptiles are added to a domestic turkey’s meal.

Baby Turkeys:

Baby turkeys need a high-protein diet to grow better but since they aren’t able to absorb food as adult turkeys do, they aren’t given meat in a larger amount. They only eat insects and bugs that cover up their protein needs.

Are turkeys carnivores?

Turkeys aren’t carnivores. They are omnivorous.

Animals that take only meat as food are carnivores. Whereas animals that are omnivorous eat both meat and plant-based foods. They consume animals, reptiles, insects as well as grains, plants, and fruits.

Turkeys are food lovers. Moreover, they are omnivorous. So they barely hesitate to eat anything they find edible. In the wild turkeys are always in search of food and have a large range available. They eat whatever they like to survive which includes vegetables and animals.

Domestic turkeys are given both plant materials and meats. Especially at an early age they are fed meats such as cooked beef or goat, insects, animals for high-protein.

However, the amount of meat and plant-based food in a turkeys’ menu isn’t always the same. According to their habitat and the season, turkeys eat both plant-based food and meat.

What do turkeys normally eat?

Turkeys’ food habit isn’t the same throughout the year when they are living in the wild. Due to different seasons, the source of food changes so does turkeys’ food.

But overall the foods they like to consume generally are almost the same around the world. Now let’s see what turkeys normally eat:

Grains and seeds:

Since grains and seeds are available most of the time of the year turkeys take them constantly. Corn, canola, soy, wheat, barley, etc. are often taken by these birds. Walnut or beechnuts are also on their list.


Fruits are a very common item in a turkeys’ food routine. Fruits are easy to find. So they’re used to having them as meals. Domestic turkeys are also served with fruits or fruits mix feed. 

Turkeys eat small fruits like berries, dogwood, cherries, wild grapes, apples, etc.

Plant materials:

Vegetables like cabbage, lettuce and young plants, grass, buds, green leaves, shoots, etc. are consumed by both wild and domestic turkeys regularly.


Being omnivorous turkeys eat animals more or less such as insects, reptiles to get protein. Turkeys usually have lizards, grasshoppers, worms, snails, frogs, etc. They can eat cooked meat also if given.

Do turkeys eat cats?

Often owners assume turkeys eat cats since turkeys are characterized as omnivorous. You might have seen footage of turkeys circling a cat which also put a lot of owners in confusion about whether turkeys love to take cat’s meat.

But in general, turkeys don’t eat cats. Not even the ones living in the wild. Instead, cats often prey on turkeys. So they might circle one out of curiosity to ensure it’s no longer alive.

Turkeys are omnivorous which indicates they eat meat along with plant materials or vegetables. But what many people don’t know is that turkeys usually eat small animals, mainly invertebrates. For example, frogs, tiny mice, snails, small snakes, moles, etc.

Turkeys also eat insects. But they avoid eating bigger animals or vertebrate ones. That means turkeys normally don’t eat cats. They just keep themselves protected from cats in case cats destroy their eggs.

Final Thoughts:

Turkeys eat meat since the nutrients gained from meat help their growth and development while making them energetic. Though mostly turkeys are fed seeds and grains when raised by humans, a small portion of their diet includes meat to fulfill their protein requirement, mostly in their early stage.