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Do Turkeys Need a Heat Lamp in the Winter? (Answered)

Birds can make great pets. Turkeys are the big kind and bird as well. Turkeys are very easy to maintain, and they are strong birds. Keep some factors in mind while choosing one. 

Do turkeys need a heat lamp in the winter?

Turkeys might need heat lamps in cold winter. A heat lamp is a must for baby turkeys. However, they do not need extra heat when they mature. They can adapt well. Some can even endure temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. But that depends on the breed you are dealing with while bringing them up.

Birds come with feathers. The feathers in birds keep the heat out and help them adapt in winter.

Turkeys are big birds that are similar to hens. But they are stronger than hens and show various resilient behaviors even in winters.

Turkeys can survive winter with ease when they are mature. But there might be young growing ones that might need some care and attention.

The early stage of turkeys requires an artificial heat lamp setting for around 6-8 weeks for the feathering process to complete.

Some turkeys might need heat lamps to keep them warm even after the feathering process. Those factors and decisions vary depending on the breed of turkey and the weather.

If the weather is cold, you can provide turkeys with heat lamps in the Penn. But some turkeys can tolerate even high cold.

So, to provide turkeys with a heat lamp in winter, you have to keep some factors in mind. Choose your turkey according to the weather conditions of where you live. And always keep the needs of the breeds of turkeys before you choose one for you.

Do baby turkeys need a heat lamp?

Baby turkeys need a heat lamp for their development. Turkeys are kept in a brooding place for feathering.

They need extra care and protection for up to six or eight weeks of hatching. 

There are various species of turkeys. Their breed determines their raising factors.

Maintaining the needs of baby turkeys is a little bit different than chickens. They are larger than regular chickens. But they are not hard to raise and maintain. You will need more time and energy to invest behind them.

You have to keep the brooding temperature around 95 to 100 degrees for seven days of their birth. Their feathering phase continues for up to 8 weeks. After the first week of their hatching, you have to decrease the temperature by five degrees.

After completion of their feathering phase, you can remove the heat lamp. But turkeys might need it in the winter or in relatively colder times. You have to be mindful and careful of these needs and weather.

4 reason why turkeys need heat lamp in winter  

Turkeys need some attention during the early phase of their life. You do not have to think about them much after a certain age.

They require some care and attention for some time. And also need attention and heat during winter. But not all breeds will need the same temperature during winter.


Turkeys kept in brooding space after they hatch remain vulnerable. They are residing out of their natural breeding place. So, you have to provide with all the requirements for their development.

Turkeys need a heat lamp in their brooding space. After that, they will roam around and not stay much in the Penn.

You have to be cautious in winter. Winter can be too much in some places. Make sure your turkey is well protected. Select your turkey breed according to your location and weather needs.

Keeping warm:

Few breeds of turkey needs more heat than other breeds. You have to keep them in a warm place. The heat lamps in their brooding space are a must for these breeds.

In general, the weather and environmental conditions decide their need for heat. You have to provide them with heat to protect them from various cold diseases. 

Breed needs:

There are breeds of turkey that do not need much heat for survival.

Even in winter, some turkeys can survive outside. As turkeys are free-roaming animals, they do not adapt well inside cages. So, you have to let them out most of the time.

Preventing frostbites:

In winter, your turkey can get frostbites. If you provide heat lamps to keep their habitat warm, they will be less prone to receiving frostbites. Even outdoor turkeys keep their heads inside shade while sleeping.

How long do turkeys need a heat lamp?

The ideal temperature to maintain in a brooding space for turkeys is 95-100 degrees. And this is applicable only for the first week of their hatching.

After that, you can decrease the temperature by 5 degrees or more depending on the breed of your turkey.

Turkeys like to roam around. They do not stay inside cages for long. It is not right to keep them inside as well. It might cause various problems in the behavior of your turkey.

Until the feathering process of turkeys, you have to keep them warm and cozy. Heat lamps in their habitat are a must at this time. Then, they can cope with the atmospheric temperature at ease. They do not need much heat after they grow up.

But this factor may vary depending upon the breed of turkey you have. Some turkeys might need heat lamps in winter, even when they are mature.

Turkeys usually do not need much attention once they become mature. They are strong and big animals that live on their own.

Can turkeys survive cold weather? How cold can turkeys survive?

Turkeys are strong birds. They can survive cold weather. Some breeds can even tolerate temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit as well.

The ideal temperature for turkeys to survive is around 70 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. They cannot tolerate excessive heat.

Turkeys can tolerate harsh winters. They stay on their own and tackle winter very well. Their in-built structure and adaptation techniques help them survive winter.

They roost, cuddle, fluff themselves to stay warm and cope with winter. Turkeys are tough birds that prefer to stay out at night.

You can also herd them inside warm cages at night in case of predators around. Other than that, you can keep them outside without worrying much.

The supply of ample water and food helps them fight cold. Turkeys can store energy and use those while cold. Their metabolic rate is very high, and they use it well to stay active and warm.

How do turkeys stay warm in winter?

Birds and animals have their techniques to adapt to unfavorable weather conditions. In winter, turkeys can get cold. To stay warm, they have different adaptation methods.

Moreover, you can modify their habitat and provide them with the necessary materials to cope with the cold.

The metabolism rate of turkeys is high. They shiver to stay warm and keep themselves active. They also have good insulation in their body.

To keep their inner body warm, they can develop a waterproof outer layer. It keeps the internal body dry and crisp. Birds like turkeys can develop air pockets by trapping them. This fluffing of birds keeps their external body waterproof.

Often, turkeys can hide in tree cavities and bark to stay warm. It also saves them from predators. It creates e cuddling effect in their body and keeps them warm. Roosting also keeps turkeys warm. The feathers keep their feet cozy while they roost.

Moreover, eating before winter and storing foods also helps them use the energy in the winter and keep warm.

How to tell if your turkeys are too cold?

Turkeys are resilient birds that can tolerate harsh weather. They show various signs when they get too cold and cannot endure it anymore. Some of them are:

Less movement:

turkeys tend to move less when they are feeling cold. They will sit or stay in one spot for longer times.

Decreasing appetite:

There will be a decrease in the regular amount of food of turkeys. They will lose appetite and show reluctant behavior in eating habits.

Roosting repetitively:

Increase in roosting of turkeys can often indicate that they are cold. Turkeys roost to keep them warm. The feathers are all covering them and making them fluffy, cozy, and warm.

Not interacting with owners:

Turkeys will hurdle under heat lamps and not interact with the owners when they are cold.

Birds like turkeys show signs when they are not in their natural elements. Pay close attention to their behavior, and you will know what they need and are trying to say.

Final Thoughts 

The breed of turkey, life stage, weather conditions, etc., determines the need for a heat lamp for a turkey. If it is still feathering, the need for a heat lamp will increase for some weeks. It might increase for more time depending on the weather. Mature turkeys can live and adapt well in winter.