Skip to Content

When Do Turkeys Roost? (Explained)

Ritualistic and intelligent in regards to other animals, the turkeys can be very thoughtful of their surroundings and their needs. Since they are such social animals, they always stick together.

Like other poults, turkey roosts too. Though the reasons may vary from bird to bird and their subspecies, the core idea for roosting remains the same. Turkeys have the habit of always doing the same thing every day, which includes roosting.

This behavior of following the bird right in front of them and doing exactly what the flock of birds does is what makes people think turkeys are dumb creatures. However, we would soon find out that this myth about them being dumb is far from the truth.

Let us go over the nuances of how and where the turkeys roost. We will also discuss why they roost, to begin with. Keep reading below to find out more.

When do turkeys roost?

Usually, poults start their roosting from fourteen to twenty-eight days of age. This number’s consistency will vary from species to sub-species, temperature, and location. Turkeys tend to roost on their usual spot night after night. Sometimes they do change spots and move from tree to tree. 

Turkeys never deviate from what they set on to do every day. They will repeat their routine until something disrupts them from doing so. Turkey will roost during the time the sun goes down and soon when it is dawn again, they will emerge.

In the afternoon:

Turkeys during the afternoon will be on a quest to find out shady locations that are adjacent to their feeding areas. These can be forage ridgetops or even fields. There they will rest the rest of the time and even dust.

In the evening:

After the sun starts to set the turkeys will be already marching to find the place where they roost. They have an acute knowledge of large locations and thus it helps them locate their homes. 

This is shadowed by the fact that they can not see very well in the dark.

At night:

During the night the turkeys will be high up the trees and roost there until the dawn comes around. During this time the birds can be vulnerable and thus roosting is very essential in finding a safe place to pass the night.

In the fall:

During this time the turkeys will be flocked up, however not at the usual place we might expect them to be. Some of them will be at random places but if we know about their feeding locations.

Also, if we know the roosting place it will be relatively easy to track them down during the daytime. They will hang around the fields where we might still find them doing so in the spring as well.

In the spring:

Turkeys spend most of their time during this time in the fields or open woods. Because these places contain an innumerable number of weeds and grassy vegetation.

Turkeys usually stick around the flats and plateaus during this time. This is because they search for nuts in these areas as it is easier to find them here.

Do turkeys roost before dark? What time do turkeys come off roost?

No, turkeys do not roost before dark. They usually spend most of their time in loafing covers or another seclusion from morning till afternoon. They simply follow a ritual of rules and continue to follow it every day without fail.

Turkeys do nothing exceptional but feed, call, breed, preen and simply loaf around through the day. Furthermore, as soon as the day comes to an end and night starts to settle in, the turkeys will come off to roost.

Turkeys will roost throughout the night until dawn comes around. They do not usually change their spot for roosting either and will come back to the same place without fail.

However, sometimes they do opt to change their roosting location. Also, sometimes on rainy spring mornings, the turkeys will stay and roost even after dawn till 7 am-8 am.

Do turkeys roost like chickens? How high do turkeys roost?

We have a general idea of birds roosting on branches high up in the trees. But this is further from the truth in the case of chickens. Chickens are ground birds; they do not go high up on the trees and roost.

However, it is not like they do not roost at all. Chickens flat roost to round branches. On the other hand, turkeys prefer to roost outdoors. Likewise, the turkeys can fly, unlike the chickens. So the turkeys don’t roost like chickens.

Since the turkeys can fly, they will fly straight up 50 feet high trees to roost during the nighttime. But usually, the turkeys just go up 20-30 feet high to trunks that are branch-free. This behavior of the bird helps to foil predators.

Why do turkeys roost?

Normally when birds turn down their activity and get ready to sleep, then that is known as “roosting”. The reasons behind this activity are that they look for warmth and safety.

Usually, this also translates to the lifestyle of turkeys too. Let us go over the details on why they roost as well.


Just like the birds that roost to find a cozy place to spend the night and avoid the cold, turkeys also do the same. They pass the night in warmer temperatures than the environment.


Roosting helps birds to stay on the cover and not get taken by an owl. Turkeys on the other hand are not wary of any owls but rather a more dangerous predator.

Coyotes are one of the major problems that Turkeys need to avoid. Roosting during the night helps them mitigate that issue entirely.

What time do turkeys go to sleep?

Turkeys were mostly considered as one of the dumbest animals out there, but that is not the case in reality. These poults are quite intelligent and are good at geography. They can even remember the details of large areas which in turn is helpful for them as it helps get food easily.

These birds are ritualistic and follow the same routine together without anyone impeding their way. They loaf around during the daytime and when the sun starts to settle in and the darkness of the night starts to creep in, they make a run for roosting.

Turkeys roost during the dusk and sleep during the night. They come down and become active again during the dawn. It is also partly due to the turkeys being unable to see very well in the night.

Do turkeys roost in the same place every night? Will turkeys roost in the same spot?

Turkeys ritualistically follow the same routine day and night. They will feed themselves during the day, take shelter from the heat of the day in shades. They will also loaf around without doing anything much.

However, since they remember geography so well. They without fail will go to the same roosting place when it is dusk. They will roost there until the next dawn comes around. This behavior keeps them safe and warm at night.

Turkeys will repeat the same behavior all day like yesterday as well as a roost in the same spot again tonight. Although, this is not always 100% the same case every time and rather the turkeys will change places to roost from time to time and change trees sometimes too.

Where do turkeys roost when it’s windy?

Turkeys are excellent flyers. They feed on the ground and thus maybe the myth started from there that they cannot fly. Turkeys can soar up to 50 feet high up and reach speeds of 55 mph.

Therefore, while roosting we can hardly see any turkeys that are close to the ground level. They generally tend to stay high up to avoid predators. However, if they find themselves in windy weather, turkeys will come down to the lower branches to avoid getting too cold.

Sometimes they go on the slopes of the hillsides to avoid the raging wind currents or they can just stay near the valleys. Even if they decide to stand out the weather, they will eventually go to those areas once daytime comes rolling.

Final Thoughts

Turkeys have the tendency to follow each other tails instinctively and keep marching wherever the bird in front of them is marching towards. They are highly social animals and all of them strictly follow each other. So, whenever the daylight starts to dim, the turkeys go to roost until dawn.