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Turkey feeding

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Any of you feed turkeys through the winter? If so what is their preferred food, corn? Or do you feed a specialized feed?

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Hammer Handle

Corn and oats. My dad feeds they away from his house.

He does put some feed in the yard...but he doesn't want them to "go tame". He just likes to see them.

If I could figure out how to post a picture, I would show you a picture of 10 young toms in his yard last winter...10 feet from the house.

Funny, if the yard is different at all, they won't come in. For example, if I leave my car in the turkeys. If I "hide" it in the shed...there they are.

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Feeding turkeys, like any game, should be done with great caution and care. By creating an "artificial" food source, you're concentrating their movements, both geographically and temporally (time). You open them up to increased predation both to/from the feeding sites, or at the feeding site if nearby cover for predators exists, and at times, create another hazard in the form of car/turkey accidents by leading them greater distances across roads.

At the same time, who doesn't like seeing turkeys! smile.gif I sure do, and have fed them during select winters in the past. My biggest beef with folks that feed is those who do it inconsistently. Just like any food source, they begin to structure their schedules around it, and depend on it more and more. If you're not prepared to go through some major corn or other feed, and feed continuously throughout the entire winter, I wouldn't start. Starting/stopping hap-hazzardly throughout the season doesn't do the birds many favors, and increases unnecessary travel (when they head all the way to your place for no food), costing them valuable calories during hard winters.

Make sure your feed is in good condition and isn't moldy leftovers from the elevator (a favorite low-cost option available at rural feed stores). Not that you can't use waste corn, I do, but make sure it isn't wet, moldy, and is as free of foreign material as possible.

Perhaps the biggest reason to avoid feeding revolves around the human psyche and our "ownership" issues we all so often have with wild game. Seeing the same tom, bearded hen, or group of jakes almost everyday during the winter makes one grow attached to them, whether we like to admit it or not. I know this as I feel many of the same things when I hear that the single spurred tom with a 4" beard was shot a mile down the road. He was never "my" turkey and I shouldn't have had feelings of disgust when he was taken, but I did. smile.gif

It's a fun thing, and perhaps no better way to keep tabs on your birds. It's also an incredible learning experience. I can't tell you how many dollars in excess heating I've paid because of wide open windows in March, learning to cluck/purr/whine like they do. However, think carefully about any feeding you do this winter for turkeys, and make sure you keep their best interests in mind as well as your own.


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Surface Tension

Like Joel says, once you start feeding you have to keep at it all winter. Something else you might not be considering is cost. How you feed will determine that. If theres and unlimited supply of feed you might be biting off more then you can chew as a huge flock develops. The farm I hunt had over 150 turkey's one winter picking threw his field. Turkeys from around the countryside heard of easy pickings at farmer Johns. Hard to believe but I saw the video tape from the DNR using nets fired by canons to catch a couple dozen turkeys that were relocated in Mille Lacs county.

If you put out a couple gallons of corn per day you might just get the local birds. I saw one county in another state that didn't have the winter feed to support turkeys so they had a winter feeding program. They had elevated feeders(old flat bed trailers) to keep the deer herd from getting into it. The ground predators couldn't get at them either.

If I had turkeys around here I'd be feeding them. I feed deer at home and its fun to have them around.

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