Do you raise turkeys? Every homesteader wants to raise the healthiest and largest birds. If you are raising turkeys, you may be spending a lot on feed.
One major way to reduce the cost of feed is to find an alternative feed. What are alternative feeds for turkeys? For example, can turkeys eat mice and rats?
Do turkeys eat mice and rats?
Turkeys eat mice, rats, and anything they can find. Turkeys also eat earthworms, nematodes, insects, fruits, seeds, etc. Turkeys make great pest control.
Even though turkeys can eat mice and rats, should you allow your turkeys to eat mice and rats? Is there any harm? Continue reading.
Do Turkeys Eat Rodents Such As Mites and Rats?
Well, turkeys eat a lot of small animals and rats are no exception. Even though turkeys have a lot of choices in terms of food, what a turkey eats depends on how wild or domesticated it is.
Do Wild Turkeys Eat Mice and Rats?
Wild turkeys eat anything they can find. Wild turkeys will eat any animal that cannot eat them. Rats, mice, snakes, lizards, plants, etc. make up the meals of wild turkeys.
Do Domestic Turkeys Eat Mice and Rats?
Domestic turkeys (i.e. the ones raised in farms and barns) are used for meat and egg production. Sometimes, they are used for pest control.
Even though domestic turkeys can eat rats and mice just like wild turkeys, most of their nutrition is gotten from processed feed, cereals, maggots, etc.
Should domestic turkeys eat rats and mice? Well, even if they can, it is not advisable that they should. Rats and mice can carry some pathogens and diseases such as salmonella, tularemia, Hantavirus, etc.
Can Turkeys Be Used As Pest Control?
Even though some diseases that rats carry cannot directly harm turkeys, they can indirectly harm you. For example, do you think you can eat the meat of a turkey that ate infected rats and mice?
You should think about the health concerns involved in using your turkeys and other birds as pest control against rats and mice.
If you should not use your farm birds as pest control against rats and mice, can you use them to control other pests?
Some Pests You Can Control With Turkeys
Here are common pests that you can control with turkeys:
Ticks are arachnids (just like spiders). They are parasites that feed on the blood of their host. Adult ticks can grow to 3-5 mm in length.
A heavy infestation of ticks on a host can lead to anemia, nutrient-deficiency, and cause other damages. Some ticks can spread bacterial diseases such as Lyme disease. Ticks can attack people and pets.
Turkeys love eating ticks. In fact, turkeys (among other birds) are recommended pest controls against ticks. Eating ticks causes no harm to your turkeys and gives your turkeys an extra source of nutrients.
Lice are small wingless insects that are obligate parasites of various warm-blooded animals. Lice feed on the blood of their host and live on the scalp. Lice can cause discomfort in their host and also cause some damage just like ticks.
Can turkeys eat lice? Of course. When there is a louse infestation on the farm, the use of turkeys is a cheap method of pest control.
Just like ticks, mites are arachnids. Unlike ticks and lice, however, mites are not obligate parasites. This means that an individual mite can feed on the blood of a host but can also eat organic materials outside a host.
Mites can be found in warm and soft spots in rooms. They easily get a host by waiting patiently until the unsuspecting host moves near them. Mites pose a danger to humans and animals such as goats, horses, dogs, cats, etc.
Turkeys do eat mites. Turkeys can be used effectively as pest control against mites.
4. Soil Nematodes
Nematodes are diverse worms that can be destructive to plants and animals. There exist nematode species that live in the intestines of mammals. There are also some soil nematode species that cause damage to plants.
Some examples of soil nematode species are:
- Golden nematode
- Root-knot nematode
- Cereal cyst nematode
- Cotton-root nematode
- Soybean cyst nematode
Turkeys love eating nematodes, so if your field of crops is disturbed by nematodes, you should consider introducing turkeys to the field.
5. Grub Worms
“Grub worm” is a descriptive term that refers to the larvae of various beetles. Grub worms are very destructive and will eat any food they can find. They can destroy your farm crops and pose a danger to trees in your yard.
Examples of grub worm beetles are:
- Japanese beetles
- Green June beetles
- Asiatic garden beetles
- Northern masked chafers
- Southern masked chafers
Guess what? Grub worms are a favorite meal of turkeys. Turkeys get a lot of nutrition (especially proteins) from grub worms. It is completely safe for turkeys to eat grub worms. Some homesteaders even raise grub worms for their turkeys.
As you can see, turkeys can be used to get rid of many kinds of pests. What if you have rats and mice in or around your home and farm? What can you do? Continue reading.
Some Methods of Controlling the Population of Mice and Rats
Here are great ways to prevent or get rid of rats and mice:
1. Call Pest Control
The best way to get rid of mice and rats is by calling pest control. These experts will help locate nesting and nursing spots of rats and mice in your home or on the farm.
They will remove every pest found. They will also give you the best advice to prevent rats and mice from entering your farm or home.
2. Set Baits in Strategic Locations
You should set rat traps and baits in strategic positions such as:
- Near leakages, cracks, etc.
- In routes that rats can pass through.
- In your animal feed store or warehouse.
- In locations where you see rat activity.
- Close to waste bins (especially bins for food waste).
Baits and traps work effectively, but you should try to prevent rats from entering the premises in the first place.
3. Remove Unnecessary Piles
They can use such unnecessary piles for nesting and nursing their young. If there is a pile of books, wood, and other objects in a place for a very long time, mice and rats will find that place and live there, raise their young, etc.
To prevent mice and rats from living in or around your home, make sure you remove every unused pile of objects from your home.
4. Block Every Hole and Point of Entry
Pipe leaks, where pipes pass, cracks, etc. are routes through which rats can enter your home or barn. You should look for and block the various points where mice and rats can get into the building. If you can, do not leave your door or gate open for a long time.
5. Always Clean the Environment
A clean environment does not attract rodents and other scavengers such as roaches. If your home is clean and free from food waste, mice and rats will search for other places to be.
When your home is clean, it also makes you and your turkeys free from pathogens found in dirty places.
Make sure you get rid of those rats!
Related Questions and Answers
Here are some related questions and answers:
1. Are Mice and Rats the Same?
“Rats” and “mice”, though used interchangeably, are not the same animal. Rats are usually medium-sized rodents that have long tails. Mice, though they have long tails just like rats, are smaller.
Some examples of rats are:
- Norway rats
- Black rats
- Naked mole-rats
Some examples of mice are:
- House mice
- Smoky mice
- Spiny mice
- Field mice
- Deer mice
Has your question been answered?
2. Do Turkeys Have Predators?
As you already know, turkeys will eat anything that cannot eat them. Some animals that can eat turkeys (i.e. their predators) are:
- Domestic dogs
- Crows and ravens
You should protect your turkeys from such animals.
3. What Should You Prevent Your Turkeys from Eating?
Asides from mice and rats, here are some items that turkeys should not eat:
- Wild mushrooms
- Food items around pesticides
Do not give anything toxic to your turkeys. Make sure that every feed given to your turkeys is completely safe for them.
Turkeys can eat rats and mice, but you should aim to get rid of your mice and rats with other pest control methods. You, however, can use turkeys to get rid of ticks, mites, nematodes, and similar pests.