Can a Chicken Raise a Turkey Chick?

Chickens and turkeys may seem similar initially, but they’re different. Chickens are known for caring for their chicks, while turkeys have quite different parenting styles. We’ll look at the similarities and differences between chickens and turkeys, including their habits, needs, and behaviors when raising young ones.

While it’s not common for a chicken to raise a turkey chick, it’s not entirely impossible. We’ll find the challenges and possibilities of a chicken raising a turkey chick. You’ll find whether these two birds can form a unique bond or if they’re better off in separate nests.

Let’s start to check whether a chicken can raise a turkey chick.

Differences Between Chickens and Turkeys


Grasping the behavioral traits of Jake turkeys offers a foundational understanding of how these young males differ not just from chickens but also within their species. While chickens and turkeys vary greatly in size, behavior, and dietary needs, Jake turkeys exhibit specific social dynamics and responses that are crucial for their caregivers to recognize.

1. Size

Turkeys grow faster and are larger than chicken chicks, which can lead to difficulties in providing sufficient care. Grown-up turkeys can weigh up to 30 pounds or even more, while chickens usually tip the scales at just 5-10 pounds.

This size difference is super important when taking care of baby chicks. Because chickens are smaller, they can easily fit into warm spaces and get the care they need. So, when looking after baby birds, don’t forget that size matters.

2. Behavior

Chickens and turkeys act differently and have their groups. Chickens are a bit bossy and have a clear leader, while turkeys have a more complicated way of being together. It’s important to know these differences when deciding if a chicken can take care of a baby turkey.

Chickens often have one leader, but turkeys have a big group of them. Sometimes, the turkey’s way of being with others might not go well with the chicken’s bossy nature, so watching how they get along is important. Before letting a chicken take care of a baby turkey, it’s important to consider the differences to keep the turkey safe.

3. Dietary Needs

Young chicks and turkey babies need different foods to grow strong and healthy. These little birds have special food needs. Baby chicks require food with all the important nutrients for their growth. Turkey babies need something a bit different.

Making sure they eat the right food is super important for their development. So, whether it’s chicks or turkey babies, giving them the right food helps them grow into strong, healthy adult birds. It gives them a good start in life so they can fly high.

Challenges of Raising a Turkey Chick with a Chicken

Challenges of Raising a Turkey Chick with a Chicken

It’s not so easy to raise a baby turkey with a chicken mom because of some problems.

1. Size Disparity

A big problem we face is that baby turkeys are much bigger and grow faster than baby chickens. This makes it hard for mother hens to keep all the chicks warm and safe. Baby turkeys grow quickly, and this can cause problems for baby chickens.

Ensuring all the chicks get the care and relief they need is important. Caring for chicks of different sizes is a big part of raising poultry successfully.

2. Behavioral Differences

Chickens and turkeys raise their babies in different ways. Chickens are very watchful and always take care of their chicks. They keep them warm and protect them from danger. This makes sure that the chicks are safe and healthy.

Turkeys are more relaxed when it comes to parenting. They don’t pay as much attention and let their chicks do things independently. So, if a chicken mom raises a baby turkey, it might not get the same level of care and protection.

This difference in how they care for their babies can affect how well the turkey chick grows up. It depends on how adaptable the chick is and if enough resources are available.

3. Nutritional Needs

Turkeys and chickens eat different foods. Feeding turkey babies the right way can be hard because chickens don’t eat the same things or show them how to find food. Turkeys are fussy eaters, needing special meals, while chickens are not so picky, eating whatever’s available.

So, when looking after turkey babies, giving them the food they need is important. Unlike chickens, turkeys aren’t good at showing where to find food. So, you have to be their food guide, ensuring they eat the right stuff to grow strong and healthy.

4. Social Dynamics

Chickens and turkeys have their way of hanging out and talking with each other. But sometimes, baby turkeys can’t fit in with baby chickens. They don’t understand the same rules and words and feel lonely. Chickens and turkeys have their special rules and languages.

It’s hard for them when a baby turkey joins a chicken group. So they might have trouble making friends. But if they’re patient and spend time together, they can all be good companions.


A chicken can raise a turkey chick, but it’s not always a great idea. They have their ways of doing things. Sometimes, a chicken might not understand what a turkey chick needs. Turkeys and chickens communicate differently.

Turkeys make different sounds than chickens; a turkey chick might not understand or feel comfortable around chickens. But if you don’t have a turkey parent around, and you must use a chicken, give the turkey chick some extra care and special turkey food.

So, while a chicken can raise a turkey chick, it’s not the ideal choice. Turkeys best raise turkeys.

Aaliyah Martinez

Aaliyah Martinez is an expert environmental journalist with a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University. Her journey began as a field researcher, where she developed a deep appreciation for biodiversity. Her insights stem from extensive fieldwork across various continents. Her love for the outdoors translates into her hobbies, which include hiking and volunteering for wildlife rehabilitation centers. She is also a great birdwatcher and nature photographer, capturing the beauty of wildlife in her travels.

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