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Like chickens, turkeys have no federal legal protection and it’s estimated that 245 million turkeys are raised and killed each year in the U.S. alone. In factory farms, turkeys are bred to grow as quickly as possible and can become crippled under their own weight. Turkeys are raised by the thousands, in cramped, filthy sheds, and are subject to routine de-beaking and partial amputation of their toes, before they are sent to slaughter at only 3 to 5 months old.

When not being raised for food, turkeys are naturally curious animals who spent their days building nests, foraging for food, taking dust baths, preening themselves, and caring for their young. Here at Charlie’s Acres, some of our turkey residents are even partial to snuggling with their human friends.



– In nature, turkey mothers are very bonded to their young, and babies will stay with their mothers for their first 5 months of life. Mother turkeys are so courageous they have even been observed attacking predators, such as hawks, who threaten their babies.

– Male turkeys, or “toms” are more colorful than female turkeys. The colorful skin around their head and neck, or “wattle” actually changes color depending on their mood and stress level.

– Turkeys have very different personalities, likes, and dislikes. They can even remember human faces and will pick their favorite people. At Charlie’s Acres, Mei Li likes to sit on laps and will snuggle in and close her eyes. Sapphire, prefers to surprise people by jumping onto their shoulders or even their heads when they’re not paying attention!

– Wild turkeys can fly at speeds of up to 55mph, run at 25mph, and can live up to 10 years.


Turkeys are an often misunderstood and maligned creature, but anyone who has spent a little time with one knows how affectionate and wonderful they can be. In the proper setting, keeping pet turkeys can be a delightful and rewarding experience.


Find fun animal-themed activities, as well as educational and compassionate lesson plans for kids and teachers on our kids page!