Ever wondered if a turkey can fly?

Can a turkey fly?


We love our turkeys on our homestead – We have a range of turkeys including Domestic & Narragansett heritage turkeys. They are fascinating creatures and are a stunning addition to any homestead/farm/large garden. One thing we didn’t know before raising our turkeys was how well they flew and how easy they were to keep in one location! After many years of experience we now have a lot of experience and have detailed everything we know below.



Can Wild Turkeys Fly?

Since wild turkeys feed on the ground, there is a common misconception associated with them that they cannot fly. They can fly, but they are not great flyers. They can typically fly around 100 yards, which is normally enough to get them away from danger or towards food!

Fully grown domestic turkeys often weigh too much in order to fly and will typically stay on the ground. Heritage turkeys can fly even once fully grown. 



What are the limitations of flying?

Although wild turkeys like running more than they like flying, they can still fly; they can fly a little distance, especially at night, though they can’t go very high.



How do Wild Turkeys Fly?

Wild turkeys get their flying power from their breast muscle; unlike the hind limbs for balance, the chest muscle vigors a turkey’s wings that help them fly high for more distance.



How fast can wild turkeys fly?

However, they usually fly for short bursts, i.e., up to 55 mph.



How High Up Do Wild Turkey Roosts?

Wild turkeys roost on primary branches in trees that are at the height of 20 to 30 feet.



Can a Domestic Turkey Fly?

Domestic turkeys are larger than wild turkeys and that will affect their flight.



What is the difference between flying and roosting?

When turkeys fly, it will be low to the ground, and they don’t have much need to fly any higher than flying up to their perch in the top of the trees when they roost at night.



How fast are wild turkeys?

Their legs help them run at high speeds, i.e., up to 25 miles per hour.



How high do I need to build a fence to keep a turkey in?

A fence needs to be tall enough so that the birds can’t jump over it. A good rule of thumb is about 6-8 feet taller than your bird. If you want to fully protect the birds from escaping and also stop predators getting in, then we would recommend putting netting across the top of their pens. 

If you do decide to pen your turkeys in, please ensure their run is big enough for lots of exercise or regularly


How long does it take for a turkey to learn to fly?


You will see turkeys learning to fly as soon as they hatch. It takes approximately 2 weeks for them to start flapping their wings and 5 months for them to become proficient at flying.


Video of Wild Turkey Flying in Slow Motion


Here is a fantastic video showing a wild turkey flying in slow motion: