Where Do Turkeys Sleep?

where do turkeys sleep

Even though turkeys and chickens belong to the same group of animals, there are so many differences between them, especially in housing and pasture fencing needs. One of the stark differences is the places that they roost. So, where do turkeys sleep? We do believe this piece of information benefits both a turkey hunter and owner. Let’s read this article to find out the answer.

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In the wild, where do turkeys sleep?

In the wild, even though turkeys stay all day on the ground, they hurry to their roots which are generally trees in the evening, even in the winter.

Turkeys have poor night vision, so roosting in trees keeps them safe from predators in the darkness and the weather. They only move when it is utterly necessary. At dusk, they fly up to the trees to sleep and pitch down at dawn.

Turkeys change their shelters throughout the year. Based on the seasons, weather, and the coverage of leaves, they change their roosts into bigger trees that can block heavy winds or have more leaves. Because those with fewer leaves and shades may not offer a good enough cover.

Fun fact: Turkeys are excellent flyers. They can fly straight up 50 feet to the tree to sleep. They can escape from predators by flying at an alarming rate.

Learn more about Baby Turkey A-Z: How to raise, What to feed…

Where do domestic turkeys sleep?

domestic turkeys

Turkeys roost in brooders inside poultry. While sleeping, they tuck the head around the neck to hide it under their feathers.

However, when they are about 8-week old and above, they would like to live outside despite the weather.  Then their owners need to build a roosting area. The ideal range of grass is from 4 to 6 inches.

The necessary components for turkeys’ ideal living area are:

  • Sheltering roof from predators
  • Areas for dust-bathe
  • Roosting trees
  • Easy access to freshwater and range grass
  • Large enough space: approximately 75 feet by 75 feet for about 12 turkeys

You can build either a big and single roost pen for a flock or a set of roosts. Don’t forget to surround the area with a high enough fencing structure and top it with netting to protect the birds and avoid escape.

Read our related article, How Do Chickens Sleep at Night? If you’re interested in learning about how other birds sleep, check out this guide!

Where do young turkeys sleep?

In the first month, when the young are still in brooding, they sleep on the ground under their mother’s wings. They are in need of warmth and comfort from their mother during the day and crave shelter from their mother at night.

young turkeys with thier mother

When they grow up to poults, they are anxious without their mother’s presence. In such cases, a terrified baby turkey will make a “lost call” to signal its mother and the mother bird will quickly return to her little one, comforting it by covering it with her wings.

After a month or so, young turkeys are able to fly and rest on large low branches, where they still hide behind the deeply curved wings of their mom. This proves the strong bond between the mother turkey and her young brood.

About turkey’s sleep ability in trees

Why can turkeys sleep in trees without falling?

They are born with a special quality which allows them to sleep sound in trees safely. When they fly up to a tree and are going to sleep, their toes will take a firm hold around the branch on which they are squatting down. This position is firm enough for them not to fall off the tree or easily be blown away by strong winds.

What kind of trees do turkeys roost?

turkey roosting

Turkeys do not randomly pick a tree to sleep in. Their roosting trees are often found right next to an area where they can land down with ease. The reason why they do not opt for trees in dense forests to avoid trouble flying into other trees is that they are not really elegant, hence they often crash other branches or other objects while flying up and down trees.

Also, the chosen trees should be close to places of fresh pasture and water to easily meet their daily need. The common location is a farm field or more specifically, large trees near clear-cut areas.

However, there are some regions where turkeys have no choice but to sleep in a forest without a clear and flat area to land in as the sun rises. Big wood turkeys are likely to roost in log landings and mature timber stands.

Read More: What is a Good Food Plot for Turkey? Give your farmed turkeys a tasty treat or attract wild turkeys with these best food plots!


Thanks to a characteristic which comes about by evolution, turkeys can fly up to trees to stay away from their dangerous predators and bad weather. We hope that after reading this article you can have an answer to the question of how do turkeys sleep and use the knowledge to your advantage no matter whether you are a turkey hunter or owner.

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