View Full Version : Turkeys- Detrimental to other game?

Wild Bill Bucks
May 10, 2006, 09:50 AM
When I was a small boy, on the farm, it was nothing to see several covey of quail, and other small game like rabbits were abundant.
Most of the farms around our 400 acres looks pretty much like they did 50 years ago as far as habitat.
The only difference being turkeys. Since their introduction to the area, we have lots of them, but I haven't seen a quail,or a rabbit, in years (enough to hunt anyway).
I know that turkeys will eat snakes and mice, but do you suppose they would eat enough quail eggs and young rabbits to destroy the population?
Has anyone else noticed a decrease in other game since turkeys were introduced to their areas?

May 10, 2006, 11:26 AM
They do compete for food with various birds and animals , acorns ,various seeds ,berries etc. To look at an area and say it's the same as it was 50 years ago I don't think is correct . Too many things can change that are not obvious.

May 10, 2006, 12:22 PM
Turkeys eating young rabbits???? Got a picture? Didn't think so.

A look at the breeding habits of small game birds and small game would show that is unlikely. Rabbits breed and raise their young in warrens (burrows), and the young are very active by the time they come out. Quail are ground-nesters and their young are precocial (active immediately after birth).

Of course turkeys compete with other game birds for food and water, but I have never seen them impact other birds to that extent. More likely, the decline in small game is due to a combination of changing farming practices (clean farming, better irrigation practices, lots of spraying to control weeds) and increased feral cat, dog and small predator activity (weasels, skunks, etc).

If you don't believe Fluffy could possibly do such an atrocious thing, think again. The folks at Audubon think house cats are responsible for major declines in ground-nesting birds.

May 10, 2006, 01:44 PM
I think that fire ants are much more detrimental and are going to infest ground nests. I have heard of them killing fawns.

I always thought turkeys like bugs and seeds.

May 10, 2006, 02:04 PM
Like was stated before turkeys mearly compete with quail for the same food. The biggest reason for the decline in small game is farming practices. They simply have no place to go anymore. Also look up and notice just how many more hawks are flying around.

May 10, 2006, 03:36 PM
Turkeys are omnivores, so they WILL eat quail eggs if they can find them. So that may in fact be a big difference in the quail numbers, WBB. But rabbits, I dunno - I don't think there's enough direct competition for food for turkeys to make a difference, as rabbits are herbivores - something else must explain that. I would guess perhaps higher hawk/owl populations (which is due to them being protected of course).

Wild Bill Bucks
May 10, 2006, 07:23 PM
Don't know a whole lot about turkeys, and ,by the response on the thread I started, I am obviously the only guy that didn't get one this year,:o , but I have seen them kill small snakes, and field mice, so I figured they might have an effect on other game.
Everything on the web points to the opposite though. After I think about it, hardly anyone grows Milo or Maze around the farm anymore,and they used to be miles of the stuff along the North Canadian river bottom when I was a kid.
Used to be lots of geese and I haven't seen many of them either since the grain fields have dissappeared.