Housing Turkeys in a Backyard Pen or Turkey Coop

Housing turkeys is, in many ways, similar to other ways of containing fowls like chickens and ducks. They differ though in some aspects. Like any other bird, turkeys are very sensitive to the quality of the air that they breathe. Simple impurities like dust could cause them harm and permanent damage. This has something to do with the unique structures of their respiratory systems.

It is therefore very important when you build houses for turkeys that you take into consideration the ventilation of the coops. Make sure that there is enough oxygen supply and that it is protected from harmful gases like carbon dioxide and ammonia. Keep them free of dust as well. You must also be able to control the temperature and moisture accumulation within the pens.

You can choose from two options when it comes to effectively ventilating the turkey houses. You can either employ natural ventilation or power ventilation. Natural ventilation as the name implies utilizes natural wind conditions and doors and vents built as part of the turkey house structure. Housing turkeys in naturally-ventilated pens of course comes with a few drawbacks. It is very difficult to control the temperature and airflow within the pens because they mainly depend on outside conditions. Changing wind directions and outside air temperatures make matters even worse. It is not uncommon for turkeys to suffer from too much heat and from too much cold.

Power ventilation on the other hand makes use of electricity and fans to circulate airflow and temperature within the turkey pens. Housing turkeys in power-ventilated pens is understandably a much better option than naturally-ventilated ones but they are much more expensive. Air exchange and movement is controlled by adjusting the fans when necessary.

Before building turkey pens, you have to consider some factors like location. For instance, housing turkeys beside chickens is never a good idea. One reason for this is the risk of spreading diseases from chickens to turkeys or vice versa. So build turkey pens at a considerable distance -- away from chicken coops. Also, make sure that the pens have enough space for feed and water containers.