Pen-raised turkeys should be confined

US - Landowners interested in attracting wild turkeys are encouraged to seek information about habitat improvement projects rather than introducing pen-raised or game farm turkeys on their property, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Wild turkeys found throughout much of southern and central Minnesota were trapped from healthy wild populations in the southeast and released by DNR personnel at carefully chosen sites. Growing wild turkey populations are found as far north as Pine, Atikin, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Crow Wing, Wadena, Becker, Norman and Mahnomen counties.

"Only DNR personnel are authorized to release wild turkeys," said Bill Penning, DNR farmland wildlife program leader. "The best way for landowners to attract turkeys to their property is to provide the right habitat conditions. Local DNR wildlife staff will be happy to provide information for any landowner interested in habitat projects."

Pen-raised turkeys, which include any turkey that can be purchased from a game farm, farm supply store or catalog, could threaten Minnesota's wild turkey population through loss of reproductive capacity, and the transmission of disease and inferior genetics.

Generally, Penning said, pen-raised turkeys lack wild behavior, tolerate humans in close proximity, and will seek handouts in barnyards and at bird feeders. Pen-raised turkeys tend to roost near, on or inside buildings and often have become a nuisance.

calendar icon 2 May 2005
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