How and Where Do Turkeys Sleep?

turkey on isolated background

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley

Published: March 3, 2022

Share on:


Turkeys are native to North America, Mexico, and parts of Asia. They love forests with agricultural-rich environments. Turkeys are diurnal and arboreal birds who spend their day searching for insects and other food sources. As a wild turkey hunter or an enthusiast who would love to own a domesticated turkey, you might be wondering how and where turkeys sleep.

In this article, we will be going in-depth about turkeys’ sleeping patterns and where they can be found.

Where Do Turkeys Sleep?

Types of Big Birds

Wild turkeys sleep in trees, while domesticated turkeys sleep in brooders.

Turkeys in the wild sleep in trees at night, while domesticated ones sleep in brooders. Turkeys sleep by tucking their head around their neck and hiding it under their feathers. This mode of sleeping often makes people wonder if they are dead. 

Wild turkeys have poor night vision, so they prefer to sleep/nest in trees where they will be safe from predators. These birds are pretty lazy and dumb, and they won’t move from their nest unless they have to.

Wild turkeys don’t stay in the same tree nest for long. Depending on the weather condition and availability of leaves on the tree, they change their nest to larger trees with more leaves to block out strong winds and keep them safe from cold breezes.

The only time wild turkeys don’t sleep in trees is when they have eggs to brood. A nesting female will stay on the ground until all her eggs are hatched. After that, she stays for a little more time to allow the hatchlings to grow up enough to fly independently and sleep in trees with her.

Poults of about 14-30 days old can fly up to trees and sleep, but they usually don’t stay long in the trees. Even though they are old enough to sleep in trees, they love sleeping under the feather of their mother to keep them warm and safe from predators.

Because domesticated turkeys are larger than wild turkeys, they can’t fly as well as wild turkeys. So, unlike their wild cousins who fly up to sleep in trees, they have to sleep in enclosed pens prepared by their owners. Domesticated turkeys have been known to occasionally fly out of their pens to rest on surrounding trees on the farm, but they always return to the poultry pen at night.

Where Do Turkeys Sleep During the Winter?

Wild turkeys love to sleep in trees during winter. Most times, they stay in areas where food is easily accessible. During the day, they hunt for food and rest up in the trees at night.

Domesticated turkeys sleep in brooders in enclosed pens. They love sleeping in groups during winter for warmth and safety.

Where Do Baby Turkeys Sleep?

Baby turkeys under adult turkey

Poults sleep in nests with their mothers on the ground.

Baby turkeys depend on their mother upon hatching, so they usually stay with her for a few weeks after birth. They sleep in nests with their mothers on the ground. They are often tucked under the feathers of their mothers because they need the heat to stay alive and for their feathers to grow.

The main reason newly hatched poults don’t sleep in trees is because they can’t fly at such a young age, so they have to sleep on the ground until they are old enough to fly.

How Much Do Turkeys Sleep in a Day?

turkeys roaming in the wild

Turkeys don’t have a specific number of hours they sleep for in a day. The number varies depending on the weather, time of year, and the turkey’s habitat. Naturally, they will need a good amount of sleep to replenish the energy expended from flying around during the day.

What Type of Trees Do Turkeys Sleep in?

Turkeys are very picky about the type of tree they sleep in and the tree’s location. Because of their large size, they are not particularly great at flying, so they tend to avoid wooded areas for sleeping.

They love sleeping in trees that are isolated, in open areas, and near land, so they can find safety easily. Wild turkeys prefer trees with adequate coverage to protect them from predators and extreme weather conditions.

The favorite tree for wild turkeys is the pine tree. It is available all year, and it offers ample coverage. Pine tree leaves provide a cushion on the forest floor, allowing turkeys to jump down safely without getting hurt.

How Do Wild Turkeys Sleep in Trees?

Wild turkeys have to sleep high up in a safe and steady tree to keep themselves safe from predators. These amazing animals have unique features that allow them to sleep soundly and safely on trees. To avoid falling from trees while sleeping, wild turkeys use their toes to firmly grip the tree’s branches while they squat down on the tree. This unique trait allows them to sleep comfortably without worrying about falling off or being blown off the tree by strong winds.

Share this post on:

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.