Do Turkeys Eat Worms & Meal Worms? (Domestic and Wild)

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Turkeys have large appetites. They need a lot of food, from big-bodied adults to broods of rapidly developing turkey poults (baby turkeys).

But do turkeys eat worms? We did hours of research to bring you the answer in this post!

Their diet varies with the season and location. 

Consider them as avian food enthusiasts, with a hundred different dietary options on the menu – some of which you wouldn’t expect. 

If you might be wondering if these big-bodied game birds eat worms, the answer is yes, Turkeys eat worms. Worms are an excellent source of protein and other nutrients that help turkeys grow and stay healthy. 

A single worm can provide a turkey with a decent amount of protein, essential amino acids, minerals, and vitamins.

Do Turkeys Eat Earthworms and Bugs?

Yes, wild turkeys eat earthworms and bugs, and just about any insects they can find including:

  • Earthworms
  • Slugs
  • and snails

They also eat a variety of bugs, such as:

  • Beetles
  • Grasshoppers
  • Crickets

Insects make up a big part of their diet because they are rich in protein and other nutrients.

Turkeys will even eat poisonous snakes and frogs if they are hungry enough!

In addition to worms and insects, turkeys also eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. (more in this later in the article – you’re here about worms!)

Do Wild Turkeys Eat Worms?

Yes, wild Turkeys do eat worms.

The wild turkey will eat whatever it can find, depending on its habitat.

Their feed could be anything from worms within the leaf litter on the ground, to plants, bugs and other insects.

While the wild turkey will eat similarly to domestic turkeys, their food sources will be different since their goal is survival.

Whereas domestic turkeys will have their feed (including commercial feeds) given to them by bird feeders and farm owners, such as chicken feed, grains, wheat and leftover scraps from fruit and veg.

Can Turkeys Eat Meal Worms?

Mealworms are the larvae of a type of beetle.

They are often used as food for reptiles, fish, birds, and other animals.

Turkeys will eat mealworms if they can find them.

While mealworms are not the most common food that turkeys eat, they will consume them if they can find them.

These larvae provide a good source of protein for the turkey and can be easy to find in some environments.

How Many Worms Can a Turkey Eat in A Day?

While adult turkeys will typically eat just about anything they can find – including carrion (dead animals) – young poults have more delicate stomachs.

For this reason, it’s important to introduce them slowly to different types of food. This includes small amounts of worms as part of a well-balanced diet.

While there are no set amount of worms that a turkey should eat in a day, a good rule of thumb is to offer 1-2 worms per pound of body weight.

So, if you have a 10-pound turkey, it should get 10-20 worms per day.

This can be increased to 3-4 worms per pound of body weight for larger turkeys (20+ pounds).

Offering too many worms at once can cause health problems for turkeys, so it’s important to start slowly and increase the amount gradually.

Is a Diet of Only Worms Enough for Turkeys?

A diet of only worms would not be enough to sustain a turkey.

Turkeys are omnivores, which means that turkeys love to eat both plants and small animals.

While worms do provide a good source of protein, they do not contain all of the nutrients that young and adult turkeys need.

A turkey would need to supplement its diet with other foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to make sure that it was getting everything it needed.

Other than worms, wild turkeys’ diet will be determined by the time of the year.

Here is what they will eat during different seasons:

Early Spring:

  • black oak
  • chestnut oak
  • white pine
  • red maple
  • beech nut buds of maples and oaks

During the early spring, a wild turkey’s food source is usually large quantities of oak trees and all these kinds of foods because they are high in carbohydrates and help the birds put on weight after a long winter.

Late Spring:

Insects (caterpillars, grubs, beetles, grasshoppers, ants, crickets)

Fruits (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries)

Nuts (acorns, beechnuts)

As the weather gets warmer and natural foods become more plentiful, a wild turkey’s diet usually consists of insects and fruits.

Nuts and insects are high in protein and the berry-producing plants are high in nutrients. These food sources are important for the birds as they prepare to mate and lay eggs.

Male turkeys, or toms, require more protein than females because they need to generate sperm.

A female turkey, or hen, needs more calcium to produce strong shells for her eggs.


  • ivy berries
  • cherries
  • mulberries
  • serviceberry
  • hackberry
  • wild grapes
  • plums

Fruits are helpful for a turkey’s diet during the summer months which keeps the birds stay hydrated.


  • acorns
  • beech nuts
  • chestnuts
  • hickory nuts
  • oak buds
  • maple seeds

As winter approaches, turkeys will begin to eat seeds, acorns, and other nuts. These foods are high in fat and help the birds put on weight to get through the cold months.


  • deciduous tree buds
  • coniferous tree buds
  • poison ivy
  • sassafras
  • dogwood
  • ferns

Turkeys will eat just about anything they can find during the winter when food is scarce. You’ll notice they even consume poison ivy berries.

They will often look for insects beneath the snow cover, as well as any plant matter or buds on trees and shrubs.

These foods help the birds stay warm and provide them with the energy they need to survive the cold weather.

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Is It Safe for Turkeys to Eat Worms?

Yes, it is generally safe for turkeys to eat worms, with a caveat.

These creatures provide a good source of protein and are not harmful to the turkey.

Turkeys have been known to eat small reptiles and amphibians when necessary, so a worm is no problem for them.

There’s a little probability that worms may contain parasites that can harm your turkey after it consumes them.

For instance, stomach worms are common in poultry and can cause health problems.

However, if you’re buying your worms from a reputable source, they should be free of parasites.

You may feed raw worms and other invertebrates to turkeys, but they must be small enough for the bird to eat without choking.

If you have larger worms, you may need to cut them into pieces before feeding them to your turkey.

Do Baby Turkeys Eat Worms?

Yes, baby turkeys will eat worms if they are available.

These creatures provide a good source of protein for young birds and are not harmful to them.

Baby turkeys have been known to eat small reptiles and amphibians when necessary, so a worm is no problem for them.

For baby worms, you should be cutting a large worm into pieces.

What Do Turkeys Eat Other than Worms?

We’ve already touched on this earlier but worms eat a variety of bugs, insects, fruits, vegetables and even smaller animals!

Some of the fruits they eat include:

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries

As for vegetables, turkeys enjoy eating:

  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Squash
  • Potatoes

A turkey’s diet also consists of seeds, nuts, and acorns.

In the wild, as turkeys are omnivores, they will eat just about anything they can find.

However, domestic turkeys, eat mostly corn and soybeans.

While commercially raised turkeys may not have as varied of a diet as their wild counterparts, they are still fed a nutritious diet to help them grow big and strong.


Turkey meat is commonly served on the dinner table during Thanksgiving. These birds are interesting creatures that have a diverse diet.

Turkeys will eat just about anything, including worms.

While feeding your turkey worms is not harmful to the bird, it is important to source them from a reputable supplier to ensure they are free of parasites.

Young turkeys love to eat worms, but it is not necessary to make this a part of their regular diet.

A turkey’s diet changes with the seasons to ensure healthy growth and survival. And their nutrition requirements change as they grow.

In the spring and summer, they eat a lot of insects, fruits, and nuts. In the fall and winter, they eat more acorns and other nuts.

Letting them free range and forage frequently for their own food is the best way to ensure they get the nutrition they need.