Can Turkeys Fly?

A short answer is yes; turkeys can fly at an average speed of 25-30 miles per hour. They can go up to 50 feet from the ground and cover a maximum distance of 92 meters.

When flying, turkeys can only go up to 100 yards from their take-off point. Additionally, they only do so if they are spooked. In most cases, turkeys do a speed of 50-55 miles per hour when flying and can go as high as 30 meters from the ground.  

When we started keeping turkeys, we thought they could fly away when fully grown. With time, we realized that turkeys do not enjoy flying even though they have wings. They only do so when it is necessary. Below, we have shared our experience with flying turkeys, how they do it, and how to stop them.

When turkeys fly and how to stop them

In most cases, turkeys use their flight ability to protect themselves or when running away from danger. They do this when a predator goes after them, and they must escape. They can also become aggressive and fly towards something that threatens them.

A turkey’s wings are designed naturally for short flights. Therefore,  they are classified as flightless birds. Their wings are cambered, meaning that the edges of their wings tend to curve from the beginning toward their trailing feathers (capped).  As such, they can only take short flights with quick take-offs when necessary.

How to stop a turkey from flying

Aggressive turkeys may attack other animals or people around them. Sometimes, this can be dangerous because they may leave their victims with severe scratches. Depending on the fence’s height, they may also fly away from the farm or where they are kept. Therefore, there is a need to tame and stop them from flying in such a case.

Capping one of its wings is the best way to stop a turkey from flying. Here is how it works:

  • Clipping paralyzes its flight ability by creating instability. This means that it cannot balance when it spreads its wings.
  • You keep a turkey from flying away by cutting off 4-5 inches of feather from one of its wings. This is done across the shaft.

Here is an image showing how to clip a turkey’s wing.

Here's How to Stop Turkeys from Flying
Here’s How to Stop Turkeys from Flying
Distance0-100 Yards
Speed25 – 30 Miles per hour.
Height above the ground15 Meters / 50 Feet.
ReasonWhen attacking, scared, or spooked.

How turkeys fly

Turkeys begin flying by taking off from the ground with the help of their powerful legs. They have to run fast and gain momentum before they spread their wings to fly, just like an airplane does. Before takeoff, it tends to squat slightly so its legs can get enough power to spring it from the ground.

Once the turkey takes off from the ground, its wings are spread and powerfully flapped, thanks to its powerful breast muscles. However, the turkey is quite a heaver for its muscles to sustain the weight for a long time. Therefore, depending on its health, it will only cover a maximum of 92 meters or less. In most cases, they only cover about half a mile before rest.


Turkeys can fly but only for a very short distance and time. On average, most turkeys can only cover half a mile before they land. Even after clipping a turkey’s wing, it can still charge forward and glide. However, it cannot manage even half a meter above the ground.

Frequently asked questions

1. Is it safe to clip a turkey’s wings?

Clipping a turkey’s wings is safe and will not affect its health.

2. If you clip a turkey’s wings, will they grow back?

The feathers cut when clipping a turkey’s wings will naturally grow back, and there is nothing to worry about.

3. Can I clip a turkey when it is molting?

When molting, the turkeys cannot fly properly since they are already losing feathers. There is no need to clip as long as the feathers are lost on its wings.