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Turkey hens fighting. How can I stop them? - Page 2

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

My turkeys quit fighting after a couple of pretty aggressive days after they figured out who was the top bird. However, it cost one of my favorite turkeys her life. The stress and exertion of the fights coupled with her jumping on and off a perch at night (even fairly low perches seem to be a challenge for broad-breasted turkeys in the long run) resulted in sudden leg issues. One morning she just was no longer able to stand on her legs. She still had her appetite and was healthy otherwise, but since she was no longer able to run around with other turkeys we had to butcher her. We discovered that she had some bright green meet on her breast right near the keel bone. After some google searching I've learned yet another reason to never raise broad-breasted turkeys or chickens in the conditions of a normal healthy back yard again, where birds can be active and be what they are supposed to be. It turns out that broad-breasted varieties when they are physically active, can develop blood supply issues to the deepest parts of their breasts, which results in muscle wasting and necrosis in the area. It didn't affect the meat around or its flavor, but just made me think once again about how abusive modern poultry breeding has become, that birds have hard time surviving even for a year in free-range conditions. The remaining three birds are just as sweet as they were before, they haven't even been fighting roosters lately, which used to be their favorite occupation. I am curious to see how long they will survive before they develop leg issues. I can't wait for my new heritage babies though. If everything goes well, next spring I'll be experimenting with my broody turkeys hatching their own babies. As much as I love taking care of baby chicks and poults, I find it a lot less stressful and healthier for the babies when they are raised by their mamas. At least, that was my experience with a broody chicken hen last year who turned out to be an impeccable mama even though it was her first hatch. She managed to hatch 8 chicks out of 9 eggs, and the 9th I think was not fertile, and 7 out of 8 were hens, which was pretty amazing. She is on my avatar. I've read that broody turkeys can be quite a bit clumsier and can destroy eggs or even newly hatched poults. As I've mentioned, there is very little information that I can find online about minor details of raising heritage turkeys in one's back-yard, and even what is there often turns out to be quite contrary to my personal experience, like when I've raised my BBB's.So, I'll be learning from my experience once again and from this forum, that has such a large and knowledgeable community of poultry keepers.

post #12 of 18
I just started raising turkeys myself! I have "white holland" crosses, my estimate is that they are at least 75% full white holland and not the Broad Breasted Whites, their stance is good and their bodies are fair and not so rounded out. Anywho, my toms started fighting I have 2 toms and 1 hen and it got very brutal. I managed to chart when they fought and it was about a month between each "spat." I realized it was my hen going into "heat"? Every month that made the 2 (usually peaceful) brothers have at it. I've learned to manage their behavior by separating and moving them occasionally between penned and outside. But it's been an eye opening experience seeing how different their behavior is from other birds. AND it has been interesting to find mostly info on butchering and raising the birds for meat as opposed to breeding or raising. I've found some resources that have helped though. Turkeys are very beautiful and very rewarding but sometimes this business can be heartbreaking. I'm sorry for your loss. Still learning here too smile.png
post #13 of 18
Turkeys don't "go into heat".
post #14 of 18
Then what's the proper word? It seems to be cyclical I could very well be wrong. I put it in quotes cause I couldn't figure what else to call it. I'm still new to them.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

You are right beesanddeesfarm, that you mostly see info on raising and butchering meat turkeys out there, so for the newbies like us who want to raise turkeys sustainably, so many things are a complete surprise. When I first bought my BBB's I expected that they would be just bigger chickens. In fact, I thought that they would be pretty mean and slaughtering them won't be an issue. I remember that when I was a kid I was intimidated by our neighbor's tom-turkey, and considered turkeys to be some nasty birds. Boy, how mistaken I was lol. Once I got my own turkeys, they stole my heart. I know that butchering them is part of the process, yet it's heartbreaking. I had to butcher a chicken this morning to end her misery, she'd been sick, and none of my medicating helped her. I hated having to do it, yet, I did it calmly without much anguish. Yet, when we butcher turkeys, even though my husband does it, I cry like a little girl. I hope that I will eventually learn to accept it.

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by beesanddeesfarm View Post

Then what's the proper word? It seems to be cyclical I could very well be wrong. I put it in quotes cause I couldn't figure what else to call it. I'm still new to them.
All birds will have a hormonal surge in the spring due to increasing daylight and warmer temperatures. It's not so much a heat as it is a breeding season.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldhenlikesdogs View Post

All birds will have a hormonal surge in the spring due to increasing daylight and warmer temperatures. It's not so much a heat as it is a breeding season.

Yes, spring does make all animals have that change in behavior. I just found it interesting that when I put it on the calendar, it was almost exactly a month apart each time, this started even as early as December. I just love observing them and cataloging all my birds behavior helps me in what to expect. The terminology around turkeys is sometimes lacking so perhaps we can call it something? Turkey time? Lol...jk
post #18 of 18
My toms do seem to fight at least once a month, I just figured it took them that long to forget how much the last time hurt.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
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