A strange question?

Kris5902

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I live on an island in Canada, where about four or five years ago someone decided to raise/free range some turkeys. We have a large and healthy population of eagles and hawks, and this did not go well... the person abandoned the project, and we have had four hens which survived roaming feral around the middle of the island ever since. We lost one the year before last and one early this spring, then in September the remaining two hens suddenly had three fairly well grown poults. We seem to be down to one hen and one poult now. Strangely there are no toms, no one has seen one since the initial release, and the ladies were constantly hanging out by our small general store.

Could turkeys or chickens, like some reptiles and amphibians, be capable of asexual reproduction under extreme local extinction level pressures? or changing their sex to save their species? How did we get poults without a Tom, this is the first year there have been new turkeys since the initial release!
 

R2elk

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I live on an island in Canada, where about four or five years ago someone decided to raise/free range some turkeys. We have a large and healthy population of eagles and hawks, and this did not go well... the person abandoned the project, and we have had four hens which survived roaming feral around the middle of the island ever since. We lost one the year before last and one early this spring, then in September the remaining two hens suddenly had three fairly well grown poults. We seem to be down to one hen and one poult now. Strangely there are no toms, no one has seen one since the initial release, and the ladies were constantly hanging out by our small general store.

Could turkeys or chickens, like some reptiles and amphibians, be capable of asexual reproduction under extreme local extinction level pressures? or changing their sex to save their species? How did we get poults without a Tom, this is the first year there have been new turkeys since the initial release!
My best guess is that the poults showed up because there is a tom around that you just haven't seen.

Turkeys have been proven to be capable of parthenogenesis but the odds of it happening are less than 2% from a variety that was selectively bred to increase the odds of parthenogenesis. If the poults are due to parthenogenesis, they will be males. If they are not males, they did not result from parthenogenesis.

Poultry hens can develop a male appearance if their functioning ovary is damaged. The remaining ovary will produce testosterone causing the hen to take on a male appearance but it will not cause them to produce sperm which would be necessary if the hen was to become a functioning male rather than just gaining the appearance of a male.
 

WVduckchick

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My best guess is that the poults showed up because there is a tom around that you just haven't seen.

Turkeys have been proven to be capable of parthenogenesis but the odds of it happening are less than 2% from a variety that was selectively bred to increase the odds of parthenogenesis. If the poults are due to parthenogenesis, they will be males. If they are not males, they did not result from parthenogenesis.

Poultry hens can develop a male appearance if their functioning ovary is damaged. The remaining ovary will produce testosterone causing the hen to take on a male appearance but it will not cause them to produce sperm which would be necessary if the hen was to become a functioning male rather than just gaining the appearance of a male.

:goodpost:
 

Cyprus

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Sounds like you have a Tom who's beating the game of life.
As for the other hen and poult, they could just be following the Tom's lead.
 

Kris5902

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He would have to be pretty sneaky, to have been hiding out the last 4 yeasts without being spotted by someone. We have 300 permanent residents, so I can safely say no one else has tried turkeys since. It’s a close community and the livestock and poultry owners are all fairly communicative.
 

Kris5902

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Once I get better established with our chicken business (we have a small sheep/cattle meat farm) I’m considering trying turkeys, and have been threatening to turkeynap the existing birds to give them a safer home since we moved to the farm full time!
 

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