Aggressive Blue Slate Tom

ColtHandorf

Crowing
Feb 19, 2019
2,048
2,815
337
Commerce, Texas
I've raised turkeys for a long time previously, but haven't had any for about fifteen years. I worked with Royal Palms, Bourbon Reds, Eastern Wild, and Black Spanish before and have never had an issue with a tom behaving aggressively. Last summer I was "gifted" a Blue Slate poult that ended up being a tom. He was raised with my English Orpingtons and until a couple of months ago was well behaved. He'd begun posturing at me the way an aggressive male might and I just walked "through" him. I didn't go around him or give him space to convey that I wasn't deferring to his dominance displays. That worked for a while and then he got really obnoxious, like running up on me and really being in my space. I'm not scared of him, but I certainly don't enjoy wondering when he's going to actually go after me. I picked up two Blue Slate hens for him a couple of weekends ago after a four hour drive, and while he doesn't pay them any attention, he's also stopped going after me. Until yesterday afternoon that is. I went out to check feed and gather eggs and I could tell at the fence he was in a mood. He wasn't strutting, he was doing the aggressive, head up, short calls, wings bowed out, and tail fanned down. I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of running me off so I went through the gate and headed towards the barn. I could hear him in the mud running up behind me. When I turned, he was already three feet off the ground. I kneed him to the breast to try and keep most of the mud off of me and bore down on him to push him back out into the breeding pen. But he just wouldn't take no for an answer last night. He continuously kept coming back until I picked up an empty milk crate and raised it like I was going to throw it. He backed off then until I could gather the eggs and fill their feeder. But he followed me entirely too closely all the way back out of the gate.

Is there anything I can do to correct this behavior? Is it something I did raising him that's taught him to act like this? I don't think he's taken any interest in the hens either, or at least I haven't seen him covering either of them. I'm guessing he'll figure that out on his own?
 

R2elk

Magical, perfect creature
Premium member
7 Years
Feb 24, 2013
13,130
44,375
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Natrona County, Wyoming
I've raised turkeys for a long time previously, but haven't had any for about fifteen years. I worked with Royal Palms, Bourbon Reds, Eastern Wild, and Black Spanish before and have never had an issue with a tom behaving aggressively. Last summer I was "gifted" a Blue Slate poult that ended up being a tom. He was raised with my English Orpingtons and until a couple of months ago was well behaved. He'd begun posturing at me the way an aggressive male might and I just walked "through" him. I didn't go around him or give him space to convey that I wasn't deferring to his dominance displays. That worked for a while and then he got really obnoxious, like running up on me and really being in my space. I'm not scared of him, but I certainly don't enjoy wondering when he's going to actually go after me. I picked up two Blue Slate hens for him a couple of weekends ago after a four hour drive, and while he doesn't pay them any attention, he's also stopped going after me. Until yesterday afternoon that is. I went out to check feed and gather eggs and I could tell at the fence he was in a mood. He wasn't strutting, he was doing the aggressive, head up, short calls, wings bowed out, and tail fanned down. I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of running me off so I went through the gate and headed towards the barn. I could hear him in the mud running up behind me. When I turned, he was already three feet off the ground. I kneed him to the breast to try and keep most of the mud off of me and bore down on him to push him back out into the breeding pen. But he just wouldn't take no for an answer last night. He continuously kept coming back until I picked up an empty milk crate and raised it like I was going to throw it. He backed off then until I could gather the eggs and fill their feeder. But he followed me entirely too closely all the way back out of the gate.

Is there anything I can do to correct this behavior? Is it something I did raising him that's taught him to act like this? I don't think he's taken any interest in the hens either, or at least I haven't seen him covering either of them. I'm guessing he'll figure that out on his own?
Food effect on aggressive turkeys

You can try catching him. Pick him up and stuff him into your armpit while holding both legs together with that hand. Carry him around for awhile. Anytime he threatens you catch him and repeat it. With my turkeys such an episode will make sure that they don't come within reaching distance of me.

If it is his diet, and the humiliation of being carried around doesn't work, I would not use him as a breeder and I would invite him to be a dinner guest.
 

Molpet

Crossing the Road
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Sep 7, 2015
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New Lenox township. Illinois USA
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I had a couple like that, I was feeding chicken feed. R2ELK gave me that link. I switched to turkey feed. If they ate anything else than turkey feed the dominant one attacked. When the mulberries ripened and he wasn't eating just turkey feed, he attacked. When I invited him to dinner the other started.
I don't have a problem with the ones I have now, different genetics. I fed a multi flock over winter until they started breeding and no issues.
 

ColtHandorf

Crowing
Feb 19, 2019
2,048
2,815
337
Commerce, Texas
Interesting about the food. I've never even thought about that. Currently they are eating Texas Natural Feed Laying pellets:


Capture.PNG


Does this look like a poor food to be feeding them? Looking at the website it doesn't seem that they offer a feed formulated for turkeys. The local feed stores certainly have an All-flock pellet. And one of them may have a gamebird crumble. What feeds would you recommend?
 

Molpet

Crossing the Road
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Sep 7, 2015
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New Lenox township. Illinois USA
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Interesting about the food. I've never even thought about that. Currently they are eating Texas Natural Feed Laying pellets:


View attachment 2061945

Does this look like a poor food to be feeding them? Looking at the website it doesn't seem that they offer a feed formulated for turkeys. The local feed stores certainly have an All-flock pellet. And one of them may have a gamebird crumble. What feeds would you recommend?
Gamebird
 

R2elk

Magical, perfect creature
Premium member
7 Years
Feb 24, 2013
13,130
44,375
1,191
Natrona County, Wyoming
Interesting about the food. I've never even thought about that. Currently they are eating Texas Natural Feed Laying pellets:


View attachment 2061945

Does this look like a poor food to be feeding them? Looking at the website it doesn't seem that they offer a feed formulated for turkeys. The local feed stores certainly have an All-flock pellet. And one of them may have a gamebird crumble. What feeds would you recommend?
Other than the calcium not being ideal for a tom, the protein, lysine and methionine look okay. I can't remember for sure but when I read their information a long time ago, it seemed like it was the salt ratio they may have been the culprit.

I feed my adult turkeys a 20% protein all flock with free choice oyster shell.
 

ColtHandorf

Crowing
Feb 19, 2019
2,048
2,815
337
Commerce, Texas
I'll look at the gamebird feed that is available the next time that I'm out.

Other than the calcium not being ideal for a tom, the protein, lysine and methionine look okay. I can't remember for sure but when I read their information a long time ago, it seemed like it was the salt ratio they may have been the culprit.

I feed my adult turkeys a 20% protein all flock with free choice oyster shell.
They did mention salt,

"If sodium levels are less than 0.15%, I generally recommend that the levels can be increased with either salt or sodium bicarbonate."

My sodium/salt levels seem to be above that threshold.
 

ColtHandorf

Crowing
Feb 19, 2019
2,048
2,815
337
Commerce, Texas
Well there's been no aggression the last two days, just his normal strutting. Idid catch him trying to breed one of the Orpington hens again yesterday. I really think he doesn't know he's a turkey because he's never been around them. I'm sure both of the turkey hens that came home would be more than willing, but he doesn't pay them any attention. Do you think I need to remove all the chickens from the breeding pen so that he doesn't have anything to do but court the turkey hens? I'm pressed for pen space at the moment because I'd counted on the turkeys and one of the Orpington colors sharing a pen. Right after I thought about moving a spare rooster into the pen and transferring the Whites out, the tom walked across the yard to start something with the spare rooster and the gander that are currently in the original pen they all shared. So I'm thinking adding anything into their pen is probably a bad move on my part.
 

R2elk

Magical, perfect creature
Premium member
7 Years
Feb 24, 2013
13,130
44,375
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Natrona County, Wyoming
Well there's been no aggression the last two days, just his normal strutting. Idid catch him trying to breed one of the Orpington hens again yesterday. I really think he doesn't know he's a turkey because he's never been around them. I'm sure both of the turkey hens that came home would be more than willing, but he doesn't pay them any attention. Do you think I need to remove all the chickens from the breeding pen so that he doesn't have anything to do but court the turkey hens? I'm pressed for pen space at the moment because I'd counted on the turkeys and one of the Orpington colors sharing a pen. Right after I thought about moving a spare rooster into the pen and transferring the Whites out, the tom walked across the yard to start something with the spare rooster and the gander that are currently in the original pen they all shared. So I'm thinking adding anything into their pen is probably a bad move on my part.
I would not keep a tom that was raised as the lone turkey with chickens in with chickens. He was imprinted and cannot understand that they aren't turkeys. Only bad things can come from this.
 

Molpet

Crossing the Road
Premium member
Sep 7, 2015
8,382
31,880
922
New Lenox township. Illinois USA
My Coop
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Well there's been no aggression the last two days, just his normal strutting. Idid catch him trying to breed one of the Orpington hens again yesterday. I really think he doesn't know he's a turkey because he's never been around them. I'm sure both of the turkey hens that came home would be more than willing, but he doesn't pay them any attention. Do you think I need to remove all the chickens from the breeding pen so that he doesn't have anything to do but court the turkey hens? I'm pressed for pen space at the moment because I'd counted on the turkeys and one of the Orpington colors sharing a pen. Right after I thought about moving a spare rooster into the pen and transferring the Whites out, the tom walked across the yard to start something with the spare rooster and the gander that are currently in the original pen they all shared. So I'm thinking adding anything into their pen is probably a bad move on my part.
I have had squashed chicken hens and roosters killed. If they are valuable birds I wouldn't keep them together... although turkeys tend to go where they want if the pen doesn't have a top
 
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