Aggressive turkey

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by LuvMyDucks777, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. LuvMyDucks777

    LuvMyDucks777 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 3, 2016
    Hi all,
    I'm new to raising poultry and have been using this site to get helpful info over the last several months. Today I created an ID to post to this form because I need help. When searching the interet for "aggressive turkey" I'm getting news articles on the country!

    We got our very first turkey last September, a 4 month old chocolate heritage tom. He joined the flock of 5 golden comets and 3 pekin ducks. Everything was wonderful for the first 2 months. Tom was like a pet. He joined us for evening walks, he hung out with us by the grill and joined us in badminton. This all changed around thanksgiving when he showed assertiveness towards the 7 and 12 year old. Within a couple weeks the kids are not allowed anywhere near him and he then became aggressive towards me. Holding a stick works wonders but he is smart. The moment I put the stick down he charges. My husband seemed to be his last human friend until a few days back. Now, he will charge him even with a stick in his hand!

    A bit about how he is raised: up until a couple weeks back he lived in the coop with the chickens and ducks. We finally separated him into a large living area because his degrading behavior made it difficult for me to navigate the coop. The only thing separating him from the others is chicken wire. He loves the chickens and is quite protective of them so during the day, they all hang out together to freerange.

    The chickens and ducks are on an organic diet. Tom was too until yesterday when I found an article that suggests aggression can be linked to diet. We switched him to a natural food that has the sodium, niacin and B12 levels that the article recommends. It has only been 1 day so too soon to tell. What we have noticed though is that since he has been separated he doesn't seem to be eating or drinking much. I can't tell if this is a new or existing issue since they previously shared everyone's feed bowls and Tom has never eaten when I'm in watching distance.

    At this point I do not know if this is normal or perhaps he is sick or desperately needs female companionship. I would appreciate any advice from the Turkey Experts!

    Thank you.
     
  2. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    It is my belief that the tom has imprinted on people and therefore does not know the difference between people and turkeys. As he has matured he is now trying to assert his dominance which is causing his aggressive behavior. You can assert your dominance over him by capturing him and holding him and not allowing him to be able to move. Without any female turkeys he will eventually try breeding your other poultry which may end very badly. Just getting him hen turkeys for companionship will not cure his aggressiveness.

    I never allow my turkeys to imprint on people and don't have any issues with turkeys turning aggressive toward people. My recommendation is that your tom is an ideal candidate for "freezer camp" which will cure his aggressiveness forever.
     
  3. LuvMyDucks777

    LuvMyDucks777 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you, R2elk. This is good information and food for thought. I don't want him harming the other little guys. I understand 9 months is the best age for Heritages to attend "freezer camp". This gives him a full month more to plan my demise, which I have no doubt he has already spent considerable time doing.
     
  4. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No one goes to freezer camp at my house. I'd rehome him. My own tom is in love with me and wants to attack any other male, including my husband. I trust him completely. However, I may need to go away for an extended period of time and I am thinking of giving him to another woman who he will hopefully fall in love with. We'll see.
     
  5. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    Your tom exhibits the kind of behavior that he does because you imprinted him on yourself. Because of that he does not knot the difference between turkeys and people. I do not allow my turkeys to become imprinted on people and never have any problems with turkeys being aggressive toward people.

    While I understand your attitude against freezer camp, I do not believe in passing trouble animals onto other people. I never rehome problem animals.
     
  6. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    R2elk
    I totally agree with you about not passing on problem animals. That is not my plan. Because my tom likes women I think he will be unhappy without me so I am considering giving him to a single female if the environment meets my standards. This is to ensure his happiness not mine. He can stay here until he dies. I bought him from a woman who hand raised him. He was an adult when I got him and now I see he was able to shift his attention from one woman to another. I am hoping he can do that again. If he can't or the other person doesn't want him he will stay here and miss me--if I do end up leaving for a period of time. Call me nuts but when I take on the responsibility of an animal I try to do what is best for them. Now excess roosters are a different matter. I didn't ask for them and they need to move on.
    Oh yeah, one more thing. A "friend" gave me her problem rooster and after a lot of flogging from a silly Sultan roo, we have sorted things out and he is fine--most of the time. I have been successful with the cuddling the aggressive rooster approach until he is totally humiliated and stops attacking humans.
    I appreciate your input and wondered if you could answer a turkey question for me. Not sure if this is the right place to do it but will rather than PM you. The turkey hen has only one chick (5 weeks old). She is an excellent mother but doesn't seem to be allowing the chick to nestle under her right away at bedtime. He peeps and peeps and tries to get under her wing. Temps are about 27 degrees some nights. Could there be a reason for this? Maybe she is trying to harden him to the cold. I'd be surprised if she was rejecting him. thanks alot
     
  7. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    I have not seen that type of behavior with any of my turkeys. What I have seen is that when the poults want under the hen they just stick their heads under and burrow their way on in. At 5 weeks old the poult should be feathered well enough to handle cold on its own and at that age the hen certainly could be starting to reject it.

    I did have a hen who was still cuddling a poult that was over 2 months old this year while all the rest of the poults were already roosting on their own.

    Sorry I couldn't help more.
     
  8. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No. That was helpful. I really needed to know if the poult was feathered enough to manage. It did try to burrow in and the hen wouldn't have it. Later in the evening I went and checked on it and it appeared to be under mom. I wasn't sure if it would be okay just nestling beside her.
    I will stop worrying so much now.
     
  9. LuvMyDucks777

    LuvMyDucks777 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all, I wanted to give an update. It's been nearly a week since I changed the food and today was a notable change. I will combine to monitor.

    As for freezer camp, our intention when we got him was for Thanksgiving. After we brought him home we learned he was still too young. Frankly, I don't know if I can go through with it. Ideally I would like to become self-sustaining to some extent. But this is all a different story...
    ,
    For anytime who is interested, here I'd the link to PDF with recommended diet. http://www.hybridturkeys.com/en/Hyb...t/Aggressive Behaviour in Turkeys - web1.ashx
     
  10. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a little too complex for me. Interesting though..... I bought a pair of turkeys who are extremely successful breeders. I could never eat them--unless starving. They are real personalities and we enjoy them. The offspring are a different matter. I can't support 20 turkeys so I rehome them. I try to find people who at least pretend they won't eat them. In one case where they are honest with me I tell them not to let me know.
    Good luck and keep us posted.
     

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