Are heritage breed turkeys mean?

Yessur Ebob

9 Years
Apr 23, 2010
We had some narragansett turkeys awhile back that were extremely mean. The tom would attack us every time we went into their fence. The hens were even mean, they would attack each other, and they even ripped out their own feathers if they thought it was someone else they were biting.

So i was just wondering if this is normal for heritage turkeys or if there are any breeds that aren't mean like that.

I don't think that's the norm.

I have had, broad breasted turkeys (still have one) and Royal Palms, they're as nice as can be. Two of the Royals are skiddish, but one hen is friendly and my bbw, always comes to greet me and lets me pet her.
I've only had experience with two toms and a hen.. both Royal Palms. The toms are both friendly and follow you around. The hen I got at a year old and the owner told me she purposely does not pet or otherwise mess with her hens...the hen would rather I didn't try to pick her up or pet her, but she is not mean at all. The times I have picked her up, she did not peck or attempt to hurt me. I think if you love on them, hold them and pet them from early on, you end up with a nice friendly turkey. If you get them young they imprint on poult Freebie, peeps for me all the time, follows me around and likes to be on my shoulder.
I recently got a breeding trio of Narragansetts and they are not at all like your experience.

Now, they're not cuddly. This is fine by me since neither I, nor the woman that had them before me, really wants cuddly birds. But they don't attack. Heck I've got one of the hens setting a nest about 4 feet from the back door and though she and the tom aren't happy when i get too close, they don't attack me. The tom follows me around the yard while I'm doing chores and pips at me.

Course mine are total free range so maybe their area is just too big for them to be overly territorial (as well as filled with geese and ducks and stuff).
I had Narrigansetts in the past. The hens weren't mean at all and I really loved the tom. But when he was about 5 years old he started acting aggressive towards me. I think it started when I used the blue water can to take their water in. Some toms act out when they see blue, possibly because their face turns blue when they are displaying? Since then, I also make a point to watch what colors I am wearing when I am around the turkeys.
I've had narragansets and they were very nice. Fighting can be from a shortage of space (too crowded) a shortage of resources (not enough space at the feeder or waterer) or a bad tom/hen ratio. THe last one I dont know what to do about since I don't know a good number.

But my personal rule (and your set up may be totally different.) is that a mean animal goes in the pot. No exceptions. That is not a personality you want to breed!!!
When I was a child my uncles had two Naraganset toms, and they were mean as sin (to me, being 3 foot nothing at the time). Now as an Adult I have Royal Palms, the hens are skittish, but my Tom likes to follow the humans around to see if we give him any treats lol.

I would say, no..thats not the norm. And I agree with some of the other posts, it sounds to me like maybe the hens are over crowded and are competeing for the Tom,, and other resources (space, not enough food, or not enough personal space at the feeder). As for the Grumpy tom. It could definately be due to lack of space--or a down right rotten temperment.
I use an 8x8 for my Trio (of course Royal Palms are a smaller breed than the others..). But if you had a Trio yourself and the pen was at least the size of mine or larger and your Tom was still a Butt-- I would have put him in the soup pot. There are better Toms out there, and getting hurt by one bad turkey isn't worth any amount of $$.
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We kept them in a large fence, probably about a half acre total and they had plenty of food and water space.
maybe it was just a odd bunch of turkeys?
thanks for all your replies. :)
Yeah, sounds like they were just some bad apples. Hopefully next time you will have more normal turkeys who follow you around, steal shiny things, and talk to you all day.
We have a half wild turkey half Black Spanisg turkey Gobbler and is so nice our 9 yr old girl go out and set on a old stump and the gobbler will dance to her and jump in her lap and set down so she can ruffel his feathers I need to get a picture or vidio of it

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