At what age do Tom turkeys become aggressive?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by AraucanaAnne, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. AraucanaAnne

    AraucanaAnne Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 24, 2013
    So I've browsed through a lot of posts on how aggressive Tom turkeys can be, but I was wondering, at what age do they typically start to display aggressive behavior towards people?

    I guess what I really want to know is "Am I Safe?" LOL. My heritage bronze tom is about 1 year old. We are in the thick of breeding season here (already have one hen who has gone broody on a clutch of eggs) and so far he's been fine. He displays around me a lot but otherwise seems very calm and has never tried to hurt me. I spend a lot of time in the pen and feel really comfortable around him, but perhaps I shouldn't get too comfortable? Getting attacked by a bird that size would really suck.

    Another question, does aggression in Toms vary by breed? Are some breeds better or worse than others?

  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  3. sonjap

    sonjap Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 16, 2012
    Parker, CO
    Wow, what an awesome explanation! This should be put in as an article on this web site!
  4. transitbird

    transitbird Out Of The Brooder

    May 12, 2014
    Belmont NY
    I just found this thread and I'm so glad I did. I want to start raising some turkeys to keep on the farm. Hoping to raise enough to eat but keep a tom and a couple hens for next years table. Your advice was great and gave me something to think about. Thank you for sharing.
  5. FiveTurkeysFarm

    FiveTurkeysFarm New Egg

    Mar 31, 2015
    I have been raising turkeys for several years and have rarely had any aggression problems toward me. I have 2 toms that are aggressive toward my son and girlfriend. I have had them since they were day olds and spent a lot of time with them, where as the others haven't. They definitely give warning before attacking. My son carries a net with him and hasn't had many problems since he started carrying it. I haven't run into an aggressive hen yet. I wouldn't let a tom's possible problems deter you from keeping turkeys. I enjoy mine more than the rest of the animals we keep, including the dog.
  6. Fern Valley 4H

    Fern Valley 4H Out Of The Brooder

    I have found that if you raise them from a young age they rarely become aggressive towards you, I even had a pet bourbon red tom that would follow me around my yard and garden with me :)
  7. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2013
    You're welcome. :)

    I've experimented with different methods of raising, interacting with and training turkeys, and experimented with having turkeys raised by their mothers and raised without mothers, some raised by chickens, some I made pets of, others I raised as livestock, and ones I bought in as adults, from a lot of different lines, and the only thing that made them safe was the selection for non-aggression in previous generations. It didn't matter how I raised the offspring and grand-offspring of birds bred along aggressive lines.

    I used to think that in terms of behavior, environment and rearing methods must count for a lot more than inherited behavioral patterns (other than the most basic of instincts), but everything I've experienced since has shown me it doesn't matter anywhere near as much as genetic/heritable influences.

    Doesn't mean all turkeys from non-aggressive parents will be 100% guaranteed to be non-aggressive, or all offspring from aggressive turkeys will be 100% guaranteed to be aggressive, just that the odds are strongly preferential to taking after the parents.

    As with chooks and pretty much all livestock, they can be great pets too, when you get good ones they're just lovely.

    Best wishes.

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