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attitude

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by tj southworth, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. tj southworth

    tj southworth New Egg

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    Jul 25, 2014
    I have a 17 month old bourban red tom and four 5 month old toms and a 5 month old hen. The older tom is starting to get real aggresive. Anybody else have that problem and if so how do stop it? If thats the way turkeys are then im getting rid of all of mine
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    It's common for older toms to turn nasty; it's not the way all turkeys are, but rather something I think may be based on the breeding practices we establish such breeds under. Many people, the majority I know, cull all males before 12 months of age as they get too heavy to breed naturally; therefore their breeding influence is very slight compared to AI bred toms.

    Those bred through AI though will continue receiving matings (involving humans rather than turkey hens) for years to come, and the majority of commercial breeds of turkeys you can buy are descended from many hundreds of generations of such unnatural breeding processes.

    Instinct is passed on to offspring even if it's incorrect or confused instinct. Sexual instinct is rapidly and easily confused by humans meddling in things they don't really need to; that said you can't breed some types of turkeys naturally, specifically broad-breasted types generally, so AI is necessary, but for obvious reasons I don't believe in keeping such breeds. Too many animals routinely bred via AI in my opinion, they become sexually attracted to humans and pass on this mate mis-identification to their offspring.

    After all, instinct for mating is a strong drive and highly rewarded as it's necessary to preserve the species, if they achieve what they perceive as a successful mating with a human hand, they're going to 'log that experience away' for the reference of future generations: this is how we continue the species.

    If they need a human involved in mating to pass on their genes, let them die out, in my opinion. A bit more breast muscle or a few more 'straws' sold isn't worth meddling in instincts better left intact. Once they view humans as mates, both males and females are far more likely to become dangerously aggressive to humans, since for all they know we're the same type and we interbreed. Conflicting messages, giving them sexual interactions.

    Best wishes.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    All that said... Those are problems I believe are behind many behavioral faults exhibited in common throughout all domestic species bred artificially using obvious human intervention.

    But I half suspect older tom turkeys are perhaps hormonally imbalanced; it would be interesting to know if the same accelerated aggression is common in wild-cross or wild turkeys. In America they used to commonly cross domestics and wild ones to gain greater hardiness; I wonder if the same behavioral pattern existed there. I rather doubt it, as it's not a common pattern to any species I know of, this arbitrary escalation of universal aggression beyond a certain age; it's shown in many of my turkey toms after a certain age though, and it's also common in roosters as well.

    Best wishes.
     
  4. Book Em Danno25

    Book Em Danno25 Overrun With Chickens

    my hen has the same problem.
     
  5. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Tell me about it, mine went off her rocker after a few years of life and it was a good thing when the fox got her, lol!

    She started fine, as the others did, but slowly and surely escalated into universal aggression over about four years of life. Eventually she progressed from being a good mother to killing her own babies, from not harming other turkeys to displaying shocking force (sufficient to smash a large stainless steel pot halfway flat) in her efforts to smash another turkey hen (who later died from her injuries), from being safe around humans of all ages to launching herself at my face regularly... So enraged over everything.

    I've had similar problems with toms who were fine until one day when the hen sat down in invitation to mate, instead of mating normally like they always had, they began ripping and tearing at the hens' necks and faces in rage, trying to kill the hens, sometimes while also trying to mate with them; from being safe and careful with their babies to killing them and carrying them around in their mouths as they squatted and shuffled around attempting to ejaculate into the corpses; from being safe with humans of all ages to becoming two-faced and sprinting for your back as soon as they saw it, only to spin away as soon as you turn back, like they were doing nothing. On/off switch or trigger for extreme aggression...

    Not all turkeys are like this. But plenty are. I want to work on them, personally, get them back to being socially stable and balanced individuals. I've found it's more than doable with chooks and other animals, why not turkeys as well? For this, culling of the psychotic ones is necessary. Unfortunately in a series of random events I've lost all my remaining turkeys... Right now all I have is a tom I was given, who seems alright, not a great physical type but not terrible... And (most importantly) he's well past the age most other toms turned, yet remains nonviolent. So perhaps he's the right one to begin building a better line of turkeys with.

    It's like some kind of psychosis in them; I really do think most commercial type turkeys have some deficiency in a hormone that is involved in keeping them mentally calm; perhaps low tryptophan levels, which I think is quite likely because turkeys used to be used for tryptophan as their flesh used to be known to be high in it, and those highest in it are peaceful, almost dozy, whereas the others are anxious and aggressive and unable to settle down. Recent testing on commercial turkeys finds they're lower tryptophan than pork, apparently. Hmmm. ;) Maybe a coincidence, maybe not. I'm betting not.

    Best wishes.
     

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