Baby turkey strut...

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Catfishingpokey, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. Catfishingpokey

    Catfishingpokey Songster

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    The baby tom turkey that we had was exhibiting some very "male" characteristics from very early on. We had a Rio Grande and a Naragansette. By the time the Rio Grande was a week old, he (we assume) was strutting in response to "turkey talk." Just saying "turk turk turk turk" would make him posture like a spring tom. He was fanning his tail feathers before they had even come in. The Narrangansett was older, and although it would cluck and chirp and talk, it never did the posturing.

    Is posturing this early on a pretty good sign you've got a tom? I don't think all toms of any of the breeds do this, but are some breeds more likely to?

    Have had really, REALLY bad luck with our turkeys, despite our best efforts. Have had what we thought to be secure brooders INSIDE THE HOUSE, and have lost our babies twice now in different situations. Now, if I were reading that someone had twice lost babies in brooders, I would think that the idiots weren't being too careful. It's been fluke circumstances every time, starting to think that we weren't meant to have turkeys. Most recently we lost our 2 beautiful babies, one Narragansett and one Rio Grande, when a storm blew a door open and 2 of our resident canines got into the house and shredded the brooder. Sigh....still breaks my heart to even think about it. They clucked and purred and talked and chirped and ate grasshoppers right from our hands. Still heartbreaking, makes me sick. Kept intending to ask this question before we lost them, but got to thinking about it again, so decided to ask.

    Thanks

    Kim (on Pokey's account)
     
  2. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Songster

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    I think lots of strutting as very young birds is a pretty good indicator of toms. Hens will occassionally strut, but they don't seem to do it as often or hold the strut as long as the toms do. I knew I was very heavy towards toms this year at just a couple of weeks. Now at 11 weeks (or is it 12 already) I have at least 10 toms and no more than 4 hens.

    Other users of this forum poo poo this idea.
     
  3. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

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    Our tom BBB strutted at about 2 weeks. Pretty cute to see him drop his wings. Our Naragansetts are 2-3 weeks old, no strut behavior out of them just yet.
     
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Both sexes might display. The ones in the brooder that spent serious time at it, in our experience, were male. Another odd behaviour of our three putative toms was that they slept in the bedding. The two others always slept on one of the roosts in the dog cage (they were the hens).

    [​IMG]

    We used a folding dog cage as a brooder. If the cats had shown any interest I'd have zip-tied .5" hardware cloth to the sides and top (think the heat lamp was too much for the cats). We placed the cage in the center of an old sheet and that cut down on the `I see a cat!' stresss and kept bedding where it belonged (chickens below give a better idea of setup):
    [​IMG]

    When it was hot enough to take `em out during the afternoon we used a folding toddler fence (had used it for grandkids). Covered the top with hardware cloth anchored down by four 30lb. pavers placed on the corners of a couple of 2"x4"'s. Knowing what I know now, I'll zip tie hardware cloth to the side panels next time we have that many peeps and poults.
    [​IMG]

    Just construct a brooder that is dog proof, cause the freaky flukey is always out there waiting to take a bite out of us.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  5. Nava

    Nava I Got The Naked Neck Blues

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    this guy turned out to be a tom, and the first time he did his strout was at 9 days, later on I cought it with a camera here he is
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Catfishingpokey

    Catfishingpokey Songster

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    For the record, none of our felines or canines have EVER shown interest in our bird brooder, which was a Graco play pen with a piece of wood covering the top, prior to this. Have had 20-30 sets of baby birds (chickens and quail) and never any problems til the turkeys. Our ten year old lazy cat has been know to sit nearby watching baby quail scutter all over the place amd never bat an eye. She's the prime suspect in the first turkey disappearance. Never found the baby bird. Each of the dogs had been around birds all of the time we've had birds. Never paid them a bit of attention. Had been extra careful to keep ALL of them out of the house after turkey disappeared. Storm blew the door open, dogs got in, and sadly, as happens with stupid dogs, pack mentality took over. They tore up the brooder to get to the birds. I don't know of any brooder that the dogs wouldn't have at least tried to thrash. Even had it kept the dogs from reaching them, the dogs would have traumatized the poor birds.

    Kim
     
  7. Catfishingpokey

    Catfishingpokey Songster

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    Quote:This is EXACTLY what he did. It was so funny! He was fanning his tail "nubs" before they even feathered out. I miss our turkey babies. They seemed to have so much more "personality" than our chicken babies have had.

    Kim
     
  8. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Catfishingpokey wrote: Storm blew the door open, dogs got in, and sadly, as happens with stupid dogs, pack mentality took over. They tore up the brooder to get to the birds. I don't know of any brooder that the dogs wouldn't have at least tried to thrash. Even had it kept the dogs from reaching them, the dogs would have traumatized the poor birds.

    No criticism meant. Just offering some encouragement owing to what you wrote in your initial post:

    Sigh....still breaks my heart to even think about it. They clucked and purred and talked and chirped and ate grasshoppers right from our hands. Still heartbreaking, makes me sick.

    Nava wrote: this guy turned out to be a tom, and the first time he did his strut was at 9 days, later on I cought it with a camera here he is

    There it is [​IMG]
     
  9. Catfishingpokey

    Catfishingpokey Songster

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    Didn't really take it as criticism, been way more critical of myself for the way it happened. Also I guess I wanted to point out the old "never trust a predator" rule....not that we intentionally left our "predators" to where they could get to our babies, but I really wouldn't have thought the older cat would have done anything to them. Once a predator always a predator!!
     
  10. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Catfishingpokey wrote: Didn't really take it as criticism, been way more critical of myself for the way it happened. Also I guess I wanted to point out the old "never trust a predator" rule....not that we intentionally left our "predators" to where they could get to our babies, but I really wouldn't have thought the older cat would have done anything to them. Once a predator always a predator

    Just making sure I didn't offend, when I didn't mean to.

    Can identify with your experience. Our Royal hen was Cass' `lap turkey'. We had a predator-proofed dog run for the two hens (they nested together). We would open the gate in the afternoon so they could take their short breaks from brooding to go dirt bathe and pick around. What we didn't know was that the Royal hen was working a second nest off in the woodline. She was always back with the Slate in the evening when we closed them up. Looked out one morning and she had flown back into the turkey run. Her wings were hanging low and her head was down. We brought her in and examined her, she had broken ribs and organs exposed on her back under wings. We had to put her down.

    I found where the nest had been (feathers/broken eggs). Placed a trap at the location. The next afternoon we were out working in the garden and heard the trap slam shut. Raccoon on a daytime schedule. I opened it up and examined GI tract - sure enough - feathers. A hen working two nests and a daytime coon, go figure.

    We just learn as we go along.

    Get a few more and good luck!​
     

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