Beginner turkey questions, are these toms or hens?

Texashatching14

Chirping
May 27, 2015
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Hello. I was recently considering adding some turkeys to my free range flock. Someone posted these turkeys for sale, but I am not well versed enough to tell male and female. And what breeds are they? Also the turkeys I get I would like to be as pets, so what are the friendliest breeds to get? I see so many posts of pet turkeys wanting attention and it's made me want some! Would it be okay to start out with one male and one female? Or does there need to be a certain amount of hens per tom? Any other beginner info also appreciated!
PicsArt_09-22-08.30.01.jpg
 

R2elk

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Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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Hello. I was recently considering adding some turkeys to my free range flock. Someone posted these turkeys for sale, but I am not well versed enough to tell male and female. And what breeds are they? Also the turkeys I get I would like to be as pets, so what are the friendliest breeds to get? I see so many posts of pet turkeys wanting attention and it's made me want some! Would it be okay to start out with one male and one female? Or does there need to be a certain amount of hens per tom? Any other beginner info also appreciated!
View attachment 1915764
There is only one breed and it is Turkey. There are both toms and hens and young ones too young to sex from a photo. The majority appear to be mixed varieties and more toms than hens. Whether or not they turn into good pets has more to do with how you interact with them than it does with which variety they are. Royal Palms do seem to be a bit more flighty than the other varieties. They are also one of the smaller varieties and fly very well.

If you just want them for pets, I recommend getting a couple of hens and no tom. If you intend to have them reproduce, it is best for the hens to have multiple hens for one tom. I try to keep a minimum of 4 to 5 hens for one tom. One tom can handle more hens than that. The more hens there are, the less likely the tom will over breed the hens and the more likely he will have hens available to deal with while some are broody on nests.

You can learn about many of the heritage turkeys at Porter's Rare Heritage Turkeys.
 

Texashatching14

Chirping
May 27, 2015
57
44
99
Thank you. After reading a little more I realized the correct term was "variety" not breed. Can you tell me how I could tell the toms from the hens in the photo? I was looking for the snood but none seem very long?
 

R2elk

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Premium Feather Member
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Feb 24, 2013
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Thank you. After reading a little more I realized the correct term was "variety" not breed. Can you tell me how I could tell the toms from the hens in the photo? I was looking for the snood but none seem very long?

When judging sex of turkeys, the snood size does not mean a whole lot in young turkeys. Some varieties take much longer for the snoods to become full size on toms. Some varieties even the hens can have big snoods although the longest they will get is to reach the end of the beak while a mature tom's snood may hang 2" or more past the end of the beak.

In the photos, the ones with really red bald heads and very large wattles are toms. Sexing turkeys in person is easier than from photos. Turkeys of the same variety and same age offer comparisons that help in determining sex. Unfortunately because not all varieties are the same size and may have characteristics that develop at a slower pace than other varieties, comparing different varieties may end up in false conclusions.

A hen and tom of the same variety and same age by the time they are 4 weeks old, the tom will be developing a large wattle while the hen's wattle may be non existent. The tom's body and legs will already be getting bigger and heavier than the hen. By four months old the tom will have a bald head. The hen will have a "mohawk" up the back of her neck continuing on top of her head. Not all "mohawks" are equal with some being just a thin strip on the top of the head and others being thicker.

Once the tom's snood is well developed, it will retract into a cone shape while a hen's snood will retain the "J" shape when retracted.
 

GotCoop

Songster
7 Years
Jan 10, 2013
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As R2elk mentioned, your interaction with them will help determine how friendly they are with you...therefore, the younger the better would be my choice.
 

RoosterML

Make Ameraucanas Great Again
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Nov 5, 2018
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I must say while Turkeys are dumb as a rock at least mine are anyways I really enjoy having them. I have Royal Palms and one 1/2 Narragansett that follow me around like a dogs. The second they see me outside they make quite a ruckus for me to come see them. Highly recommended!!
 

cgmccary

Crowing
13 Years
Sep 14, 2007
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NE Alabama
Thank you. After reading a little more I realized the correct term was "variety" not breed. Can you tell me how I could tell the toms from the hens in the photo? I was looking for the snood but none seem very long?
I like to use shank thickness at a very young age and it is almost always accurate to sex.
 

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