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Bullies

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by thaiturkey, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yesterday morning I saw one of our 15 week old toms apparently mounting a hen of the same age. He didn't do a very good job and was replaced by another, then another. I was looking like an underage gang bang so I walked over to investigate. Before I got there yet another young tom started to peck the hen's head. I chased them away from her and then could see that she was on her back. She got up and, though understandably quiet, seemed no the worse for the experience.

    We had a long return journey to make and were gone for eight hours. When we got back, the hen was hiding and emerged only when she saw us. She looked rather forlorn but was walking, though slowly, and eating. When she rejoined the flock, one of the big guys stomped on her and then one of the younger ones tried to beat her up.

    With that we gave her some paracetamol solution and isolated her for the night with food and water.

    This morning she went out but stayed alone, walking and eating slowly. The poor thing looked very sorry for herself. She's back in isolation now and seems happy to rest. We can see no signs of illness or injury, other than some fluff missing from one leg, but she is clearly not happy. She can walk but is sitting in her cage at the moment.

    I found this school yard bullying quite distressing and some of those toms are lining themselves up for an early sale if they do it again.

    We hope that she is no more than distressed and bruised from the beating yesterday and will recover quickly. However, if more experienced turkey people can give me more information or advice about what might be going on here, I'd be grateful, please.

    Thanks.
     
  2. OmaBird

    OmaBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is normal if you have to many toms in your breeding pen with your girls. You only need one tom in a breeding pen (I know she is not old enough).

    Are you sure she is not sick? Most of the time a bird is attacked is when it is sick. It's natures way to keep something from suffering.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  3. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the quick response.

    We certainly have an imbalance of toms to hens but it's a new flock and I'm not ready to sort out that problem yet. I want to see who's the best at his job before pruning. They free range all day but, as they hang around together, I suppose that's academic.

    Two things surprised me. Firstly, the young age of all but one of the bullies. Secondly, that they attacked a hen rather than another tom. On reflection, I have to say that we assume it's a hen judging by its size and features.

    Would you say that they intended to maim or kill her or were they trying to mate, even at such a young age?
     
  4. OmaBird

    OmaBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:My thought is they where going to kill her because she is sick, and do a mating dance on the corpse.
     
  5. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    A jenny wouldn't be `presenting' at that age. An adult, receptive, hen being courted by more than one suitor will often find her desire unrequited. One tom will attempt to cover her and the others will become incensed with such impertinence and knock him off the hen. This usually results in the toms engaging in a trilling spur and beak fest with one another and the hen will stand up, shake herself off, and walk away.

    ed:sp
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  6. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She certainly doesn't look too well now. I've let her out of the cage into a mozzie tent to keep the others away and she's standing very hunched and not feeding. Time to get the vet round, I think.

    The young toms weren't pecking at each other but at her. It's beginning to look as though she's ill and they spotted it when we didn't. Best to keep her isolated, all things considered.

    Thanks for the thoughts and advice so far.
     
  7. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:That's exactly what it is Thai, she is sick. Turkeys will do that, they will attack a weakling or sick bird.

    Steve
     
  8. ziggywiggy

    ziggywiggy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had that happen to one of my spring hens. She was always a runt and a little sickly and one day I saw my older tom trying to mate her. She died about 30 minutes later which really upset me because she was sort of my pet because of all the extra attention I gave her.
     
  9. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She's still hanging in there but very subdued.

    The vet was out of the area yesterday but we got some powder from his surgery to add to her water. She's not drinking or feeding now so we'll call him out this morning.

    I feel sorry for the poor girl. She has always been as healthy and active as her peers and I can't imagine what's gone wrong. I guess we are approaching the time when we shall have to dispatch her unless she goes soon of her own accord.

    From what I've written, does it seem that she's been weak all along or has she picked up a disease?
     
  10. OmaBird

    OmaBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any type of stress can cause disease in poultry. Everytime the weather changed or the wind blew when I lived in heavy population, my poultry got sick. Do you think your flood could have anything to do with it? Didn't you move them? That would be a stress.
     

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