Canabalism in Turkeys?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by FarmMomof3, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. FarmMomof3

    FarmMomof3 Out Of The Brooder

    Ok so I had 6 Broad Breasted Bronze Turkeys... Now i have 5. The 6th was the weakest of the bunch and was recooperating from a recent illness (it froze overnight and she got chilled, got the squirts and was all around miserable.. she was doing much better after a few days of warmth (heatlamp) and some rest. We put them all away last night (we let them free range during the day) and she was fine, eating and drinking well.. moving around.. she was still not up to snuff like the rest but getting there. This morning we found her DEAD. Pecked to death. When we let the others out, our one big Tom started to try to ride her. (weirdest thing i've ever seen) and the other hens started pecking her and clawing at her.

    I have never encountered this before.. although This is only our 2nd year raising turkeys.

    Has anyone come across turkeys who kill thier flock members and eat them? This was just gross. Feathers EVERYWHERE.

    None of the other turks are sick, doing just fine.

    Just wondering what others thought. Is this just purely a Darwin thing? (strong getting rid of the weak) or is this actually intentional killing?
  2. jasonm11

    jasonm11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 18, 2010
    tioga tx
    its murder I tell you, MURDER! No just kidding, they will do that at times if they are bored , stressed or hungry. Like chickens make sure they have lots to eat and lots of room to roam and little stress then the dynamic is very different.
  3. FarmMomof3

    FarmMomof3 Out Of The Brooder

    They have plenty of food..which are always full. and they are let out every morning at 8am and they free range.

    They did this overnight when they were put away for the night. They must have been stressed of something. I noticed that the healthy turks were picking on the recooperating one.. so i kept her away from them... but there isn't a place to put her overnight as i only have power going to the barn they stay in over night and if i had moved her to somewhere else she would not have been able to to keep warm. (no power for the heat lamps that we put up in the fall and winter)

    we have to put them away at night because of preditors and because it's getting wet and cold here. I started out with 21 BBB turks and we now have 5

    It's so disheartening to see them do that though.
  4. jasonm11

    jasonm11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 18, 2010
    tioga tx
    Don't worry about heating the coop, once they are past 4 months or so they can handle the clodest weather. They will be fine. If you have heavy rains they get caught in you might want to make sure they have access to a covered dry roosting area. The only time you need to worry about the birds is if one gets a respiratory infection as it will wipe them out quick. Unless you have predators in the area I would suggest you let them have open access to leave or enter the roost. That way if you have one that is picked on it can leave the group.
  5. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2008
    Unless you saw them kill it, I couldn't say for sure if they killed it or if something else did and they were just messing with the carcass that was already there. It could have succumbed to whatever was making it not feel well, or something like a rat could have killed it. Being the weakest, I would say that it had something else going on and was probably more of a 'failure to thrive' situation.

    As jasonm11 said, they really can handle cold temps, and not just TX cold temps. My BBW turkeys are about 4 months old and are in a pen with chickens that are about the same age. They have a chicken tractor if they want shelter but usually roost on top of it. While you are probably getting more rain than we are (which can chill them but at that age just makes them look miserable), these guys have seen temps down into the upper 20's. They were out and about when temps were in the upper 40'5 to low 50's and we got 1.75 inches of rain over 24 hours a few weeks ago.

    I never use heat lamps after they are feathered out and removed from the brooder. If you are using them, please make sure that the lamps are very secure and aren't where the birds can get to them. More than one barn has burned down because a heat lamp was knocked down.
  6. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    FarmMomof3 wrote: ...she was doing much better after a few days of warmth (heatlamp)... ...Feathers EVERYWHERE. ...

    A couple more ideas to consider. Did she transition from the relative warmth provided by the heat lamp, to the cold, without acclimating? This can further stress a turk. Re: feathers - very stressed, or ill turks, will lose feathers much more easily than healthy turks.​

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