Does the male turkey kill new born turkeys?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Lu King, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. Lu King

    Lu King Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2008
    On the Titanic
    I had a live baby turkey this morning ...walking around and healthy as it could be. This afternoon it was laying in the pen dead. The mother and father were in the same pen. It had been pecked at the throat area. Does the mother and/or father kill one of their little ones? The mother seemed very protective of her eggs, so I can't believe she would do this.

    Also, she has about twenty more eggs in her nest. Three have hatched and are dead. Should I leave them in the nest or remove them?
  2. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    The pecking could have been after the fact. The Tom's usually are not to careful and may have stepped on the poult.

    When a bird goes down or is distressed in a flock they other try to get it up and moving, Many times this result in the death of the downed bird or very serious injury.

    As soon as the hens goes broody it safer to move the tome out of the pens into another.

    So far this year our Red Bourbon tom has stepped on about 4 eggs.

  3. Lu King

    Lu King Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2008
    On the Titanic
    We have moved the male to different quarters, and she is back to sitting on her eggs. There for awhile she wasn't sitting on them, but after we moved him, she back to her nest.
  4. Cacklin" Hens

    Cacklin" Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 26, 2010
    I know wild turkey toms will find a hens nest and destroy the eggs and kill the babies if he can, but i have never heard of the domesticated ones doing that and my RP tom has never done that!
  5. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 9, 2008
    Hahira, GA
    poults on the ground mean no more breeding, so at time the toms will kill them, so are like said about by accident, but I have seen both wilds and my royal palm out right kill them, that's why I always use a brooder and an incubator. As long as the tom is out, see how it goes, but you may want to pull them and put them in a brooder to be safest. Plus she'll go back to laying soon after and you can get more poults.
    Hope the rest go better for you. Oh by the way, where are you? If it's cold where you are, that very well can be your problem, new poults can not tolerate the cold.
  6. the Old Rebel

    the Old Rebel Rest in Peace -2011

    May 12, 2007
    Hendersonville NC
    I, too, have seen toms outright kill poults. We separate the toms before the babies are due to hatch.

    IF things have gone like they should, the hen lays eggs until she goes broody and then starts setting all the eggs at the same time. She should stop laying when she goes broody. So all of the eggs SHOULD hatch within about 48 hours of each other. She'll get off the nest when she thinks they're done hatching. But that sometimes means she'll leave little ones too weak to go with her and also eggs that haven't hatched yet. Either one can get chilled and die. So as soon as mine come off the nest, I check it and put any left-behind poults in a brooder and any eggs in an incubator. I candle them and leave them in the incubator according to how much time it looks like they still need.

    Occasionally another hen will continue to lay eggs beside a hen that has gone broody. This can cause you to have different hatch dates. It can create quite a weird situation with babies hatching every day and a half. It has happened to me before, so I ended up with a three week age difference from oldest to youngest.

    DEFINITELY remove the dead babies.... the sooner the better. They will begin to decompose and foul your entire nest. Turkey hens are big birds and occasionally crush one when they are trying to cover them to keep them warm.

    Good luck with the rest of your hatch. Let us know how it goes for you.

    How long was your hen off her nest? The rest of the eggs may have gotten chilled and died. Let us know about that. I've had eggs that got really cold and still hatched, so don't give up on them too soon.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010

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