Help, I've created a monster turkey!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by shortgrass, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    I need help. Lol I have a turkey hen that won't leave me alone! :p

    I decided, for some odd reason, to get a couple of heritage Royal Palm turkeys this last spring. I have never kept turkeys past the point of dinner (about 6 months of age) so I didn't know what to expect. All i know is I wanted a couple of smaller pretty turkeys to keep, not for eating. I plan on letting them breed and hatch out poults come next spring. Their broodmates have since been butchered, save for one. (A BBB, shes getting butchered this week for turkey day)

    My problem is twofold.
    The female will not leave me alone! She waits by the door for me and follows me everywhere, sits by me and pecks my pockets, etc etc... I am very fond of her, yes, but not THAT fond :rolleyes: The tom stands at a distance and shows off, but he doesnt come within 10' of me unless I have a treat. I don't mind it, but what I do mind is that now she is starting to stalk and chase my kids, ages 11 and 7. They know to not harass her or turn their backs on her, and she's not agressive about it, yet. But I'm concerned that I have a 2 month old baby that will be going out in the yard with me come spring. He will be 7 months old, so obviously I will have him by my side constantly. I'm quite certain that she will probably end up pecking him, and I won't have any of that. So, I have 2 general questions:

    1. Can I tether her short term when I'm outside with him? I've read some posts on birds getting legs broken by tethers, so I don't want her to get hurt, but she won't stay in a pen; she flies right out. Caging is not an option, either. It's either free range or temp tethering.

    2. When (if) she hatches poults, will she become less clingy and/or more agressive? She's such a sweetheart I don't want to end up eating her because of my mistake and I want to prepare for spring if there's a possibility that she's going to go bananas on me.

    What did I do wrong? Too much imprint on me? I couldn't really help it; she's been super clingy from day one, out of 4 poults I had purchased, has always been my follower. She's weird lol...

    Was just thinking maybe I could tether her while I'm outside with the baby, and let her go when I'm not, but if she DOES hatch poults, I'm not sure tethering would be good for her to not be able to roam with her babies.. Ugh I don't know what to do, but something will have to change. Any help appreciated :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2016
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm no help with the turkey but finally a baby update. Congrats!
     
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  3. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    If you feel that tethering is a necessity, do not tether her by her legs. Choose an appropriate sized dog type harness and use that to tether her. Rather than tethering I recommend that you purchase flight netting to put over her pen so she can't fly out.

    The problem with imprinting any type of animal is that they lose the ability to tell the difference between them and people. It may seem cute when the animals are young but it can cause severe problems when the animals become adults.
     
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  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    It would be a better idea to build them a pen or run to stay in. You can let them out to range during the day. When turkeys can't get to where they want to be they walk back and forth obsessively. I've had hens rub their snoods off fence walking. Tethering would probably not work out and your turkey would hurt her leg trying to get away. A good covered run is a better option.
     
  5. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, their pen/run is impossible to put bird netting up in; there are trees and 2 campers inside their pen lol.. Well, not impossible, just really really hard. But..... I CAN build a temp "play yard" for her, and cover that. I didn't think of just using some old fencing and just wrap it in a small circle and cover it with netting! :D She'll only be in it a few hours out if the day, and I can move it around to let her graze and stuff.

    Ok, that problem has a possible solution besides a leash, thanks :)

    Is there some way I can try to retrain her to not be so...loving? My oldest daughter just informed me that the hen was "bumping" her with her chest; what is that? A threat? She doesn't get aggressive, just really really pushy :p
     
  6. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh, thank you! He is absolutely wonderful; such a sweet little thing! Finally, a boy! :D

    It's been a life changing event for sure! Like getting rid of half my flock because I'm sure having 50 birds with pokey beaks and talons isn't such a swell idea with a baby crawling around ha-ha ;)
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Turkeys are emotional birds and they usually don't hold back and express what they are feeling. When under a year of age they can be a bit pushy and obnoxious, most will grow out of it.

    Chest bumping in turkeys is usually aggressive, so that could be a problem with your daughter. It will help to confine her for a while each day and maybe break some of the attachment she has with you. She should become less interested next year when she will be more interested in mating and egg laying.

    I have found turkeys to be dangerous to other poultry. Certainly not on a daily basis, but they can become hyper focused sometimes and will pursue things like chickens with the intent to cause harm, they can be relentless. I find it a good thing to be able to lock them in their own run when they are making trouble or when I can't be around to watch them.

    My adult birds don't try to fly out of our 4 foot fence, those younger than a year get a wing clipped to keep them in.
     
  8. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Obnoxious, that's the perfect word to describe her ha-ha :D

    Yes, they have shown odd interest in the hens; odd as in, "I think I'll eat you", so I keep them all separated. The turkeys are just about the only thing that free ranges any more, and its just the female. The tom usually stays in his pen. They have a 4' fence around it but they roost in the trees at night, so I have to walk them back into their pen every morning when they fly out of their roosts; they end up outside the pen. Not much trouble usually, but the female has to be put back in the pen about 20x a day. Clipping wings is an option. Will it affect how hard it is for her to roost though? I might have to build her a staircase or lock her in their camper that they no longer use probably?

    All for a single turkey :p I'm glad to hear that it will maybe get better by spring when she's sidetracked. But that leads me to wonder if by then I'll have to worry about the tom thinking I'm competition and start harassing me too? :(
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I haven't had any troubles with toms. Though I don't over bond with mine or handle them a lot. I'm their mom, and they will follow me anywhere, but they know I'm not a turkey.

    I do currently have a hen who has always been pushy like yours, who decided this fall she doesn't like me and makes fighting noises when she sees me. The other hens will start fighting with her because of it. I continue to contemplate butchering her. It isn't normal behavior from what I have seen and I don't know what I did to offend her, and I get offended by her behavior. She is a bronze, which I've noticed seem to be more forward.

    I clip one wing short, they can still get on their roosts but they can't fly any distance, so hopping up they can do, but I can't say for sure about getting into the trees.
     
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  10. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Hmmmm... I can't say if clipping a wing will help then; she'll still be able to hop skip jump onto things to get up in the trees and ultimately, back out again. But maybe it's worth a shot. If anything, I'll clip both wings and confine her to a coop. That should be fun; better than trying to wrestle a full grown turkey out of a tree anyway :D

    Come to think of it, lol its dumb of me to want to keep her able to roost, knowing full well that's how she gets out...duhhh.


    I have to ask; what are fighting noises? Is that the high pitched short whistle/bark? Or the "weee-wee" whistle? The tom gobbles when he sees me sometimes, but that's all the noise I hear from them. I'm probably getting yelled at in turkey language and don't know it :p
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2016

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