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Hen keeps wandering off.

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by CDennis, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. CDennis

    CDennis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a slate hen who keeps wandering off, she lives on 6 fenced acres but flys over the fencing daily and ends up at the neigh's residence. I have two other turkeys, her mate & a jake that I was told should have been a hen. Any idea what would be making her leave?
     
  2. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    Quote:Do the folks next door have turkeys? A good looking Tom perhaps? [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  3. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Two primary reasons for wandering hens: 1. Other toms in neighborhood 2. scouting for a place to nest (or to lay another egg in an already established nest). If you have a chance to see her go over the fence and head out listen for her giving out with a plaintive sounding, pretty regularly spaced `whoot' vocalization and wandering away as if in a trance (pretty much on a straight line with little interest in foraging/nosing around). At this time of year I only observed this in our jennys (not adult turks).

    Could be someone is feeding her. Can she see the neighbors from the run? Could be wanting company.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  4. CDennis

    CDennis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No turkeys within at least two miles of our property, she has two toms at home, the neigh's did have a lone rooster but he passed two weeks ago and I hate to think he was courting her. I have seen her in a "trance like state" before. What exactly does that mean? Nobody else is feeding her, she can see the neigh's property from our residence but they are out of town this week so she wouldn't have seen them. She is two, but I just got her 4 months ago. Should I build her a nest? I thought it was a little early for her to start laying. Could she be laying eggs over there? I never thought of that! Thanks for all the advice.
     
  5. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    have seen her in a "trance like state" before. What exactly does that mean?

    Sorry I wasn't clear: She's trying to find a nice place to lay an egg. I first observed this behavior late in the day, one warm may evening. The other four turks were heading back to the run. The Slate hen started giving out with a `whoot' (kinda drawn out plaintive sounding vocalization), whoot, whoot, and started walking off through the woods towards the graveyard (about 200yds to the west). I followed her. She went through the fence into a clump of Poison Oak/Multifloral Rose and started pulling up leaf clutter with her beak, turning in circles and otherwised worrying a specific area of the ground. I went back and locked down the chooks and turks and started back to see what she was up to but she was running/flying back through the woods into the yard. Sure enough, I found an egg where she'd been working earlier.

    At that point we put together a safe nesting location and that was that. Odd time of year for an adult hen to be up to this sort of behavior (could be something completely different, but I'd check around for eggs to rule this out).​
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2010
  6. CDennis

    CDennis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, I have kept her contained since last night, no eggs yet. I have seen her before do the "woot, woot" and then fixed stare in one direction. She has always seemed a little off. This is my first experience w/ turkeys and I may have just picked poorly. I'll keep watching her.
     
  7. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've found that there is usually a reason for turkey behavior (not due to getting an "odd" one) -- just takes careful observation to figure out what she's doing. You could also clip her wings -- (just clip one side) and that will keep her from flying over the fence. She'll be able to jump up about 2-3 feet, but not fly. You have to repeat every month since the feathers grow back in.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2010

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