Introducing tom to adult turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by callieisspooky, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. callieisspooky

    callieisspooky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I could use some advice. Only one turkey egg hatched from my incubator, and since he was all alone, I purchased some day-old chicken chicks to keep him company (turkeys were not available). I kept the babies in an adjacent pen to the adult chickens and turkeys (all hens) for about a month. When they were about 4 months old, I introduced the chicks to the chickens with minimal pecking. But when I put the poult in with the adult turkeys, it did not go well at all. They pinned him down and all started latching on/ripping at his head/neck relentlessly. Much blood was drawn, and we put him back in the "baby" pen by himself. He seemed so lonely without his chicken siblings that we put him in with the chickens. All seems well now, except that we are worried about blackhead, and he's too big for the chicken coop so he perches underneath it at night.

    Poult turns out to be a tom. As I said, he is the only male bird we own. Every few days we put him in the pen with the adult turkeys, but they are just as mean as before. I understand there is going to be pecking, but they are trying to kill him, not establish pecking order. We let them free range together and there is minimal pecking, but in the pen it's a different story. Should we wait to re-introduce him after he is fully grown? He is about 5 months now, not quite fully grown but close to it. Also, are we totally screwing him up as a turkey by letting him live with the chickens? He ranges with them and not with the turkeys, and he struts in front of the chickens, not the turkeys.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  2. Luviesmom

    Luviesmom Out Of The Brooder

    Turkey babies always seemed dumb but adults can be mean. My males turkeys would seem to fight till death. Sometimes, I would let them work it out, sometimes, I would intervene with a broom.your boy is still young, I didn't like my turkeys to be with chickens. I didn't feel like my toms matured until about 7 months.


    This was a great documentary about the life of turkeys. I cannot find the entire episode but if you go to PBS and search for "my life as a turkey" you may be able to find it.

    I would let your Tom free range during the day w other turkeys but not at night until he can defend himself. Good luck!
     
  3. callieisspooky

    callieisspooky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have actually seen (some of) that PBS special! Had to stop at the point where the favorite hen sitting on a nest was taken by a predator, as my 5 year olds were present. I heard that the one remaining tom ends up turning on the man. I hope ours doesn't do that! He's the kids' pet.

    So far that is what I've been doing, letting him range with the others by day and putting him in with the chickens at night. I didn't know I'd have to do this for two more months, though (he's only 5 months). Shelter is an issue. I suppose he could go back into solitary confinement - where there is more shelter - if there is bad weather. He would share a common wall with both chickens and turkeys, so not totally alone.
     
  4. Luviesmom

    Luviesmom Out Of The Brooder

    Most hertiage turkey are non aggressive. And yes, the end of that film, the Tom attacked the owner. Those are wild Turks.

    Maybe try and put the Tom in the turkey coop at night. Let them out in the morning. Let them roost at night together. I have never seen a more aggressive match than toms. Bloody battle. Are you sure you have all hens(turkey wise)?
     
  5. callieisspooky

    callieisspooky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good to know about heritage turkeys. Let's hope our Tom stays calm.

    Ok, I'll try putting him in at night. Maybe just at roosting time. I'm fairly sure they're female - look different than Tom, short snoods, white ticking on the breast feathers (bronze std), don't display. They are 10 months. One is extremely aggressive and latches on like a pit bull. The others seem to feed into the frenzy once she starts in.
     
  6. Luviesmom

    Luviesmom Out Of The Brooder

    If your turkeys are older, and go after young Tom, try to deter the bossy one with a broom. For some reason, turkey poults wanna drown in a waterer or die tragically. Once they are over 5 months, pretty hardy, yet can be mean. Hormones. I wondered if u had another Tom by what you describe. My hens were always very sweet. Jakes were a mess.

    Even then, during a brutal battle I would use my broom, yell "enough"! Hitting attacker away. They are very dumb after hatching yet smart after 3 months. Interesting birds.
     
  7. livininbrazil

    livininbrazil Chillin' With My Peeps

    Can you put one of the quieter hens in his bit with him? See how they get on? Or just leave him strutting his stuff...if he can see others, he´ll be ok, then when he´s big'n'handsome, it maybe a different story.....
     
  8. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: My experience with turkeys has been that it's the females that are exceptionally violent. But all these traits seem to vary with breed and individual and family line etc.

    I think livininbrazil's idea is a good one, perhaps put a less dominant hen in with him so they bond. I think it will be a different story once he is obviously a male. He will strut and gobble and gradually the hen's instincts should recognize that he's a he and they are she's.

    Hens or males who were raised without a member of the opposite gender can sometimes think all birds are the same gender as they are, and be violent to the newcomer who seems so different that they are perceived as being faulty, just because they don't yet know gender differences. Sounds oversimplifed but anyway... Like it is with people introducing roosters to hens when neither have lived with the other. It can be violent or fatal.

    I would perhaps isolate the dominant turkey hen in his old pen while he lives with the others. There's a chance things will not calm down until he's an adult because turkeys are often very intolerant of younger birds of either gender. If they keep attacking him obviously it would be good to separate him until he's an adult.

    At 5 months a turkey tom is still a very spindly, skinny version of what he will be. My toms all reached adult size at two years, same with most of the roosters from various genetic lines.

    Best wishes.
     
  9. royalpalm

    royalpalm Out Of The Brooder

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    I put my 3 month old birds in with my adult birds all turkeys of the following decent, two standard bronze ,one blue slate,three bourbon reds and the rest are royal palms. Did I make a mistake
     

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