Murder! How and why do they kill each other?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by smartlittleroo, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. smartlittleroo

    smartlittleroo Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2008
    We have a small flock of turkeys, 3 standard bronze hens and a Black Spanish tom. Yesterday I went out to my turkey pen and found one of my hens dead. Her head had been pecked in a couple of places, but there wasn't any blood around so I don't *think* she died from being pecked to death. I think they may have pecked her after she was dead.

    A couple of years ago I found one of my drake ducks dead in the shed with the other ducks and also a young pullet in the brooder box. All dead the same way - with no signs of blood or trauma. All of them were healthy and running around with the others the day before they died.

    First question: I did notice that the other two turkey hens were picking on the hen that was killed in the week or so leading up to her death. This seems like a weird question, I don't want to sound like I'm assigning human traits to birds, but do birds "hold grudges" or "get jealous" and then kill the one that is "ticking them off"? Do female birds have "cliques" the way teenaged girls do, and the odd hen out gets tormented and bullied?

    Second question: Can birds strangle one another? I noticed when the turkey hens were fighting that they would grab each other with their beaks on the warty head skin or throat skin and then twist and pull. Maybe the hen that was killed was strangled, which would account for the lack of blood at the "crime scene"? Thoughts?

    Just re-reading my post and it sounds like CSI: Turkey Pen. [​IMG]
  2. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2012
    Tickfaw, Louisiana
    I don't think any animal would care about grudges. They fight to sort out the pecking order. They will only kill to survive. If an animal cannot keep up or is sick, the others might sense it and kill the weak one, if they are penned, to keep it from drawing predators. If they are too crowded they will fight also. They will grab each other by whatever they can reach or is hanging down, like the snood and pull or twist until the less dominate one gives up. For example, I had a younger smaller tom, get into the middle of a 6 tom turkey fight and get stepped on, resulting on hurt legs. He could hardly stand up after one of the biggest fattest toms fell or stepped on him. I had to lock him up in a pen, until his legs healed, because the toms would clobber him, if they could have gotten to him, when he was displaying. His leg is healed, so now the fighting will begin to revise their pecking order, if he starts displaying in front of the others. I have never seen it come to any bloodshed, yet, in 4 years of raising turkeys. Did you cut the birds open to see is any organs were damaged or the heart was enlarged, etc, to find out if some other condition might have been the cause? Heart trouble is common in BB breads, and it might be genetics? IDK, but an autopsy is always done on CSI ! LOL [​IMG]

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