Narragansett Turkey...Jake or hen?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by MyChickSheila, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. MyChickSheila

    MyChickSheila Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    May 1, 2013
    Northeast Texas
    I have two Narragansett turkeys that are about four months old. They are very similar in appearance except one has a few more caruncles, a larger snood, and head gets red more often. I've even seen him/her strut very briefly when it was very young and now it puffs up when there is a wild duck that occasionally visits our yard and will chase the duck away. The other one I suspected is a hen looks so much like the other I'm just not sure if I have a male and female or two males. Can anyone help me solve this quandary? By the way, neither have tried gobbling. The first photo is just a nice pic of them sitting on the fence with the possible male being towards the back. The second pic is the one I think is male and the third photo is the one I thought may be a hen. [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    4,905
    586
    286
    Apr 8, 2013
    Australia
    Both males I reckon. The first one very obviously, with those large caruncles and coloring, but the second one also has nodules over the neck which to me are too large for a hen. I've seen hens with some decent sized ones but not that big, and not that specific blue coloring around the eyes.

    I had one hen who spent most of her time strutting and gobbling, multiple times proven fertile female though; her snood also grew a little larger than normal and could hang down past her beak tip, though not all the way down to her chest like a male.

    Also babies of both genders strut, they'll also take turns playing different gender roles, being 'the boy' and 'the girl' in turns complete with actual mating, strutting, sitting-invitations to mate, etc, regardless of gender.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. MyChickSheila

    MyChickSheila Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    May 1, 2013
    Northeast Texas
    Unfortunately I'm afraid you've confirmed my suspicion, I just hoped so much to have a male and female and someday some Narragansett poults. So, should I get more than one or two hens and if I do will this cause my toms to be aggressive? Thanks a million, chooks4life!
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    4,905
    586
    286
    Apr 8, 2013
    Australia
    Two hens minimum is probably a good idea, just bearing in mind that they can be troublesome breeders and three hens with clutches may be more than you can easily handle for starters... It's amazing the things that can go wrong with turkeys, lol. ;)

    Keeping the males apart from one another is likelier to cause excessive violence than leaving them together. Social tolerance is partly inherited, partly learned, and toms separated by a fence have always been the most aggressive turkeys I've ever known. I always left my toms free ranging with the hens and just isolated those I didn't want to breed and intended to eat.

    Generally, left to grow up together, chances are there will be some battles, plenty of strutting and gobbling, and they may be more fixated on one another than on the hens, since naturally that's what toms do when mature --- gobble and strut at males. The females visit, make a mate choice, invite that male, mate, leave, and the tom goes back to his displaying. Some toms hang out with hens more though, and some can be good fathers. If your males become obsessed with fighting one another they will need separating, but generally if they're inclined that way they will become obsessed whether you ever get females or not. Aggression isn't dependent on the other gender, in most cases it is individual predisposition and will emerge regardless. Tom turkeys are less inclined for solitude than the hens are, they seem to miss their brothers or family unit more. My current tom would rather journey away from the coops to gobble at his reflection in the glass than hang out with hens. ;)

    Since they've been raised together there's a very strong chance they've sorted out their hierarchy already, with your more developed male likely the dominant one. This can persist peacefully and indefinitely, since it's been sorted out before they are old enough to do serious damage, and they've had the opportunity to learn body language for threats, submission, etc.

    Unfortunately many turkeys seem to have some kind of psychotic switch in their brains and can turn without warning or any apparent cause into obsessively violent birds. It's pretty strongly genetic and often kicks in after two years old though I once had issues with weeks-old chicks getting into serious fights and being mentally unable to stop. One of my hens also killed another turkey hen; she'd been raised by a good mother with other turkeys so it wasn't a lack of socialization at fault, but she just decided the other hen had to die and after months she got her chance and smashed her. I think it was due to an inherited defect in that hen she killed (inbred spasm in response to water drops/sound/sight), but overall the killer was already showing her stripes, went from a good mother to killing her babies and attacking me too, fox actually got her before I could cull her.

    Overall I've usually had far more issues with hen violence than tom violence. Best advice there is to cull, not much else you can do or you breed it on; it's much stronger in some family lines, and in some individuals within those lines. If you have an animal which challenges, teases or 'plays' with turkeys, beware that they can permanently take offense and become mentally bent on killing that animal all day every day like there is nothing else in life until that animal is dead. Some turkeys also adopt the same mentality towards humans. They also have a gang mentality and once one turkey begins attacking generally they'll all join in.

    If a tom displays at you, tilting his tail to face you, that's a threat and should not be taken lightly since in my experience it means sooner or later he's going to attack you. It indicates he's viewing you as a threat, victim or competitor. Normally he should only be displaying at other turkeys, never even thinking of you as a player in his game so to speak.

    It's ideal to raise all male livestock with other males as well as with females and older birds of both genders in order to ensure tolerance, experience, social manners, and social violence control mechanisms are instilled before the animals hit reproductive age. A mono-gender/segregated upbringing, particularly those without the normal family unit, or in isolation with only the opposite gender, tends to be ideal circumstances for developing the most extremely violent animals of either gender. They have a lot to learn about social interactions, it's not all automatic or inherent.

    Best wishes with them.
     
  5. ACSchueler

    ACSchueler Out Of The Brooder

    43
    0
    24
    May 8, 2014
    Wisconsin
    I have the same issue now and seen this old post. What I thought was a hen looks just like yours, doesn't ever gobble or strut. Any more of an idea now that it's a couple months later?
     
  6. marchick

    marchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,351
    121
    161
    Sep 19, 2013
    Washington State
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    .I hope this helps! I have 5 narragansett turkeys 5 months old. 2 royal palms about 6 months old. 1 narragansett tom and 4 naragansett hens.The toms snood is thicker at the base and he is already hanging about 1 1/2 inches when he doesn't have his snood drawn up.The first picture naragansett tom is in the back right side.notice the hen to his left has pretty good size caruncles but the snood is small! I hope I can say this right,from what I have noticed the hens snood is small and doesn't need the blood supply so it is just there and smaller at the base.There is also a royal palm hen and tom in the first picture they are 6 months old. My guess is that in my chick sheilas third pic is a girl but time will tell. I hope this helps.
     
  7. ACSchueler

    ACSchueler Out Of The Brooder

    43
    0
    24
    May 8, 2014
    Wisconsin
    Yes I'm sticking with what I thought then, we have 2 hens! And in search of a Narragansett tom!
     
  8. Book Em Danno25

    Book Em Danno25 Overrun With Chickens

    sorry for the bad news [​IMG]
     
  9. MyChickSheila

    MyChickSheila Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    May 1, 2013
    Northeast Texas
    ACSchueler,

    I have just noticed your post about your turkeys and whether they are hens or jakes and you asked if I'd since decided what sex my turkeys are. They are indeed hens...they've even started laying eggs which I'm trying my hand at incubating. Wish me luck! LOL

    I hope you are getting eggs too and hope you've found a tom. :)
     
  10. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    4,905
    586
    286
    Apr 8, 2013
    Australia
    lol good to get an update and know for sure.

    About snoods, that ultra-aggressive turkey hen I had, who laid and incubated many clutches in her time, would also display a lot, gobble, fight, and could dangle her snood down past her beak too. But definitely a hen. Probably hormonally wonky but not sufficiently to render her sterile obviously.

    Best wishes.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by