New tom arrived tonight!! How do I introduce him to the hens?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by chickenannie, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I free-range four Bourbon Red hens, and thought I'd just let them meet and mingle with the BR tom outside.

    Now I'm thinking maybe that's not the smartest thing... should I keep the new tom penned up first and just let them meet through the fencing? I'm guessing the hens won't approach him. So, should I put the hens into a coop with him and force them to meet? Or will fighting ensue. Last thing I want is for the tom to fly away!! It was hard finding him!
     
  2. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    You want to keep the tom penned until he calls your place "home". If you turn him loose to free range until he does you may never see him again. Since you have 4 hens he will be a happy tom. With turkeys it's hens choice on mating and actually the hens may gang up on him at first, since they are a flock and he is the outsider. It depends on his age and the age of the hens. If the hens are older they will go after him, if the other way around and he is an experienced tom they will not be bothered by him.

    One thing to think about when introducing any new bird to your flock is the chance that the new bird may have been exposed to something your flock has never been. You might want to take your least favorite or smallest hen and put her in with the tom first for about 2 weeks. That way if there are any issues it will be contained. That is our procedure when ever we bring any new birds on our farm, even though they look totaly healthy you have no idea, better safe than risk an outbreak.

    Steve in NC
     
  3. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Steve,
    You are awesome, thanks for the advice. How long should I keep the tom penned up?

    Also, I know the farm where I bought him very well -- it's a few miles away and I've been there many many times over the past years. In fact, I got started with my chicken flock from there. They pasture all their birds and I feel fairly confident about his health. He has free-ranged his whole life -- never been in a pen, besides the pasture fence. However, your advice is well-taken.

    Would you put a hen with the tom right away?
    Or wait until he gets used to his new coop for a few days? The coop is a closed 8 x 10 foot shed.

    He is between 2-2.5 years old (a very magnificent tom) whereas the hens range from 1-2 years (they had one laying season last year. Unfortunately my former tom was slain by a fox).
     
  4. Harp Turkey Ranch

    Harp Turkey Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What we do when we get a new bird is we pen up the new bird(s) where our birds can see and interact with the new one(s). This way the new bird is protected and they can get use to each other for a few days. Then after about 2-3 days we will let the new bird out in the morning with the rest and let them all range together. There will be fighting and squabbles amongst the birds but they will soon get everything figured out. Since you are just talking about hens and introducing a new tom with no other tom present then the transition could go rather quickly. I would keep the bird quarantined,as stated earlier if you don't know the farm real well. As far as him running off, this will be very unlikely since you have hens there with no other toms. We have brought in other turkeys and introduced them to our existing flock all in the same day and let them all range and never have lost one to running away and never coming back.They will stick pretty close to the other turkeys, we have had a couple that would rather sleep in different trees and on the roof of the house away from the other turkeys but after a day or two they are all in the same tree at night.
    Good luck on your new tom, hope everything works out for you and your hens.
     
  5. doubleostud

    doubleostud Chillin' With My Peeps

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    By no means I'm I a turkey farm or producer, but I have had my fair share of turkeys, and I agree with everything that the above people have said. An added plus is that with you introducing a tom, he will already be out of the pecking order (since he is the top) so it is much easier than introducing a hen into an existing flock of turkeys, but good luck.
     
  6. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks folks...
    I'm realizing I didn't do enough planning for this scenario because I thought I'd just free-range this tom. Duh. Looks like I'll be getting up EARLY tommorrow to do some "coop building" before work! Or, in my case, "assembling with bits of fencing and twine" is more like it since I'm the queen of odd-looking hillbillly chicken pens. I'm going to hang 2 fenced panels from the coop's beams down the middle inside so the tom can stay penned up for a week on one side and my pet (gimpy) roo can live on the other side.
    Thanks again everyone!~
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2009
  7. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Quote:I would put the hen in right away for a couple reasons, the hen is already part of the flock and knows the routine, turkeys are flock animals so they will better in at least pairs, if there are any health issues they should show quickly (watch for any changes in droppings or breathing problems)

    Since he is an older tom I wouldn't think there will be much problem with them, Like I said before he should be a happy tom with his new hens. lol

    I would be extra careful just bringing in any new bird. We have a local friend that is "queen of peafowl" here in eastern NC and we got a very very nice pea hen from her last year and we kind of hurt her feelings alittle bit because we put her in quarentine for 2 weeks. We have known her for years and know she has healthy animals but they are different flocks, bloodline and could have been exposed to something that wouldn't show. I would never just bring a new bird in and turn it loose with our flocks and chance hundreds of birds and years of breeding.

    Hopefully you should have eggs soon and then poults and then knee deep in turkeys. As you know "Everybody loves a turkey"

    Steve in NC
     
  8. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    And Annie and one other very important thing..... Where are the pics?????[​IMG]
     
  9. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I almost took pics this morning! It was extremely heavy fog, and when I went to check in on my new turkey tom, he escaped by flying out a tiny window! Argh. Anyway, it was fine, actually great, because my 4 RB turkey hens ran right after him and when he stopped running at the back of my house, he immediately puffed up his chest and displayed his tail. The hens seemed happy enough -- they all laid down for him, one right after another! Oh my. It took about 15 minutes for the whole event. And I was worried they would fight! Instead they all fell in love at first glance.
    I was able to herd him back into his pen for the day, and the hens seemed pleased with their new friend, cuz they went back a few times to look in his gate and check him out again. I'm really glad to have new blood in the group, too. I didn't want my last tom to breed any of his daughters.

    A question: does a tom have enough fertilization to fertilize 4 hens in a row like that? Or does it have to happen several times to make sure they lay fertile eggs. Anyone know?
     
  10. Harp Turkey Ranch

    Harp Turkey Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A question: does a tom have enough fertilization to fertilize 4 hens in a row like that? Or does it have to happen several times to make sure they lay fertile eggs. Anyone know?

    Maybe not right back to back in 15 mins. but for sure he will keep your 4 hens fertile and happy. He will fertilize all of them in the next day or two, if you keep them all together. I would just let him run with the hens, he is not going to go far from them hens and the hens are going far from their food so he should be just fine out running with the hens.​
     

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