Perhaps I've Had Enough

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by thaiturkey, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Songster

    Feb 22, 2010
    I've accepted that turkeys are like a bunch of kids out of school with nothing to do but hang around making mischief. I've accepted that they poop all night in the coop like a pack of small dogs. I've fed them well, had them inoculated and looked after then like babies. I've not really got used to the deaths of poults or the fighting.

    Today is a bit too much. Our toms still outnumber the hens and that causes fighting nearly every day. Early this morning, the young toms decided that they too wanted to mate. Two hens are separated with chicks and two others are sitting on nests on the land having been unable to reach the coop for standing flood water when they started to lay. That leaves one mature hen who is laying and other hens only just about ready to mate. I heard the all too common fighting and didn't go to investigate. Minutes later, my wife found a hen in shock with the feathers ripped from her back. She was still breathing but died on the way to the vet.

    I don't feel at the moment that I want to put up with this. We have fourteen one month old poults and, potentially, two or three dozen on the way. The problems will get worse. Buyers want mainly hens and we don't have enough to sell without completely wrecking the male to female ration and making matters worse still.

    I don't know what I'm looking to achieve in posting this but I need to get it off my chest and there may be a reply that helps me to solve this quickly one way or the other. The only solution in my mind at the moment is wholesale slaughter and finish with turkeys but I may regret that as soon as it's done.

  2. Preservation Acres

    Preservation Acres Songster

    Dec 31, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Could you possibly sell some of your males at below market rate? Sell them at a price that's sure to sell...or even give some away?
  3. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Time to cull a few.
  4. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Songster

    Feb 22, 2010
    Thanks, Preservation Acres.

    I've advertised all of them today on a major community forum here in the hope that at least a few will go to people who want to breed them. I may strike lucky and sell them all. The price isn't important except to the extent that, if they are too cheap, they may go to people who will not kill them humanely. I've taken good care of them and they deserve a better destiny than that.

  5. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    thaiturkey, I'm so sorry to hear about the problems you've had. The flooding was bad enough without problems within the flock. Does this mean you're done with turkeys? Do you have other poultry?
  6. Omniskies

    Omniskies Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Reduce your numbers down to a pair - maybe a trio. Turkeys genuinely are worth it, and when you only have a few of them you can appreciate their unhealthy curiosity and finally enjoy them.

    Even for people who have had turkeys for a while a large flock can be too much. Especially if you have too many males. You can always hire someone to dress the extra males out for you and sell off the majority of the survivors.

    If you decide you can't stand them after keeping back just a pair then you can sell them, as well. But at least give a couple of birds a chance to show you how enjoyable those crazy birds can be. With all of the flaws mine have I couldn't get rid of them. Especially my pathetic Blue Palm tom who follows me around the yard every day when I do my feeding.
  7. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Songster

    Feb 22, 2010
    Thanks for the helpful and supportive replies.

    We have some laying chickens that, apart from losing two by drowning, haven't been a problem and are very easy to please.

    I have to consider this carefully. Culling is a quick way to reduce the problem if I can find someone who will do it properly. There would be a race to get the meat for our freezer because half of the village would be looking for a handout. I don't begrudge that but minced turkey cooked with chili and garlic is a waste of my efforts. I don't yet know how they will taste compared with the factory birds I've eaten so far.

    Even if I keep a few, the problem will return because they seem to be laying all year. So far, there have been eggs in March, June and September, October and November.

    The atmosphere at home is not good today. My wife was already impatient with the fighting and my disinclination to take a vacation. There's no-one that I would trust with the poults even for a few days. Boredom sets in quickly with the locals and they would be likely to sneak away as soon as we got around the corner. My mood is not the best either!

    Perhaps I've allowed myself to get too attached to them. If I saw this just as a business, I would curse the financial loss and carry on. What's getting at me is the traumas that disturb my day and the brutality of the turkeys' lives. Maybe I'm too soft for this.

  8. longranger

    longranger Songster

    Apr 23, 2009
    laguna hills CA
    Sorry to hear of your traumas. Think many of us keeping turkeys can relate to your pain. From the number of birds you have, space etc. some of the problems sound inevitable. Sad but true each year most of the toms and any inferior hens need to be culled to avoid exactly what you just experienced. Turkeys are fun, curious birds but like chickens can be very brutal to one another. Culling and providing plenty of space are the only way to avoid disturbing fights and occasional losses of adults. Try culling most of your toms not destined for breeding be it by sale or butcher. IMHO it is less cruel than keeping them in an environment that "pushes their buttons" to fight. I reached that conclusion after a couple of bad experiences with my turkeys. Keeping the numbers in check and the ratio of hens to toms at 2 or 3 to 1 eliminated serious fighting. The fighting started in toms as young as 4 months even if they were raised together when modestly crowded.

    On a more positive note once you get a system you can enjoy your breeders and feel no guilt over making good use of the extras. Can even get away with treating a select few as pets. Take time to think it over after the excess males are culled. Suspect your more serene flock will bring you great joy again.
  9. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Songster

    Feb 22, 2010

    Many thanks for your advice and encouragement. I think I must start with a cull soon if no buyers come forward quickly so a measure cull of some toms might be the best first step. The way things are here today, my wife might cull me first! I'm not feeling very sociable.

  10. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    So sorry. [​IMG]

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