Question on when to introduce new birds.

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by briana1975, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. briana1975

    briana1975 Songster

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    Carleton Mi.
    I have adult turkeys 1 Sweetgrass tom who is head turkey, 1 BR tom and 1 BR hen. I had put eggs into the incubator just a couple days before my SG hen was killed. We kept 3 poults. It is looking like we may have 1 male and 2 females. They have been housed seperate so far and will stay seperate untill I am sure who I am keeping. My SG tom is beautiful!! He likes me and my husband well enough but can be a bit of a bully with kids. The BR are nice. Just turkeys. So what do you turkey guru's think? Add females into main group and at what age, or sell or butcher adults and start from scratch with the new turkeys, which look to be 1 tom 2 females? Help, I keep going back and forth and can't decide what I should do.
     

  2. turkaholic

    turkaholic Songster

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    Personally, I do not introduce new birds until the breeding season stops or is close to the end. Young of the year birds can go with the adults at about 14 weeks or when they get enough size to take care of themselves when the shoving match occurs.... and it will! With as small a group as yours, they will settle on a pecking order and you might not have any problems until next spring, when the 3 gobblers begin to fight for the dominant spot. I've found turkeys to be extremely variable when it comes to their "personality". Some are always nice, others act like they are the devil. You need to mix them and see what happens. If a bird is singled out and relentlessly picked on, you will have to make some changes. Adding a male to a flock of hens works the easiest, another male to an established mixed flock the hardest. Good Luck! [​IMG]
     
  3. briana1975

    briana1975 Songster

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    So once I make totally sure of the sexes of the younger ones, just adding the females only to the older turkeys would work the easiest?
     
  4. turkaholic

    turkaholic Songster

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    Yes. I've never had much problem adding young hens to a group. The boss hen will grab the young hen at the back of the neck and tug while the young bird squeals trying to get away. The young hen will submit. It looks bad, but I've never seen the hen draw blood. It is their way of establishing dominance. To be safe, watch them for a while. The birds will probably eye each other and size up before the show, so it may take a little time for things to happen (or it could be almost instantaneous). Don't be surprised if sometime in the future one of the young hens grows bold and de-thrones the old hen, or again gets her butt whipped! Turkeys, like families, have their squabbles! [​IMG]
     

  5. briana1975

    briana1975 Songster

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    Thank you. Next question... will 3 hens for the 2 toms be ok? Or should I go down to 1 tom.
     
  6. With turkey mating it's "hens choice". She will lay down for the tom she picks out, usually the alpha tom. They are like chickens in that the roo's will ride the hens to death. It's good to have a backup tom, if you only have one and something happens to him then you are out of the turkey biz until you can find another. I don't know how your luck is but if i'm not looking for something they are everywhere. When i'm looking I can't find one to save my life.

    Steve
     
  7. briana1975

    briana1975 Songster

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    Right now it's the 2 toms and 1 hen. The poor girl. She flys out of the yard by 10 or 11 each day and hangs out on her own. She really misses the other hen. This spring the toms, who were raised together, started fighting a lot. Black and blue swollen and scabbed. That was with 2 hens. Will they fight each spring no matter how many hens I add?
     

  8. turkaholic

    turkaholic Songster

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    It is not unusual for hens to separate from the gobblers once the breeding season comes to a close. In fact wild turkeys always do it. Hens, poults and some young jakes flock together, while the old toms go off, join and form a boy's club, then spend the winter as a traveling group. When the days begin to lengthen in early spring, the hormones increase, the gobblers strike off looking for hens and start to fight again. Domestic turkeys behave the same, but due to captivity are usually "forced" to stay together. Your gobblers will fight no matter, it is just their nature. Whether you have one hen or ten, one gobbler of the two will be "The Man".
     
  9. Yes they will fight no matter what. The toms fight to work out the pecking order. Once they have that worked out they calm down. I just let them sort it out and watch for major injury, haven't had any yet. I've seen some fight just about all day long. They get tired, take a break and right back at it. The white feathered varieties will have blood all over their necks when they fight, it looks like slasher movie but it wears off or washes off in the rain.

    Steve
     

  10. briana1975

    briana1975 Songster

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    Thanks I feel better now. I was forever trying to break them up this spring. Picture 5 ft redhead raving lunitic lady trying to keep the toms from fighting. I gave up about late May. Both my toms are so pretty I will just add the girls to the group in a couple weeks and the poor boy can live in the hoop house till he is big enough to butcher.

    New question. We had neighbors give us a poult about 5 weeks ago cause they knew we had chicks in the brooder. Pretty sure it is a boy. Can I put it with the other young male who will be 15 weeks old? It would be a 7week old with a 15 week old?
     

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