Single Blue Slate Jake

ColtHandorf

Crowing
Feb 19, 2019
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Commerce, Texas
Well the little poult I was "gifted" back in the summer is definitely a young male. I've known for months but finally heard his first gobble this morning. He is a single, currently living with a flock of mixed colored Orpingtons and a pair of American Buff geese.

I've bred Bourbon Reds, Blacks, Royal Palms, and Eastern Wild turkeys in the past but have never kept a single. I'm obviously looking to get him some hens, but as he's maturing what sort of trouble am I looking at? He absolutely adores my White Orpington pullet. He struts for her and keeps her male siblings from harassing her. He's well behaved and curious with me and goes to bed like a good boy every night with the chickens in their house. I just don't want a surprise one day.
 

R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
6 Years
Feb 24, 2013
12,103
38,312
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Natrona County, Wyoming
Well the little poult I was "gifted" back in the summer is definitely a young male. I've known for months but finally heard his first gobble this morning. He is a single, currently living with a flock of mixed colored Orpingtons and a pair of American Buff geese.

I've bred Bourbon Reds, Blacks, Royal Palms, and Eastern Wild turkeys in the past but have never kept a single. I'm obviously looking to get him some hens, but as he's maturing what sort of trouble am I looking at? He absolutely adores my White Orpington pullet. He struts for her and keeps her male siblings from harassing her. He's well behaved and curious with me and goes to bed like a good boy every night with the chickens in their house. I just don't want a surprise one day.
The surprise is coming. When breeding season arrives, he will start trying to breed the chickens. It usually does not work out well for the chickens. It is not a good idea to keep a lone male turkey with chickens.
 

ColtHandorf

Crowing
Feb 19, 2019
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Commerce, Texas
When breeding season arrives, he will start trying to breed the chickens.
That is precisely what I was worried about. I kept my breeding turkeys in with chickens and didn't have issues before, but obviously they had turkey hens to breed with. I don't honestly remember how old the jakes were when they started getting interested in breeding. He's probably about 6 months old now. When should he start feeling "the urge"?
 

R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
6 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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Natrona County, Wyoming
That is precisely what I was worried about. I kept my breeding turkeys in with chickens and didn't have issues before, but obviously they had turkey hens to breed with. I don't honestly remember how old the jakes were when they started getting interested in breeding. He's probably about 6 months old now. When should he start feeling "the urge"?
Since you are in Texas, the days are getting long enough that it could start anytime now.
 

ColtHandorf

Crowing
Feb 19, 2019
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Commerce, Texas
Really? It was 36 degrees this morning and doesn't get much over 50 during the day. I thought I remembered mine previously starting in the latter part of Spring and dropping off in the hot part of the summer. And for my life I couldn't remember when the jakes actually started breeding.

One other random question, all my heritage breed toms before couldn't clear a 5 foot fence. This little troublemaker can launch flat footed and go up and over the fence and land in the pasture still. Are Blue Slates able to maintain that level of flight or once he's a bit older he'll find himself grounded?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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Really? It was 36 degrees this morning and doesn't get much over 50 during the day. I thought I remembered mine previously starting in the latter part of Spring and dropping off in the hot part of the summer. And for my life I couldn't remember when the jakes actually started breeding.
Fertility, an the resultant egg laying, is triggered by the lengthening days rather than temp. My (chicken) hens have just started laying again and Willie is getting busier.
 

ColtHandorf

Crowing
Feb 19, 2019
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Commerce, Texas
That's true but turkeys, like geese and other birds not domesticated as long as chickens tend to be seasonal. Generally lengthening days coincide with warmer temperatures so in my head they just get lumped together.
 

R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
6 Years
Feb 24, 2013
12,103
38,312
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Natrona County, Wyoming
Really? It was 36 degrees this morning and doesn't get much over 50 during the day. I thought I remembered mine previously starting in the latter part of Spring and dropping off in the hot part of the summer. And for my life I couldn't remember when the jakes actually started breeding.

One other random question, all my heritage breed toms before couldn't clear a 5 foot fence. This little troublemaker can launch flat footed and go up and over the fence and land in the pasture still. Are Blue Slates able to maintain that level of flight or once he's a bit older he'll find himself grounded?
Yearling Slate toms can fly very well. At two they are developing enough weight and have other things on their minds that they tend to forget that they can fly. I did have a four year old tom that surprised me with how well he could fly when necessary.

My current yearling toms have no problem clearing a 6' fence.
 

R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
6 Years
Feb 24, 2013
12,103
38,312
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Natrona County, Wyoming
That's true but turkeys, like geese and other birds not domesticated as long as chickens tend to be seasonal. Generally lengthening days coincide with warmer temperatures so in my head they just get lumped together.
@aart is correct about it being the length of daytime hours. It will be a lot colder than what you are getting now when breeding season starts here in mid February once the daylight hours are long enough at this latitude.

It is also why turkeys are seasonal layers and why people that provide them with supplemental light can get them laying fertile eggs in December and January.
 
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