STRANGE question: Stop poults from pecking---my teeth??

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Poultator, May 26, 2016.

  1. Poultator

    Poultator Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello all! I have quite the strange predicament.

    I recently hatched out three poults, keeping a pair to raise for educational purposes; planning on bringing them to several 'petting zoo' events in the coming year. I have them hand tamed (maybe too tame, as they cry constantly when they can't see me), am working on showmanship training, and am now getting ready to get them used to being in public. However, there is one problem that could be a big one. They have developed a sudden fascination with teeth!

    During our bonding sessions, I lay with my poults on a towel as I watch tv, use the computer, etc. On Wednesday we were snuggling and they got a little rambunctious. As I went to open my mouth to talk, suddenly they stopped and all eyes were intently staring at me. I went to talk again and they rushed at me and started trying to peck in my mouth! Since then, every time I open my mouth they come running and squeal when I block their way. The (jake?) is much more pushy than my (jenny?), whom loses interest after "she" realizes that I wont let them do it!

    Now this may be cute (if not a little gross) now, but not so much when they become a 14-23 pound birds! Plus, working with children, I hope to bring a smile to their face. That will be hard to do when a turkey pecks their teeth out!

    Thank you so much for any advice you may have.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Teeth are shiny and white - they are highly attractive to poultry as a target item.....so are eyeballs. The best "fix" is prevention -- don't allow them access to your face, period, because they can do serious damage.
     
  3. memphis

    memphis Overrun With Chickens

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    Yeah...if I pass out in my turkey pen I hope I go face first.
     
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  4. ShannonR

    ShannonR Out Of The Brooder

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    I would try to wear a lot of shiny(white maybe?) Jewlery during this training phase, do the poults go after that too? Best to teach them not to do this sooner than later. Fake teeth for turkey training maybe?

    FWIW, if my turkeys are in public and someone wants to pet them, I always hold the bird facing me so there is less of a chance this sort of thing happens to someone else.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  5. Poultator

    Poultator Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh yes! Lukily these two aren't like that with eyes, or I'd be in trouble, LOL.
    [​IMG]

    Of course, I will definitely teach the children proper handling before letting them hold them, and will supervise too.
    What I have been doing is actually letting them do it. Sounds counter intuitive I know, but they are actually doing it much less frequently. I think they are figuring out teeth aren't food and there isn't a reward for that behavior. The jenny has stopped completely, and the jake is becoming disinterested.
     
  6. ShannonR

    ShannonR Out Of The Brooder

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    That's a creative solution, glad to hear it works for you!

    I imagine your method must be somewhat akin to using ceramic eggs for egg eaters, if there is nothing good that comes from pecking them they'll eventually lose interest.

    Just please, keep in mind the fact turkeys can do significant damage to a kid if anything goes wrong. Even with teaching the children good handling techniques there is still a chance the turkey could suddenly feel threatened, want to get away, or maybe just be having a bad day and become unpredictable. That's why I like to closely supervise when letting kids pet my birds at shows, ect.
    For me this means holding the turkey so they can't flap or flog anyone with those wings , and keeping their head near me to reduce chances of biting or pecking.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
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  7. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    I found out about the eyeball thing yesterday, unfortunately. Gah! I don't think I'll be trying your technique for getting her to lose interest, though. Lol
     
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