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Tom turkey with laying hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by waddles99, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want a Tom turkey to guard my flock against hawks, since roosters are illegal. I have 30 chickens in my flock, all hens. Turkey would be a single male, bronze breasted, no other turkeys. My question is, would I have to worry about the turkeys mating with the hens? I do not want fertilized eggs.
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Turkey wont mate your hens. Also don't know how protective he would be. Hawks swoop down and carry off their victims quickly. They have good eyesight and pick their targets well. I think protective overhead netting would provide better protection. It is not always practical in everyones circumstances.
     
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    When we had a single tom, he did attempt to mate the chickens (boys and girls, he did not discriminate). My concern wasn't the eggs being fertilized by him, which I'm not sure is even possible, but the size difference between them. Seeing a chicken squashed under a very large turkey didn't sit well with me, so we promptly got him a couple of ladies of his own and moved him to a new pen. So, you might consider at least a pair.

    Anyway, turkeys have excellent eyesight and they hear very well, so they do make great alarms. My turkeys signal when they think something isn't right and all of my chickens dive for cover.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  4. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What I did hear is to keep the tom in a separate pen, but next to the chickens, so he couldn't have access to them, but still warn them when danger was coming.
     
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    That may work, but I'd think a single bird would live a pretty lonely life. Even being next to the chickens, he'd still be cooped up and roosting alone. Our tom has a few chickens living in his coop now, and he doesn't bother them other than occasionally chasing them from treats, but I wouldn't dare remove his hens for the fear that he'd go right back to harassing the chickens again!
    Maybe it was just our boy, I'm sure others have kept single turkeys in a flock of chickens. The OP could always give it a try, and acquire a hen later if the tom starts causing problems. Or, skip the tom altogether and just get a hen. The see and hear just as well and they'll lay eggs. Toms are good for breeding and eating feed. Sure, they're pretty and impressive, but without hens to take care of, they're just taking up space and upping the feed bill (in my opinion, anyway).
     
  6. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I could maybe keep him with a couple turkey hens…if space allows
     

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