Tom's gone missing

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by turksinmaine, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. turksinmaine

    turksinmaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was wondering if anyone out there may know what to do. My turkeys go in a enclosed coop nightly, have been doing so since beginning. Anyhow every so often I count them to make sure al there. Today all hens are accounted for, But 2 toms are missing. looked off at distance and at least 4 turkeys were flying lower from higher trees. this was just as it was getting dark. Apparently out of assumption they werte calling to the hens due to the hens were making noises but avoiding the birds in distance.
    So 2 of my 10 month old bourbon reds are with at least flock of two wild birds. Will they come back? should I worry? any info appreciated.
     
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Don't know what sort of schedule you're on so this may not be possible. Get out just before the sky starts to lighten up in the predawn and let the hens out into the run (you do have a fenced run?). This is so the hens will start the call & response "congregational" vocalizations, immediately. The Wilds & Bourbon boys ought to head back toward the hens (unless the two Wilds you saw were only part of a larger cohort intent on making rounds of foraging sites). Keep plenty of water/scratch/Black Oil Sunflower seeds out in yard/wood line, etc. (place so direct line of sight to hens). I expect the Bourbons will probably wander back in in the A.M. sometime and if someone will be home to keep checking, then they can be herded back into run. Don't let the hens out of coop unless someone will be around (if you have run, turn them out). If the boys stay out "somewhere", hens might well light out for the territories, as well. If one's flock is imprinted on one's place then keeping even one turkey in the run while the others are ranging around property will, more often than not, serve as a magnet to keep them together (though on opposite sides of fence). Don't know how much, if any, snow you have on ground. If there is, then I'd put on the head lamp/grab spot and go out and follow tracks (should be plenty near/around base of the trees you saw them roosting in). At least you'll know where they are in the early A.M. and can go out and encourage an early wake up by firing a shot off/yelling loudly, etc. (Wilds likely to fly off/Bourbons likely to fly down for easy herding). We have winter flocks of up to thirty Easterns that "hang out" in one of the clearings out back, when taking a break from their appointed rounds. Our turkeys are in a fenced run, so there is a lot of "talk" but no wandering. Summer/Winter Wilds (t-post&fence is limit of our turk run): [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. turksinmaine

    turksinmaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks, I'll give it a try. Yes, I am up before light and there is some snow here. I had a feeling that maybe my hens are what is keeping them close, just worry that they might encourage my hens to wander off also. Is it possible that the wild birds are eating from inside coop also? for the past week or so it seems that the hens are eating a bit more than usual.
    Oh and yes I do have 6 foot fencing to keep the predators from my birds, but do not clip my turkeys wings to discourage flight , I have it around acres of the property.
    thinking about it, I am basing all this on hopeful assumption. I see 4 wild birds in a slight distance swooping down from the tips of hardwood trees, maybe 80' above down to lower branches but only before some sort of calling to my hens, which I stated before was ignoring. Counting minutes latertr only to find I had 2 missing bourbon red 10 month old toms, wanting to think the better side of things, that my 2 missing birds was amonst the 4 wild birds from above. Which was to far to see color but from size of body and wings they were clearly turkeys. Also one of the birds from distance sounded like a hen, not min of course. mine were all accounted for. But the worse possibility that the problem was of human sort. before I last counted the birds was about a week or so and since I had left for up to half to two thirds of a dsay before returning near dark to dARK TO SECURE THE TURKEYS FOR THE NIGHT.

    update: I JUST GOT FINISHED OBSERVING OUT THERE IN THE AREA WHERE I SAW THE BIRDS SWOOPING DOWN. IT HAS BEEN LIGHT FOR AROUND 25 MINUTES NOW. ON THE GROUND SEVERAL SMALL FOOTED UNKNOWN PRINTS IN SNOW LEADING EVERYWHERE BUT NO SIGN OF ANY BIRDS IN OR NEAR THE TREES BESIDES MY OWN ON THE GROUND. if I CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED THESE BIRDS IN THE TREES AND ANY POSSIBILITY THAT MY 2 ARE AMONST THEM. DO YPOU THINK THEY WILL BE BACK? WOULD THEY KNOW WAY BACK, OR?
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Sorry to hear they didn't "sound off", or wander back. Can't address human pred,, though unless turkey run/coop is easily accessed (visible) from road, or someone found them wandering? Call all neighbors and let them know to give you a call if they see them.

    Could they have gotten spooked by a pred (though I'd think all the turks would have taken to wing) Jakes/toms will go wandering to A. find hens, B. spar for breeding rights. However, this would be more likely to happen from late Feb. on, not in late January. If penned up, it is the hens that are most likely to take to the wing (almost always in order to go nesting in an unauthorized location)

    Since there is snow on ground: Pack up a bag of Black Oil Sunflower seeds/Scratch, etc. Begin searching for turkey tracks just outside run and start spiralling out from there. Sure, the jakes/toms fly, but they prefer to remain on the ground when not roosting.. Place piles of seed on downed snags/clear area of ground with foot and place pile. Clearings/along banks of drainages, etc. Hopeful you will at least be able to ID tracks before it snows again and you have to start search/baiting all over. Also, if home at sundown, go out and listen for yelps/breaking branches (usually what they do in process of roosting).

    Yes, they can get lost. However, our neighbor had a good sized flock, some years back. There is a little over ten acres of dense underbrush/hardwood and cedar between properties. Late Feb. and two toms and three hens hoofed it over here through the woods, spent the day on opposite sides of the 6ft. fencing trilling challenges, hens whining, etc. - then their flock wandered down to the road, at sundown, and marched, single file, up the road to their property. Bring this up as it is A. very unusual to have the jakes fly over fence, even if challenged by toms/smitten by hens B. If "imprinted" on "their" "range", they usually don't get lost - particularly if within sound of the vocalizations of hens.

    Sure hope someone didn't get in run and take jakes! When searching - call out loudly with whatever vocalization you know to make jakes "gobble" (ours hate my whistling tunes).

    Don't give up on search, or calling. Check/replenish your "seed pile" trap lines for at least a couple weeks (there have to be big turkey tracks SOMEWHERE nearby).

    Best of luck!
     
  5. memphis

    memphis Overrun With Chickens

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    Good luck....keep us posted. Sure hope they return home....
     
  6. turksinmaine

    turksinmaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks for all the info. I'll give it a try, I would like to be hopeful than to think a neighbor, etc. would do such a thing.
     
  7. turksinmaine

    turksinmaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    well, no bird yet and although I cannot completely rule out this tom abandoned his home, I have laid suspicions of human involvement causing my tom to go missing.
    I have two breeds. Bronze and bourbon reds. And as we all know the bronze grow quicker and in the ending result is give or take 5-7 lb. larger than the bourbon.
    Anyhow it is my bronze bird that is missing, and of course not the smaller of the few bronze I have, it is my largest overall turkey of all my birds that has gone missing. My chosen breeder bird is missing. I know I cannot prematurely accuse anyone, and will not unless I would catch the person red handed. But although could be a slight coincidence, it does establish some concerns being my largest bird. All my birds are same age btw, 11 months next week. with several dozen birds in my flock.
    If someone had taken my bird it overall being as disturbing as it is and touchy subject this is as to whom it most likely possible would have taken him, gives me 2 people one of which is a neighbor and the other being a tenant of my building. He has not been here that long. I counted my toms and hens twice after xmas holiday due to if any of my birds would be taken it would be around then.so it gives me an open window of two or so weeks that knowing on the occasions that I left he was here and by the time got home he had left. And of course definitely I would never outright accuse anyone. I do want to stop this whomever this could be possibly doing this before it completely gets out of hand. So any advice on some good equipment for outdoor? I was thinking a coop cam of sort.
     
  8. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    O.K., now this sounds familiar. I mentioned that our closest neighbors' flock marched over here, for a couple of years in a row (old thread about it): https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/40700/ah-heck-wheres-the-lek. Four years before, they only had a Bourbon tom & BBB hen - out of which they had hatched several broods and the poults sold. We are in the boonies, but the County finally got around to paving our road and the traffic increased. Got a call from them, one day, shortly after the "infrastructure upgrade" asking if we'd seen their tom. We searched our woods and never so much as a feather was found. As the Bourbon was HUGE (biggest I'd ever seen) and very friendly, and unpenned in their front yard most of the time? We concluded he'd been swiped by a human(s).

    Definitely get cams up (even a fake cam on eave of house, etc. - so a human can't get to it but can't help but see it), lock flock in run when not at home and perform daily head counts.

    So, Bourbon jakes aren't missing? Good luck on finding tom & catching the culprit!
     
  9. turksinmaine

    turksinmaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sorry did not respond earlier, i have been real busy as of late.
    I was thinking to maybe set up cams and get a dvr. at least nowadays they are not so expensive. I don't think i'll ever see that tom again no matter what. All my birds are large enough to process. And as I stated, when you notice you are missing a bird when you have many, and just so happens to be your largest bird you can bet assured that the culprit responsible is a predator that walks on 2 legs.
    I really hope none of you have to go through this, I mean, its not so much about the bird, I've got plenty of them. It's about a certain trust I had in this neighborhood that is gone now. I mean, I have suspicions whom it was. cannot prove it. But just makes me understand that even in the quiet safe neighborhood that I live in that was particularly chosen for that reason which surely felt was worth the extra taxes due to the neighborhood, to have someone , whom I believe to have taken it, welcomed at my home with open arms, to have committed such act of betrayal and to have taken the one thing from me I so proudly had. And that was safety.as for my belongings anyhow. Of course I am not one of those that walk around blind to the world and leave all my doors unlocked day and night even when I am gone, full of nothing but worry free trust in the world. But when someone whom is willing to trespass into a coop out to the run to grab one of my birds, risking themselves all just for a damb bird, doesn't make me feel well pertaining the rest, particularly my belongings in the home, etc. I have some pretty expensive valuables that could be looted. well sorry to ramble on for time is getting on, got to go.
     
  10. poorfarm

    poorfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't know how you are situated there, but I keep a Maremma livestock guard dog with my poultry, pastures and coops are all inside a fence, and so is some expensive equipment. The dog is around 80 lbs., very active, and comes across as VERY threatening in the tone of his barking and his immediate rush to the fence toward any movement. So there's a real deterrent to anyone with bad intentions who approaches a fence or gate. The sort of good, sort of bad, part is that the dog is actually harmless unless he knocked you down playing and hurt you stomping around on you. So he won't eat some little kid that accidentally gets inside. Although. . . . back when I had a sheep farm I had a dog of similar disposition, an English Mastiff, and I thought she was OK with people but some guy showed up one day asking about buying sheep and she didn't like him one bit. I did not sell him anything and never saw him again. I suspect the dogs read subliminal cues better than we do. At any rate a good dog is a good investment and will give you a lot of peace of mind about predators both 4 legged and 2 legged.[​IMG]
     

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