Turkey attacked. Curious what may be the culprit.

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by cupman, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. cupman

    cupman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Portland, OR
    I woke up the other morning and noticed a huge pile of feathers outside. As I got closer I realized they were feathers that belong to my turkey. I kind of freaked out and went to the coop and opened the door but there was my royal palm tom. He had feathers ripped out of him but he was not bloody and he seemed perfectly normal.. like he wasn't limping and he doesn't seem freaked out or anything. I can rule out neighbor dogs because I don't really have any, and I live in a semi remote area that doesn't get much traffic. The two biggest threats are coyotes and raccoons. I just wonder if a raccoon would really go for a turkey. But I also think if a coyote went for a turkey that it would be successful. Maybe not, though. Another thing to note is that all 23 of my chickens were accounted for. So it just attacked him. I almost think the chickens would have been the easier grab. I'm still a little new to turkeys. I would be interested to see what you guys think.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    I would say more than likely it was a raccoon...they kill (or attempt to kill) just for the thrill of it. A coyote on the other hand would have dragged it off to the pack. So sorry and I hope your turkey gets better quickly!
     
  3. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    BOCOMO

    Was the turkey attacked and then retreated to coop & closed himself in??? Unclear on whether the guy was roosting outside, sleeping on ground in run/outside fencing/etc - pred carried turkey out & turkey got away?

    Really check him over closely (particularly torso - toward tail & flanks) under feathers. These guys can look perfectly fine and be sporting puncture wounds/lacerations. If no damage to skin integrity from teeth/claws - check areas where feathers were lost; were primaries/rectrices/coverts broken & bleeding or actually grabbed as in a vise and pulled right out at the base of the shafts?

    Where on the turk's body did it lose the feathers (just tail feathers/flight feathers/etc. How were the feathers pulled out spread on ground (clumped in one spot - lined up as if turk was chased - if roosting in tree it could have been struck by owl - random spread of various feathers).

    More info/observations would be good - I'd guess, with the precis provided - fox - or nervous coyote (didn't stick around to complete attack) - or attack occurred when light was such (near dawn) that turk could organize retreat/flight. Only raccoon success in this area? Nesting hens/turkeys roosting in trees (neighbor's turks used big Osage Orange tree - one raccoon climbed and stalked - hens flew down in dark into brush - second coon, on ground, grabbed bourbon hen and broke her neck - then ate all the meat off of the neck (neighbor interrupted meal at that point).
     
  4. cupman

    cupman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, guys. Some more info... It happened late in the day but it was still light out because it happened in my front yard and the coop is in the back. I normally lock the coop up around 7:30pm but I didn't get home until about 9:30 this night. He put himself to roost and he did it inside the coop. He never sleeps outside. I did not see the feathers because it was dark when I got home. The feathers were in one big pile, not spread out more than a couple feet. Very similar to when I have lost chickens. It has been a few days and the turkey seems fine. I have fed him some treats and got a closer look at him. The feathers that ripped out come from his body and it looks like they were yanked out. Makes me think raccoon. His feathers look a little chewed up but I have closely watched him the past few days and I am pretty confident that he is not injured. I also saw some raccoon activity about two weeks ago. On a couple nights he had climbed in my run to drink some water and set off the motion detector. I normally do not shoot predators that do their business at night when the birds are safe. The more I think about it the more guilty the raccoons look.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  5. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Thanks for penciling in the fine points. A turkey NOT seeing a raccoon approaching, while it is still light? I'd still guess some canid or other (rush in-chomp-turkey goes airborne! barking/yipping mouthful of feathers). Not saying that raccoons can't move fast/change their schedules to match prey availability, or that turks don't start getting a bit low & logy & inattentive around sundown - but ours have `uncovered' a couple of raccoons sleeping up in White Oak/Hickory trees while out free ranging in the evenings (June/July). Like the chickens, the turkeys give out the ground pred alert (mostly the hens `pweeting'-putting) while the flock arranges itself in a loose circle around the base of the tree - heads canted over with one eye fixed on the coon, through the leaf clutter. Coon is shot and tumbles down. The turks, unlike the chooks (fly/run/squalk until twenty, or so, feet away) only back off a few feet - stretching out their necks to evaluate how much of a threat remains. Turks also remember what goes where (chooks never `think' to check): [​IMG] We've had very good luck with cheap baby monitors - if one is home they are invaluable - (growling chooks/`pweeting' turkey hens - grab spot & rifle) and keeping traps set at all times (raccoons, in particular, prefer the easy meal - we went to three traps after being alerted to trouble at 3AM - look out and one raccoon is in trap while the other two are on the top of the chicken coop pulling up the shingles from the plywood roof). Maybe electric poultry netting would be a viable option? Good luck getting whatever it/they is/are!
     

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