turkey fighting question

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by davearcade, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. davearcade

    davearcade Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 29, 2014
    Hello. This is our first year raising turkeys. We have 8 bourbon reds that are around 4 months old. I was hoping to keep a breeding flock, but it seems we have 7 jakes and 1 hen. I'd still like to keep the hen and a tom. My question is should I separate them now or can I leave them all together until processing? They are fighting more now, but it's not too brutal. Just looking for advice.
     
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    BOCOMO
    Separate out the jake that seems the liveliest/largest and place that jake and hen together in a run that is out-ot-sight of the run in which you are keeping the other jakes. Feed bags/black "garden" fabric stretched out along fencing at "head/eye ht." will cut down on the attempted "fly-outs" (trying to get to the others).

    The isolated jakes will spar intermittently as that is what jakes do (feed conversion won't be 100% devoted to "meat" production), but removing female (and keeping breeding male from being banged up more) will usually prevent sparring beyond the level of "pecking order" disputes, assuming they have a large run and places to hide roost (retreats for losers).
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  3. turksinmaine

    turksinmaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2015
    my turkeys are fighting and have been for week or so. They are only 5 weeks old. most other posts are ones 4 months or older. No blood drawn yet, alot of reddened necks and tops of heads though. Is that a sign of huge trouble for me them starting this young. Too early for me to sx them to seperate hens, what should I do? Do they normally fight like that at this age or am I possibly doing or not doing something right?
     
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Some of same advice as I posted previously, along with: plenty of roosts in corners of run (2"x2"s at 24" above ground) and other locations for those that wish to retreat to do so (they usually don't back off but will get up on roosts to take a break). Keep a bottle of betadine handy to daub any open wounds. If you have a lot of flies and you notice them lighting on abrasions - a tiny bit of Adams tick & flea spray will keep them off. Our jakes never had wounds that became infected and they healed up pretty quickly (born to spar). Assuming yours have lots of room to rumble, just keep an eye out for any sustained ganging up on any particular bird (separate). You can also separate preemptively (at 5 weeks this should work well) separate out a different poult, every day (pref. the most aggressive). Crowding can result in more sustained and potentially damaging bouts. Also, at 5 weeks of age they can fly up to a roost to retreat. Ours started early and were pretty brutal. We applied the old school "remedy" pine tar to their head and necks - seemed to slow them down a bit as the taste is appalling, but that was at 10 weeks. Took awhile before a pecking order was achieved (three jakes in our first bunch). However, the loser took the worst "real" damage from the jennies (actually trying to remove divots of flesh from low guys on totem pole) and had to separate the females for a week (seemed to forget about their wanting to coup de grace the fella). Again, at 5 weeks, the sparring is more play than serious practice and is shouldn't be a dawn to dusk affair (give them a couple of months more). By three/four months they can often be absolutely intent on sparring and nothing else. The greatest potential for serious injury is their knocking over ladders/grills, etc.. Once they get their order established they will get along fine. Come breeding season, take precautions outlined in my previous post. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
  5. turksinmaine

    turksinmaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks for the info, very helpful. not very encouraging I have to admit. fly alright, they can sure do that alright. To get them to come indoor near night gives me plenty of exercise. I am really looking forward when they figure out the tree roosting thing, as I have plenty of them.said sarcastically as far as the fighting is concerned, guess I no longer need to order the UFC pay per view, I have ring side all day long in my own back yard.
     
  6. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    They don't fight all the time. Most of the year they're just happy to follow one around, to see what's what. In the evenings, when "rounding" them up, get a couple of 4-6ft. bamboo garden poles and place one in each hand and, with arms/poles outstretched to sides, SLOWLY herd them in the direction you want them to go (turkey funnel). Apparently, back in the day, a couple of boys, with this sort of tool, would herd up to 300 turkeys to market over several miles. Out for a walk: [​IMG]
     
  7. turksinmaine

    turksinmaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    another good pointer, thanks.
     

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