turkey fights

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by bibliophile birds, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. my turkey pen has turned into a gladiator arena.

    these are the first turkeys i've ever had, so it's been very "learn as you go." i've got 2 Bourbon Reds and 2 Royal Palms. i was thinking that one of the Bourbon Reds was a hen, but i'm pretty sure they're all boys now. they are somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5 months old.

    today, the biggest, a Royal Palm, was herding the other Royal Palm. the big one was in constant body contact, wings extended like it was corralling the other one. it wasn't particularly aggressive but it was definitely up to something. the smaller one was just trying to get away. then, the bigger Bourbon Red decided to get in on the action and started fighting the bigger Royal Palm. then the little Bourbon Red, who i originally thought might be a hen, started fighting too! the only one that didn't want to fight was the smaller Royal Palm, the one that was getting herded.

    so, would it be a pretty safe guess that they are all males and the hormones have started to kick in? should i be worried about the fighting? they aren't easy to break up- the water hose hardly phased them. i had to physically get between them to get their attention. their pen is next to the Silkie pen and there are 3 little Silkie girls, 2.5 months old, in there. could they be the cause of the drama?

  2. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Songster

    Feb 22, 2010
    We are going through the first learning curve too. We have a mature stag and three others that have just found their feet as males. They fight for supremacy, a war that might continue for a while as the three still grow. They also become aggressive when one pursues a hen.

    The bad news for you is that yours haven't even started to fight yet. Most days with ours are peaceful but when they get it into their heads to fight it's no holds barred. They will hang onto each other's faces with their beaks and run around quite violently. Sometimes all four will be locked together like that charging around in a mass of feathers and feet. Parting them is difficult and doesn't last. I grab two by the neck but they pull backwards against my hand and hurt themselves so I have to release them to fight again. Even the loser won't give up. Eventually, they become exhausted and stop. Then they walk around like old buddies out for a stroll.

    You may have this continually unless you get some hens to join them and that may still not be the end. We have only five hens to the four stags until the poults get older so I expect the fighting to continue for a while longer.

    Have fun and I wish you luck. [​IMG]
  3. yep, that's what they were up to- grabbing face and neck skin and jerking each other around. to me, it looked pretty brutal, but they all seemed injury free when they finally gave up. i'm gonna keep an closer eye on them.

    i had hoped to end up with one breeding pair and 2 for the freezer. now that i know i've got 4 boys, i'm thinking they might all end up in the freezer. i'd like to keep one of the BRs but i hate to just have one lone turkey until spring when i get more. i guess i need to make that decision soon...
  4. boxermom

    boxermom Songster

    Feb 22, 2009
    Last year was my first w/ turkeys too. I had 3 hens and 3 toms. All grew up together and were fine. Until...I walked outside one day and one of the hens layed down when I walked past. The next day, not even 10 minutes after I let the birds out of the barn, I had a dead tom. He was the smallest. I don't know if the big tom broke his neck or what. I found a 1 in. laceration on his back, but it wasn't deep and certainly not life threatening. I knew the dead tom was healthy, so we processed him. Right after I collected the dead tom, the big one went after the other tom. Needless to say, we processed both turkeys that day, a little sooner than I had planned, but it worked out well anyway. I kept the big tom and he has been very good. No aggression to anyone. He is a little stressed now as the new poults are growing up... I am watching...
  5. BarneyChick97

    BarneyChick97 Songster

    Nov 8, 2011
    Mt. Vernon, Washington
    We had 4 turkeys this past fall-all females. Two bronze, 2 white. The bronze were only about 1 month older than the 2 whites. We got them as pairs at the same time, obviously 2 different times. Each "dominant" female of the pairs grew to the largest size, and both were quite aggressive towards each other. So, I don't think its only a tom thing.....but there were no deaths, and not too much blood. They would fight often--kind of gladiator style, almost everyday after the fall. They would bite one another on the heads and pull the skin, and whip their wings at one another. I experienced a wing--and it wasn't pleasant. They'd also harass my dogs quite a bit. We processed them all right before Thanksgiving, and we had ---44LBS (white), 39LBS (bronze), 30LBS (bronze), and 22LBS (white) of meat.
    This was our first experience with turkeys too. Glad I read your input, I think I'll just steer clear of Toms!
  6. jasonm11

    jasonm11 Songster

    Nov 18, 2010
    tioga tx
    Its normal behavior for toms to assert dominance. Once they work out who is boss they will be fine. If you keep them confined they get bored and the fights will be worse,longer and more frequent. turkeys need space and if you have a hen in the mix it is best to cut back to only one or two toms. Otherwise the hen might not be treated as a lady. [​IMG]
  7. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Songster

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    The fighting should get worse as we get closer to spring. It can badly damage their heads and they could loose a snood. It is a natural thing. It is too early to butcher a heritage bird especially a RP. You will be disappointed at the amount of meat it will yield at 4.5 months. A RP will need to be 9 months. The BRs will be OK at 8 months if they are on a good 20% feed.
  8. LadyTurkey

    LadyTurkey In the Brooder

    Jun 5, 2011
    [​IMG] My hens used to fight like that! It was horriable! and sadly yes the water hose doesnt faze them....belive me I tried it lol.
    They settle down and never fight at all now!!! its great. Turkey fights look very harsh [​IMG]
  9. abobwhat

    abobwhat Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    Thanx for the info! good stories
  10. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    Having never owned turkeys this was a good thread to read. I learned more than I wanted to have to know but it gave me a heads up on what to expect. Ugh.

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