Turkey socialization - what would you suggest?

lengel

Songster
11 Years
Apr 30, 2008
615
4
162
MA
One of my three turkeys is just timid beyond belief. She gets the stuffing bitten out of her at every turn. Their enclosure is big enough for all of them to get along but it got so disgustingly muddy after last night's downpour (I mean hours of sheeting rain that no one had predicted even the ground under the shelter was two inch mud) that I had to move them to our "infirmary" coop for at least a few days.

Two of the turkeys went into the coop without issue but timid turkey wouldn't follow their lead. I herded timid turkey in but the other two attacked her immediately. I let timid turkey hang out free range for the afternoon then finally put her in an enclosure with our six elderly hens. Once locked up, she kind of freaked but we have a fox running around and I couldn't let timid turkey just hang out.

What would you do? Would you keep her with the elderly chickens so that she can socialize and maybe learn to hold her own? Put her back in with the other turkeys when the ground in their enclosure dries out? In my experience, separating them then putting them back together makes the hierarchy problems worse. Dominant turkey gets more dominant and timid turkey gets even more timid.

Anyway, maybe this doesn't seem important but timid turkey is looking pretty beat up at this point and I would prefer that her quality of life is a bit better than being subjected to the bullies who peck her bloody all of the time.
 

ivan3

spurredon
12 Years
Jan 27, 2007
4,511
210
291
BOCOMO
How old are they? Have they been together since they were poults? What is the sex of the terrors of the timid?
 

lengel

Songster
11 Years
Apr 30, 2008
615
4
162
MA
They are almost one year old, all female, together from birth. Started laying about a month ago and that's when things got really bad.
 
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Steve_of_sandspoultry

Crowing
10 Years
Apr 4, 2009
5,426
27
251
Eastern North Carolina
Is she smaller than the others? If she was reallt beat up they don't give you much choice to seperate of not, they will keep beating her down, keep her away from the food etc and sooner of later kill her. For now leave her with the hens so she can totaly heal and recover.

From there you have 2 options - keep her seperated or put her back with the others. If you put her back they will fight again that's a given. But you can change the "odds" some in her favor. Turkeys are flock animals and you can use that. Of the other 2 hens is one less agressive? For those 2 they should have a pecking order. When the one is healed put her with the beta hen only, take the Alpha out and put her by herself. That will totaly upset the pecking order. The timid one and the beta will fight but hopefully they will sort it out without to much trouble. Leave those 2 together for a couple weeks and they will form a flock, then you can add the ex alpha hen. She won't be the alpha anymore she will be the new hen on the block and the other 2 should dominate her.

Steve in NC
 

ohiofarmgirl

Songster
11 Years
Jan 22, 2009
1,420
5
161
hey Steve!

thanks for the great advice... at some point i have to integrate Mr Pipps with the adult turks.... and this really helps
:)
 

lengel

Songster
11 Years
Apr 30, 2008
615
4
162
MA
Quote:Thank you Steve. I had to take timid turkey out of the elderly hen enclosure because the hens were walking around underneath her and she interpreted that as an attack I think. She couldn't settle down as a result and was stressed. I put timid turkey back into the original enclosure even though it was still muddy. Then the aggressive turkey and the broody turkey (beta) broke out of the infirmary coop and broody turkey wouldn't go back in so I put her in with timid turkey. Which left aggressive turkey alone in the infirmary coop and broody beta and timid turkey together in the original enclosure as suggested.

So far so good.
 

brandywine

Songster
11 Years
Jul 9, 2008
381
7
131
Western PA
Sometimes a trio (of any species) is a recipe for disaster, if the wrong temperaments are in the mix. It's very common for two to gang up on the "goat."

I think the advice to try to re-shape the flock is certainly worth a shot.

Sometimes adding more birds is effective, too, but it's not that easy to get adult turkeys to try this with. And of course, you have to have enough space for them.

Do you have a tom?
 

lengel

Songster
11 Years
Apr 30, 2008
615
4
162
MA
Quote:I do not have a tom. The timid turkey/beta turkey combo did not work out in the end. Beta turkey and aggressive turkey started talking *really* loud one day while beta turkey and timid turkey were wandering around the yard and aggressive turkey was locked up. Then beta turkey and timid turkey approached aggressive turkey's enclosure and beta turkey violently attacked timid turkey. It was as if aggressive turkey and beta turkey were hatching a plan to get rid of timid turkey. So I wrestled beta turkey in with aggressive turkey and timid turkey now has her own enclosure. I think that will be the only solution. Timid turkey just doesn't defend herself and gets banished from shelter so often by the others that she'll probably die of injuries and exposure some day.
 

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