Turkey Temperaments - Are Naragansetts just nasty?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by smartlittleroo, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. smartlittleroo

    smartlittleroo Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2008
    Last year I bought 4 Naragansett poults. I wanted Naragansetts because I knew they were a heritage breed and I had read that they had nice temperaments. It turned out that I got 2 hens and 2 toms. The hens are very sweet, but the toms have become well, how can I put this nicely... just nasty [email protected]

    The 2 of them stalk me, all the while chattering to each other in this kind of high pitched tone. They try to attack me. I don't dare turn my back on them and I have to carry a big stick or something with me to chase them off. They even come up on the back deck and have tried bumping against the glass door to try to get in when they see me inside. It's like Friday the 13th.... only with turkeys.

    At first I thought it was my boots that they were after, but it doesn't matter what I'm wearing on my feet, they just come after me. I thought maybe they were hungry, but they don't go to the food, they come after me first. I tried ignoring them and walking past and they jumped at me and flapped me. Those big wings hurt! I tried just standing still and they circle around looking for their opportunity to attack.

    Yesterday I locked one of them in the turkey house. As long as he was contained, the other one left me alone. It's like when they are together they are egging each other on to attack me. But one-on-one they won't try it.

    I've already decided that one of them is going to be Easter dinner. I just can't stand being harrassed by them both anymore.

    When I was a kid we used to have bronze turkeys and I don't remember ever being stalked or attacked by any of them. And believe me when something like that happens when you are a kid you remember it! I still remember being bitten by that goose we had.

    My questions are: Is this normal behavior for Naragansetts? Are the toms just nasty? Does this happen with other breeds as well?

    Is this happening just because there are two of them and they're "daring" each other to attack (because it sure seems like it).

    How many days ahead of cooking day should you dispatch a turkey to Camp Kenmore? If I want to cook a turkey on Saturday, what day should I butcher?

    Thanks for any help you can give me.
  2. msmeower

    msmeower Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2012
    Flat Creek, TN
    Dang! I'm interested to hear what people say about this! I don't have turkeys yet but was wanting some.....until I read this post! :)
  3. fancyfowl4ever

    fancyfowl4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2008
    Cranbrook, BC, Canada
    Well I have never had temper issues with my narries. Mine were always sweet and calm. But I did have some nasty big white meat buggers one year.
  4. Elisi

    Elisi Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 31, 2012
    Raymond, WA.
    In my experience, a typical turkey flock is 2 toms usually brothers with one being the flock boss (alpha) and a bunch of hens, about 5 or 6 or more. If there are only a few hens usually there is only 1 tom. If there were more than 2 tomes they would fight it out & eventually split into smaller flocks. The Juvenal toms flocked together but the alpha toms would keep them at a distance from the hens until they were old enough to "steal" some hens for their own.

    If you don't want more hens you are better off with 1 tom. As for the aggression, toms are very protective & jealous of their hens during breeding season and this behavior is very common with in a large flock. Could be that in your little flock the toms might be seeing you as competition and not as the alpha? And maybe that is why they are ganging up on you. But I have never had less than 12 birds & up to 50+ strong and I have never seen this type of behavior, not with people anyway.

    Keep in mind I am not an expert, this is just what I have observed in the 7 years I had turkeys. And again I always had a large number of birds, they didn't care ether way about me except that I had the food! [​IMG]
  5. smartlittleroo

    smartlittleroo Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2008
    These two are brothers and they used to fight it out something awful.[​IMG] They would grab each other's heads and wrestle around, crashing into everything; the garage door, the wood pile, the downspouts. It was like watching an old time Western saloon brawl. Now that I think of it, they haven't been fighting much lately and the agressive behavior toward me has gotten worse. So maybe they do think I'm the competition.

    Just this afternoon the tom that was outside by himself decided to try to challenge me and I had to run him off. BUT, he was standing next to the turkey house and could hear his brother doing that weird chattering noise. I think that might have triggered it.

    I have also heard that the white turkey toms can be kind of agressive.

    I am raising 3 bronze poults right now and I have my fingers crossed that they will be nice, NON-aggressive birds. Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. I am really starting to hate these guys.
  6. WVstruttin

    WVstruttin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2012
    My guess would be it is because of mating season. I have a bourbob red that had become a little aggressive so I grabbed him and penned him to the ground to show him who was boss and he hasnt been aggressive anymore. You can try this and see if they stop, it usually works. Good luck.
    1 person likes this.
  7. trailpleasure

    trailpleasure Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 2, 2011
    Floral City, Florida
    My Nari Tom was sweet until I gave him a girlfriend. Then he started to challenge me everytime I went into their run. I had to corner him and dominate him until he gave in. I wore long sleeves, jeans and boots to protect myself. I never hit him, just wrapped my arms around him and held him down on the ground until he quit resisiting. Now when I go into the run, I go at him and stomp towards him as I have seen Toms do that to each other. He then turns around and doesn't try to come after me. However I still wouldn't trust him especially with children.
  8. Elisi

    Elisi Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 31, 2012
    Raymond, WA.
    Roo : Please don't get discouraged! Your toms are young, this is their first breeding year, think of them as 15/16 yr old boys! They are all full of them selves right now but YOU are their leader and you must prove that YOU are the Boss! Once you do this you shouldn't have any more trouble.

    I would try Trails idea first. As soon as they start toward you in an intimidating way, you move toward them stomping. I would even suggest to hold out your arms about head level & use your voice in as low of a tone you can muster say something like "don't you even think about it" Don't chase them or yell the words just show them that you are not fooled by their bluff. If that doesn't work then try the penning. Again my turkeys were free ranged and after 6 or 7 generations they were more wild than tame, I could not have gotten close enough to try the penning, but I know it works with geese so give it a try if you need to. Most important, be consistent with what ever method you chose.

    You said you had 3 more pollutes? How old are they now? Are you planing on raising them apart from the other turkeys?
  9. only4ghosts

    only4ghosts Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 31, 2012
    Any tom I have ever encountered was just vile.
  10. NYRIR

    NYRIR Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    I have 2 Tom Narrs....they had been fine together until spring.They are both one year old and grew up together.They do have "Tiffs" together occassionally and I hate when they fight. We break it up when we see it.But they have never come after any of us! It seems to have settled down a lot after a few weeks though, so i imagine they have a peck order established well.I have 4 hens BTW.I love my Narrs, but if they try to flog a human....they will be taught quickly. Can't deal with that.

    They do strut constantly and drum and dance around all day, I sometimes wonder how they have time to mate or eat! It has calmed down a lot after a few weeks so maybe yours will too. I do know my DD picked one up the other day to show a friend and the other male tried to flog the other turkey she was holding....I had to tell her to put him down as the other figured he was vulnerable in that position.Ours were raised in a brooder in the house for roughly 5 weeks though(yeah,really....ugh.) and are EXTREMELY used to humans.They gobble when we whistle and the hens chirp.We can even say "Turkey! Turkey!" and they respond.

    I expect they are only trying to establish their place and territory and protect their hens. I would think you need to establish Alpha with them.If I were you, I would restrain them like the previous poster did the next time they do that, embarrass them in front of the ladies [​IMG]

    Good luck!

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