Turkey Tom Not Roosting

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by BrianPB, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. BrianPB

    BrianPB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2011
    South Central NY
    Hi all,

    My turkey tom Del, who's about two years old, has stopped roosting as of about six weeks ago. He's moulting presently (has had a horrid bald spot on his breast for quite some, which concerned me until I looked it up here and saw that that's not uncommon, though I don't recall it happening last year); I understand that moulting can take a lot out of birds, make them weaker, so could that be why he's not jumping onto a roost at night?

    The other thing is, he stopped roosting just after the two turkey hens went broody, and I'm wondering if that wasn't the cause.

    Here's the setup:

    The hens always roosted on the left side of the turkey house, together, and Del always rested on his own perch on the right side. When the hens went broody it was in a wall-mounted hay manger on the right side of the house, directly above Del's usual roost. As broody hens can be, they were pretty nasty—hissing and pumping themselves up whenever one came near the nest—and I was thinking maybe he was initimidated by them and gave up his roost. But I was surprised that he didn't take the hens' usual roost, on the left side. It is smaller, a bit closer to the wall, so I was thinking that maybe he felt he coudn't fit there.

    The brooding didn't take: after about 5 weeks I forced the hens off the nest and threw the eggs away, and removed the hay from the manger. That broke the broody cycle, but every night, now, one of the hens roosts on the top of the cast-iron manger, and one on the perch directly below it—that is, Del's usual roost on the right side. Every night when I lock them up, Del is standing or pacing—looking as if he wants to roost but not knowing where to do so.

    Yesterday I put a longer roosting bar on the left side, farther from the wall, in hopes that that would give Del more space to roost. But last night the same thing: just standing and/or pacing.

    Any suggestions/ideas as to why he might not be perching? Might he start again in the fall when he's done with his moult? He seems quite healthy otherwise: good color, and gobbling, strutting and displaying for the hens all the time.

    And, two more questions:

    1. I understand that for developing poults (and young chickens, too) it's important to roost for proper foot/leg development. Is the same true for a two-year-old tom? That is, if he never roosts again, is he in any danger, healthwise? (No risk of predators: the turkey house is closed up every night.)

    2. The new roost I put up for Del is a 1 x 4, on edge. Is the 1" enough area for a large tom to wrap his feet around?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback!
    Brian

    [​IMG]
    L to R: Gladys, Hannah, Del.

    [​IMG]
    Gladys and Hannah on their manger nest last month.
     
  2. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    Replace the 1"x4" with a 2"x4" with the wide side up. A 1" board is not an acceptable roost for a mature turkey and a 1"x4" with the wide side up is not sturdy enough to support a mature turkey. My turkey roosts consists of a dead tree with 4" diameter corral poles screwed in place as the actual roosts. The younger turkeys use the smaller branches of the tree.
     
  3. BrianPB

    BrianPB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2011
    South Central NY
    Thanks! That's what I suspected, but was using what I had on hand in scrap lumber. Yet, the one hen is roosting on the manger bar, which is even less than 1" wide, despite having a sturdy 2 x 2 perch directly below it.
     
  4. BrianPB

    BrianPB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2011
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    But it still begs the question of why he hasn't been roosting for 6 weeks, which is a real head-scratcher!
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Did you check his feet and legs for injuries, he could have something going on that prevents it, or it may hurt to jump down. My toms lose the breast feathers during this time of year, they lay down on the ground and break them off I believe as they never stop puffing their chests during the day.
     
  6. BrianPB

    BrianPB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2011
    South Central NY
    Thanks, I'll have a look at his feet this evening and see if I can ascertain anything (though he's not easy to get close to; he's a bit shy of humans). As I mentioned, he seems quite healthy otherwise, and he has no problem walking/running, but I'll certainly check out his feet.

    That's interesting about the breast feathers, and your theory might explain in part why his breast is so bald. He didn't have two hens to be courting last year at this time, so he wasn't doing so much puffing/displaying.

    BTW (noticing your location in your profile), I'm from Wisconsin originally, and still have extended family in Central WI—Granton, near Marshfield—as well as a brother "down south" in Janesville.

    Thanks again!
     
  7. BrianPB

    BrianPB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2011
    South Central NY
    R2elk: Replacing the perch this evening with a 2 x 4, wide side laid flat. Will see if it makes a difference.

    Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Well howdy ex neighbor, we go to Granton occasionally for the swap meets or the horse Auctions, we are by Wisconsin Rapids.

    It seem in my flock that the more dominant the Tom the more ratty he looks. I like when they molt in the fall and get all nice new feathers.
     

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