Turkeys Attacking Broody Hens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Atrayu, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. Atrayu

    Atrayu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 12, 2011
    Hermosa, South Dakota
    I wasn't sure which forum to post this on, but it seems like kind of an emergency to me. So I apologize if this is the wrong forum to bring up this subject.

    I have a Blue Slate female and Red Bourbon male turkeys that around 5-6 months old. They recently have been attacking my broody hens and causing injuries to a couple of them. This morning I found the female turkey going into the nesting boxes and biting/picking at one of my hens until she was bleeding. Before, they would only chase some of my broody hens that would come out to eat or drink during their broody break time, and this morning was a first attack while the hens were sitting in the nesting boxes.

    I ended up locking up the two turkeys in the coop I have set up for my geese.

    Does anyone have any idea why they go after the broody hens? Are there any suggestions of what I can do to break them of this?
    I sure appreciate any suggestions, experiences or ideas on what I can do.

    Thanks in advance!
    Mark
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 8, 2013
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    Some chickens take exception to a broody hen because they either perceive her as being mentally deranged (if they're non-broodies themselves) or as a subordinate hen daring to breed (if they're broodies and territorially minded). So they'll beat up on her. Turkeys are often notorious bullies but this is easily bred out by culling the ones inclined to bully; the same is true of chickens.

    However I've had to put up with some bad turkey behavior in the short term to obtain meat (tryptophan-rich turkey meat is valuable for mental and physical disorders alike and some of my relatives have both); to protect the broodies, I would block off the door to their pen so they can go in and out but the turkeys can't, if possible.

    The turkeys are possibly best separated until the female is brooding, but the male may continue to be trouble. He may need permanently separating or culling when you've gotten a crop of munchies off him.

    Being only young, they may grow out of it with some encouragement, too. You could trim the seethough edge off their upper beaks, which won't hurt them but will make delivering hard blows to another creature painful. They can eat and drink normally, preen, etc, but stabbing will be out of the question... Most likely anyway, turkeys don't mind a bit of pain if they think they're achieving something.

    My turkey male took great exception to the geese brooding, as he thought all the eggs belonged to his girlfriend, so he would roll the eggs out from under the geese and try to brood them. But this is probably not what yours are thinking as they are quite young, and mine was full grown at the time.

    Anyway, best wishes.
     
  3. Atrayu

    Atrayu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 12, 2011
    Hermosa, South Dakota
    thanks so much for sharing and the ideas. I have already separated the turkeys during the daytime when the hens are in the brooder. As dusk comes along, everyone is calm and ready for bed.
    I will keep an eye out for the behavior. I think I have a new home for the turkeys in a week or so.
    Thanks again!
    Mark
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Ah, that's good. Best wishes with that. Turkeys are too much trouble for a lot of folks.
     

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