what could have happened?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by thecityman, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. thecityman

    thecityman Songster

    Jun 14, 2010
    Orlinda, TN
    I came home Friday and one of my eastern wild (domestic) turkeys was obviously in some kind of shock. It had managed to cram itself into a VERY small doghouse I used for them when they were little and never took out of the pen....even though they are WAY to big for it and haven't been in it for 9 months. More telling....THERE WERE FEATHERS EVERYWHERE...I MEAN TONS of feathers! WHen I pulled her out of the little house she somehow had crammed herself into, she wouldn't stand up, like she was in a trance. Other 2 turkeys in same pen seemed ok. The shocked one had no visable signs of injury...no blood, anyway. However, by the next morning she was dead (to my devistation). Now I am absolutely mystified. What on earth happened.

    I know the obvious thing is that some kind of critter attacked her.....BUT THERE IS ALMOST NO WAY! I have been over every square inch of the pen, and there is just no way anything could have gotten in there. Also, it would have had to get back out....no way. The door was still latched, so a varmit didn't come thru the door and then latch it back. PLEASE....SUGGESTIONS? Your next guess might be that a dog or some varmit came up to the pen and harrassed the heck out of them, but again, I dont think so. I've had dog do that before, but my turkeys just don't get ALL THAT EXCITED by dogs, even when they jump on side of pen and so on. My pen is also a very large walk-in so they can go to other side and/or up on built in perches when harassed by a dog.

    There are some kids who live around me, and I guess its possible they could have gone into the pen and tried to catch or hurt the turkey, and perhaps even shoved it into the little house that I can't beleive it fit into.....but once again, I'm very doubtful. THe kids have never been in my yard without me EVER and with me they have seen the turkeys enough that they no longer seem interested in them

    My other suspicion is some kind of illness....especially a siezure or something. ANY THOUGHTS???

    WOw...this is such a mystery to me, and I'm so doubtful it was a varmit that I'm dying to know what could have happened!!!!! If anyone has any thoughts, I'd sure love to hear them. Otherwise, I guess it will always be a mystery!!!!

    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  2. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Songster

    Jun 30, 2010
    Aitkin, MN
    Is your pen open on the top? My only similar experience was when I went into the barn and there was a goshawk perched on the stalls. All I could see were a couple of chicken butts in the hay stack. After the goshawk left, chickens emerged from every crevice in the barn. It was eerie how they kept appearing out of nowhere. Certainly a goshawk is a little small for a nine month turkey, but a more ferocious avian predator such as an Great-horned Owl could have chased it around.
  3. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    my guess would be racoon. they can come and go and leave no signs, they can reach through a fence and grab birds & feathers, and they don't leave when the birds start shreaking and running the just keep it up. Unfortunately they are wayyyy smarter than the birds and the birds will keep running by the fence where the coon can grab more feathers etc.
  4. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Sorry for your loss--it's quite upsetting to not know what happened.
  5. thecityman

    thecityman Songster

    Jun 14, 2010
    Orlinda, TN
    You guys are the best. No, the top of my pen is not open. Otherwise I would have agreed with you.....in fact, one of my most mind blowing experiences happened soon after I built my pen and put my baby turkeys in it last spring....I live in the dead middle of town, not so much as even a tiny bit of wild habitat within miles of my house...not even an abandon lot/field...NOTHING. I'd never seen a hawk in my entire life anywhere near my house. Yet within one week of putting my pen up and putting baby turkeys in it, I looked out one morning and there was a huge hawk perched on top of my cage AND one sitting on the ground beside it!!!!!!!!! TWO hawks where I'd never known a single one before....and in the middle of town!!!! But they were never able to get in and eventually gave up (a saw them a few more times for about a month).

    The racoon scenario sounds possible.....though it is soooo hard to imagine a racoon being able to reach in and grab a turkey when they could so easily just go to the middle or other side of the large pen. But it is true that they like to hang out on the edges of the pen, and when ecited they could mistakenly return to the same areas. I've not seen any racoons around my house, but I know they are in the general area (I'm on the KY/TN line) so its possible. What I HAVE seen before on multiple occassions are opossums. Do they/can they do the same thing?? But remember, the door was still latched and there were absolutely no holes of any size at all in my pen, so it would have HAD to be a grab from the outside as you described. Also, the hen that was killed (with feathers EVERYWHERE) was a full grown, year old adult.

    Yes, it is VERY upsetting to loose one of my few birds, and as you said, its much worse not knowing what happened (and therefore not being able to make changes to prevent it from happening again).

    Thanks again, everyone, for the ideas. I also have to keep wondering if it was kids??? One never knows!
  6. thecityman

    thecityman Songster

    Jun 14, 2010
    Orlinda, TN
    BY THE WAY....Is there any chance that my Tom could have done the deed to her? He is the exact same age (he is her brother, actually). But I've never, ever seen him attack her b4. But thought I'd ask everyone, since it would explain the lack of entry/exit points that would be needed for other varmits.
  7. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon

    Jan 27, 2007
    Guess it would be possible that either the tom, or the tom and other hen, attacked her. However, that's not very probable. Having watched toms spar for three days running (just enough time to sleep - and sometimes only napping to take up the fight in the dead of night) I've only ever seen the run/yard full of feathers during heavy molts.

    A thorough examination of the hen would have helped, i.e., lacerations on flanks/heavy wing feather breakage/loss of down on flanks would indicate the tom might be involved. Large clumps of feathers with blood on tips of quills would indicate something trying to put the bite on her. Patterns of bruising, if any, would have been useful to know. They can lose feathers more easily when extremely stressed.

    The other two might have ganged up on her, but if she had sufficient other locations, besides the doghouse, to retreat to, e.g., roost/etc, the altercation would have probably been self-limiting.

    A raccoon outside the run would have just resulted in all three turks displaying (look as big as possible) and giving out with a ground predator alarm from the opposite side of run.

    I'd lock the gate and keep a close eye on the other two (any more losses without obvious injuries should be examined in detail).

    Good luck!
  8. thecityman

    thecityman Songster

    Jun 14, 2010
    Orlinda, TN
    Thanks Ivan! You guys are turning this into some serious Crime Scene Investigation stuff....which is awesome and much appreciated. But your points leave me with even more questions, and here is why:
    Once she died, since I knew (or at least strongly suspected) that the death was due to trama and not disease, etc and I found her while she was still warm, I decided to clean and eat her instead of letting her go to waste. (many of you may have just cringed!) SO I actually examined her very clearly since I had to defeather her. I saw not a single bruise (though they may not have had time to form since I was cleaning her less than 12 hours after the attack. And in spite of teh fact that there was an amazing amount of feathers all over the pen, when I was removing her feathers I really didn't see any bald spots or other areas that made it obvious where on her body the feathers came from. I also saw no blood or any remarkable wounds of any kind on her.

    Let me guess, I'm making this harder to figure out instead of easier! I know. I also know there is probably no way any of you could possiobly figure this out without more information....nor can I. The good news is that this was a few weeks ago and there have been no more problems, so hopefully it was a one time mystery! Thanks for all your help.
  9. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of the bird. I can't believe it's been a year since we were both turkey novices and posting on here. I very clearly remember how hard you worked to have success with these wild turkeys.

    I've got 6 adults and 17 poults right now. One died, hatched all twisty and didn't make it. One more pipped egg, and then it looks like that's it. A couple more seem to be duds, started to develop just a bit and then quit. Oh well, that's more than enough for me to experiment with.
  10. NYRIR

    NYRIR Songster

    May 13, 2010
    Quote:I think it's better to use the meat than to waste it....no cringing here [​IMG]
    Hope you figure it out...or it remains a mystery forever because it never happens again! [​IMG]

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