what do hens look/act like when they are interested in a tom?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by onthespot, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

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    I bought a new bourbon red tom last night. I left him in the crate as it did not seem wise to put him in a new coop after dark with other birds he didn't know. This morning I put him in with the girls and the biggest one started getting all puffed up, walking up to him, tipping her head up and curving it back so the top of her head touched her back. She fanned her tail a bit, followed him around. I think he is still too young and scrawney to breed, plus he was taking in all the sights and sounds so he mostly ignored her. Could she possibly be thinking of springtime like activities? She hatched june 21. I dont' know when he hatched, but he free ranged where he was so he is "streamlined" and just looks younger and needs some groceries. Also, along the same line, what is the fertility time between toms? She was in with a midget white tom until now. How long should I wait before I would consider her eggs, (if she laid any) to be pure bourbon red? I guess (if she laid any) I could just try hatching until I saw consistent pure bourbon red babies... Still, if anyone knows how long turkey semen remains viable in a hen, could you please share the answer with the class? There will be a quiz on this in the spring, so class, pay attention! [​IMG]
     
  2. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She must have been the dominate female or only female, as that is a challenge type behavior. Usually Males only need to mate once a week with turkeys. So I would guess about two weeks. She may not have let the other males mate with her. Normally she won't start laying for a a few months, unless you force here by adding more light.

    Tom
     
  3. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

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    She is the biggest girl. Well, there was a bigger girl, but I sold her because someone paid fifty bucks for her.

    Does free ranging make their feathers lighten in color? The two hens I had before were from a show line, and have deep maroon colored shiny feathers, These other new three have more of a washed out brassy color. My darker girls have always been in sheltered, shaded pens except when out for fun time on the lawn. The color difference is more than just slight and subtle, but not striking. Any person who was asked to go pick out the two darker ones could probably pick them out from the whole group though...

    Nother question... Can one tom keep up with four hens for fertility?
     
  4. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They darken as they age. BR turkeys are more of a buff color when they first feather out. Turkey eggs could be fertile up to 4 weeks after breeding. When she is ready for breeding, she will squat down in front of the tom (or you, or anyone and anything that she thinks would be a good mate...) And he should be able to take care of 4 or 5 hens nicely. And is he actually scrawney, or just not as big as you would like? Make sure that you don't let them get fat, it can affect fertility.
     
  5. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    BOCOMO
    Yeah, she's definitely giving him the what for.

    When the hens start `presenting' to `everyone' they meet (and if you pick them up they `purr') you'll know. One tom is sufficient, but some hens might be more ardent than others.
    [​IMG]

    Found this about fading:
    EFFECT OF SUN ON COLORED BREEDS
    Although sunshine will not harm birds, show birds should not spend several hours per day in direct sunlight. Sunshine can fade the plumage of solid red breeds and those with red backgrounds, such as Mille Fleur bantams, or cause brassiness (yellowish metallic hue) in varieties with pale plumage, especially white, blue or buff. Once the plumage becomes faded, there is no way of correcting this before a show. Moderate exposure to the sun should
    not be a problem. It is the constant day after day exposure that can cause problems.

    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/PS/ps03700.pdf
     
  6. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

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    Ooh! Thanks ivan! That pic says it all, and the quote is a big help. I have had horses my whole life, so I know what the sun does to their coats, and this color of the outdoor BR's looked that same yellowy dry look. At least there is hope for next year they will be "Pretty" lol.
    The tom is not skinny, per se. You can't feel any boniness on his back. He is just younger and been outside scrappin' in a large flock, somewhere around forty birds. His breast is not sharp and bony, but there is little spare meat there. The tom I sold was probably too fat. When I felt his meaty front end I just wanted to shove him head first into the oven right then and there! LOL. Had to sell him though, he had split wing and didn't want that in my line.
     
  7. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    onthespot wrote: Still, if anyone knows how long turkey semen remains viable in a hen, could you please share the answer with the class? There will be a quiz on this in the spring, so class, pay attention!

    Yikes! Didn't see this yesterday (came back to check if I needed to edit - just having a `day' yesterday).

    In all species studied thus far, female birds store sperm in specialized sperm storage tubules (SSTs) located at the junction of the uterus and vagina (Fujii 1963, Shuaart1988. Birkhead et al. 1990. Briskie and Montaomerie 1993). SSTs appear necessary for the long-term survival of spermatozoa within the female reproductive tract, because sperm not stored within SSTs soon die or are displaced by the passage of subsequent eggs (Lorenz 1966). The length of time that sperm can remain viable in storage varies from species to species, ranging from about six days in the Ring Dove (Streptopelia roseogriseaZ;e none et al. 1979) to over 72 days in the domestic Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo; Lorenz 1950).

    From: LACK OF SPERM STORAGE BY FEMALE MIGRANTS AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF COPULATIONS EN ROUTEĀ’
    JAMESV . BRISKIE ~ The Condor: vol. 98 pg. 414-417 http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Condor/index.php (articles can be downloaded as PDF's, but you might have to keep hitting refresh until you get the full file - many good papers here).

    Also, about the dull feathering, maybe augment diet with higher protein feed and vitamins just in case it isn't UV washout.

    Chap. 18 of this ref. site has some interesting info. about hen mate choice and quality of plumage (hens are picky - I have another paper about hens being able to assess mite infested toms as unacceptable):

    Scroll down to: "Male dominance polygyny" http://people.eku.edu/ritchisong/avian_biology.htm

    Storage
    time might differ in heritage turks, I vaguely recall a ref. to twenty days for Easterns (data on wild flock?), though someone else probably knows off the top of their head.​
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010

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