Why is she doing this? (Hen turkey)

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by silkielover88, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. silkielover88

    silkielover88 Chirping

    Apr 21, 2014
    Addison NY
    My royal palm hen was strutting around with our tom yesterday...why is she doing this? Is it a dominance thing over the other hens?
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

    Apr 8, 2013
    Displaying has nothing to do with dominance. So much of what we've been taught about animal behaviors is couched in incorrect and outdated perceptions and misapprehensions.

    Displaying is simply a behavior both genders possess. It is generally almost never used by sick animals, unless they feel very threatened and are trying to frighten off a potential predator; generally, it's an expression of health and maturity or at least stimulation by sex hormones, whether male or female.

    Even babies will do it, in fact they can and do take turns role-playing 'male and female' roles complete with displaying, crouching in invitation, mating, then swapping and reversing the roles and completing the pattern, regardless of the genders. It's just inherited behavior.

    All behaviors all male animals do, females can do too. They just usually choose not to. Some of my hens spent a whole lot of time gobbling, displaying, etc, but they were all fertile, otherwise normal females.

    Sometimes removal of a male causes a female to begin role-playing the male role. Sometimes a hormone disturbance does the same.

    It's important to remember that the display in turkeys is also a threat behavior; it's possible your hen has taken an extreme exception to your tom and is sizing him up to fight. This could be fatal. Once one starts, quite often all turkeys around join in, and once they start, they quite often don't stop. They can remain hyper-aggressive, always on nonstop attack mode, for the rest of their lives.

    I would closely watch them, and hopefully things will settle once breeding season is over. If a fight starts and isn't resolved very quickly, and by resolved I mean the loser avoids confrontation and the winner allows the loser to avoid them and does not pursue to bully, then I'd separate the fighters. Probably permanently, going from past experience.

    Best wishes.

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