1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Would a bourbon red tom be suited as a 'pet' turkey?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Japetus, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. Japetus

    Japetus Just Hatched

    15
    0
    17
    Feb 9, 2017
    I have a small flock of a few (10-15) chicken, a geese couple and a turkey hen, all very well tempered and going along pretty well.
    I was given the opportunity to purchase a bourbon red tom (the hen I already have is another, commercial variety), about 8-10 weeks old and I am considering it.
    I have never kept turkeys for breeding before, just individual birds for brooding purposes, would a tom usually grow to be aggressive? Would his presence seriously interfere with the pecking order in the entire flock?
    Plans are to see how things are going this year and purchase a bourbon hen later for breeding purposes and not expanding the turkey flock any further. The birds overnight in different pens but all mingle around when they free range at their designated area..
    Would it perhaps be a better idea to get a second hen instead now and opt for a tom later on?
    I would really like to keep just a pair of well tempered turkeys together with the rest of the flock, selling away their offspring if any, and not currently interested in turkey meat production.
     
  2. R2elk

    R2elk Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,957
    550
    241
    Feb 24, 2013
    Natrona County, Wyoming
    It really isn't a good idea to keep a pair of turkeys. One tom to one hen can cause the hen to get worn down from all the breeding. When the hen goes broody she needs to be where the tom can't get to her. He will take her sitting on a nest as an invitation to breed. The unwanted breeding attempts will at the least end up in smashed eggs and can be as bad as an injured or dead hen. A tom on its own among a flock of chickens can end up with dead chickens from the tom attempting to mate with the chickens.

    I try to keep four to five hens for a single tom which keeps the hens from getting bred too much. Normally all of the hens don't go broody at the same time which keeps him occupied and helps to keep the setting hens protected from the tom.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Hillaire

    Hillaire Chillin' With My Peeps

    610
    69
    91
    Mar 13, 2017
    Hudson Valley NY
    x2
     
  4. Japetus

    Japetus Just Hatched

    15
    0
    17
    Feb 9, 2017
    I see, thanks for the reply. Perhaps I should opt for a hen then and see next year how things go and perhaps get then a tom and another hen.
    On the other hand if I get rid of the current hen and get a tom alone among the flock of chicken and the geese,will he create greater problems?
    Sorry for the newbie questions, never had tom turkeys before, but I really like the looks of them and if they can be raised not to be aggressive to people or other animals it would be great.
     
  5. R2elk

    R2elk Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,957
    550
    241
    Feb 24, 2013
    Natrona County, Wyoming
    Your first option is a reasonable way to go. Having a lone tom with chickens is an almost guaranteed way to make sure that you end up with dead chickens. A lone tom is going to try to breed something and his weight on a chicken usually makes for "flat" (dead) chickens.

    I have found that the best way to make sure a turkey does not become aggressive towards people is by not imprinting them and not trying to turn them into pets. Imprinting poults causes them to not know that there is a difference between them and people which can lead to problems when they try to use turkey tactics against people. As far as making them into pets even when they are more mature, the old saying "familiarity breeds contempt" does apply.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by