Turkey brawling

I have turkeys. I wanted some heritage turkeys but the poultry site that I usually order from requires 25 turkeys to be ordered. I didn’t want 25 turkeys. Tractor Supply had turkeys. White broad breasted turkeys. And a minimum of four. So I bought them. That was two years ago. They were raised in the guest bathtub, then graduated to a cage in the living room. They were all named. But I couldn’t tell them apart when they were young so they all were renamed Julia; as calling for Sam, Nicki, Alice and Julia was just a mouthful. When the Julias had feathered in and it was warm enough, they graduated to the outside. They were and remain so friendly and inquisitive.

One of the turkeys has since been dispensed with, as he broke his leg somehow and also had a very bad case of saggy crop.

There have been turkey fights along the way. Mostly when they were young, and it was fierce. I did not know if it was toms fighting or what they were fighting over as they all looked the same.

Fighting stance

I read up on fighting and all the resources said to let them fight it out. There were bloody snoods and missing feathers. And then it calmed down and all was well in the land of turkey hierarchy. The two toms now have beards and I have one hen. Usually they are a happy trio.

The fighting started again two days ago. But it looks like my hen is the aggressor…she started laying eggs again last week so I am not sure if that has anything to do with the aggression. I separated them for almost two days. They fought through the fence. More bloody snoods. Today I let them out and the fight was brisk. The tom was put in his place for whatever infraction he performed.

It is said that turkeys usually fight to exert dominance and establish a pecking order. But there can be other reasons.

They can fight out of boredom.

They can fight over resources like food.

They can fight over stressful situations, like severe changes in temperature, or not enough space. Turkeys need at least 25 feet of space per bird. Mine normally free range so that isn’t an issue.

For today, the fighting is done. The snood will heal.

Discovery of the bee hives!

If you want to learn more click here for reading material: Raising turkeys book

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