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Trouble with Turkeys June 1, 2007

Posted by Laura in Farm.

Raising turkeys has certainly not turned out the way I expected.  I had in mind that by now we would have a nice little flock of these heritage breed beauties gracing the farm.  In stead, predators have picked them off one by one, leaving us with only the same two hens, Martha and Betsy.

I have to give them credit, though.  They are trying to do their part to increase the flock size, but we still have no tom.  Not ones to be swayed by such technicalities, they diligently make nests in the brush where I can’t find them and lay eggs.  Then they sneak off and set.  So, at present, we have NO turkeys in evidence.  (Sigh).

I catch glimpses of them every few days when they venture out for a snack.  If they see me, they quickly disappear again.  I can only hope that no predators find them before they give up on their rotten infertile eggs.

Farm living with turkeys has been interesting.  I’ve learned a lot.  Like, did you know that FEMALE turkeys could do this?


It seems to be an aggression/pecking order/dominance thing.


I couldn’t tell for whose benefit this display was.  No one seems particularly impressed, do they?



1. Uncle Chris - June 1, 2007

Why the delay between posts? I check regularly for my sanity.

2. Amy - June 1, 2007

I saw several wild turkeys in a bean field on my way to work this morning. One of them was all puffed up with it’s tail feathers on display. I said out loud “Look at that big tom trying to woo a woman”. I had no idea that females could do that too.

Poor Martha and Betsy, all this living with chickens is going to give them a complex. If you ever do get a tom turkey, I think you should name him Franklin after Benjamin Franklin who thought that the turkey should be our national bird. Can you imagine?

3. chickenmama - June 1, 2007

I like Franklin- good reason to name him that, too. I’ll file that away. The first one will probably be George, though. We had hoped to have a pair last year and were planning on George and Martha Washington. When George turned out to be a female, we went with Betsy Ross. Franklin would fit right into this Americana/”founding families” flock. Good suggestion. Thanks.

4. chickenmama - June 1, 2007

About your observation of the wild turkey flock- I’d imagine that what you saw WAS a tom trying to impress a female or two. I’ve never seen other females do this. Maybe Betsy is just a very confused individual. I’ve only seen her do that twice- once in these pictures (for no apparent reason) and once before when TurkeyBaby was introduced to them (just prior to being snatched out of our yard and eaten by a hawk, that is 😦 ). That is why I assume this posturing has something to do with establishing dominance.

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