Question Regarding Poults and Toms

Posted by: Odell_Farms

Question Regarding Poults and Toms - 08/06/11 10:57 PM


My wife and I haven't delt with turkeys before. We are going to raise wild Easterns. We have a breeding pair, and the tom (aka TOM) is very active. The hen has laid about 7 eggs so daily. She has gathered her eggs into a nest in the straw. My question is after the hen has laid her clutch, and is sitting, do I need to remove TOM from her pen so he does not interfere with her sitting, and then interfere later with the poults when they are hatched?

Posted by: CJR

Re: Question Regarding Poults and Toms - 08/07/11 12:55 PM

I have wild Easterns on my farm. In the wild, an older Tom gather as many females as he can, but there are always several toms in the "wings", as well as young of both sexes hanging around, but not close.

I know when the hens are laying by the displays. I know when they are setting, as all display activity ceases. Then, hens will appear alone--a long walk, really long, in a round about pattern, slow and secretive. I have found nests, but prefer not to disturb any area discovered, as they are easy to abort the nest!!

Hens HIDE the nest from the toms, if possible, as the Toms WILL destroy eggs (keeps the hens laying longer, and a new clutch and "hidden" nest!!) With the nunber of varmints in our area, only with favorable weather and luck, do they hatch many poults most years. Rain at time of hatch usually means loss of the clutch (try again).

Most brand new clutches, that we see, are about 5-8 poults, and there is a fairly good rate of survival after the first week, when they fly well and roost at nightfor better safety.]

Winter brings 20-30, in flocks of mixed sexes and ages, to the Crab apple trees in my backyard, and we do feed grain sometimes, if a flock hangs around during deep snow and/or icy ground, when grazing is difficult. Some become very tame and will come right around your feet, but I do not look them in the eye---most wild animals do not like it!
Posted by: CJR

Re: Question Regarding Poults and Toms - 08/15/11 02:05 PM

Was really pleased yesterday, to see a Turkey hen with 4 poults, at least 2 months old--in my back yard. First young I have seen this year! Barley fields surround my yard, so have not seen any Turkeys since it grew tall enough to hide them! I am not certain where they are roosting-my woods are some distance from the yard.
Hens used to bring their babies under my bird feeders, almost daily, so I could watch them grow and learn survival--most I can identify and know them a year later, as they stay together as a family group, until winter, when there are large flocks, but they disburse and have their same territories the next spring! Lovely to observe them! CJR