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When Toms Attack!

 
Jim Lea
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
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Seemed the best place to post this.
We have a Naraganset (sp?) Tom that is... well a bastard and down right mean. My wife has many bruises as a result of letting her gaurd down. Does anyone know if this is the breed or we just got "lucky" got a bird that hates us. Or, do all toms have this trate? He has been this way since he reached sexual maturity I suppose. We thought it would go away after last spring, no luck.
Any help out there?
Signed Jim with a garden rake for protection.
 
Jay Green
Posts: 587
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That's just a tom turkey thing...seems like they are much more likely to sneak up on a woman. Must be a gender thing! I HATE tom turkeys that have not learned any manners and make it my personal mission to teach them that a woman isn't always an easy mark. That hissing/drumming sound they make just irritates the crapola out of me.

My solution for that has been to always be on the offensive~ instead of the defensive..be it with turkeys, roosters, rams, bucks, etc. Jump them when they least expect it, lurk around corners and surprise them with a random and startling attack, make them as jumpy as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. It's actually kind of fun once you get into it and can be taught to children as well...it doesn't hurt the animal at all and it has proven most effective for me and my family.


In other words, when he is always looking over his shoulder for you instead of the other way around, the tutorial is done. Occasionally reinforce the idea that the human is a predator and should be avoided at all cost by repeating the surprise attack now and again. Never let the male livestock get too comfortable around humans....that level of comfort leads to total disregard when they are feeling their hormones. That disregard can be painful and sometimes very dangerous, depending on the size of the animal.
 
Jim Lea
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
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Thanks for the thoughts Jay. Just might try it! Cant hurt right.
Jim
 
Jay Green
Posts: 587
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A nice, lightweight rod helps with this and can even be done with a fishing rod....gives you a longer reach. I use a long, fiberglass rod that was originally meant as a plant trellis...long, flexible and makes a very loud crack when struck against a wooden wall or floor.

Good for tapping them on the back or under the tail...they HATE that. Just about any long, lightweight rod will do..even if it's wooden. Tapping them sharply on their bums is a good offensive move...I do it when they are trying to eat or starting to mate a hen, walking into the pop door of the coop, trying to forage, etc. Anytime their defenses are down and they aren't expecting an attack is always a good time.

Watch when they attack~when we least expect it~and then model that behavior. After they get the idea you are not to be trusted, all you have to do is stomp or lunge in their direction when you walk past to get them streaking for another part of the property, real quick and in a hurry. The best kind of rooster or tom is the kind that is always looking over his shoulder for you.

ETA: When done properly, takes all of 10-15 min. out of your day and usually just takes that one day to drive the lesson home. After that, you won't have to carry the stick or pick on the bird unless you wanna have a little fun or to reinforce your dominance. I've never had to repeat a lesson for any of my birds.
 
Joe Braxton
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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When all else fails, a big pot of boiling water (with him in it ) will solve the problem.
 
Jay Green
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I've never had the method fail before but if you just can't seem to be consistent with the training and the bird doesn't respond, cooking them is a good last resort.
 
Kitty Hudson
Posts: 33
Location: SW KY--out in the sticks in zone 6.
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I've been around a few toms before, some so laid back they would approach you for a handout or just a bit of petting, so it's not just toms in general. Then again, mean behavior from a male or female usually ended with said critter on the dinnertable. I agree wholeheartedly with Jay's method--don't just be the top of the food chain, remind the tom of that fact, make him very aware that you area a predator for him to step lightly around.

For the record, this also works with cats annoying your young birds. A couple neighbor cats harassed a young hen of mine one night when they caught her roosting on a very low branch. Kept sticking a paw up to claw her unexpectedly. Nest time I caught the 2 kitties in the henyard, I snarled and barked and charged them---they fled in such a panic that they both bounced off the poultrywire fence a couple times before one round a wooden post and they escaped insane/violent-sounding me. They gave the henyard a very wide berth after that, and I was happy to have solved the issue without having to hurt Garfield and Pixie. Didn't have to worry about them once I had some chicks hatch either.
 
Ernie Schmidt
Posts: 81
Location: Olympia, Washington
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Hi Jim,
Been there done that, not with turkeys but with geese, and roosters. This worked really well with me and my wife. Sheet of plywood about 3X3 foot square. Cut a hand hold slot hole on one edge. I attached two smaller sides on it so that it stands up on it's own without holding it. When entering the "danger zone" carry it between you and the beast. If you have duties to do around the problem animal, just set the plywood shield down, keep an eye on the tom while you work, then pick up the shield and walk out. I have to be honest, I didn't think this idea up myself. I saw a special on TV about ostrich farmers. However, they built this big box that they got inside of to go into the pens to get eggs they laid. I realized I didn't need a whole box to hold off my ganders or roosters with an attitude. Just a plywood shield worked really great. I think your wife will really appreciate a plywood shield, it not only provides protection you can actually guide and move the animal around with it. And it is always handy, just set it on the ground outside the gate. Okay Jim, be her hero, early Christmas present, the "Tom Shield" you can take all the credit, your secret is safe with me.
 
Jim Lea
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
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Great ideas all of you. Thankks for taking the time to help out. I think I have some good stuff to go on now.
Jim
 
Wayne Aa
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An attacking tom is very bad. Bruises given by poultry is very bad. Eat him promptly. A full grown tom turkey is no rooster... they are very powerful and could cause serious injury. I have raised hundreds of turkeys and never had one do that to me so in my experience it is not at all normal. Human aggression in any farm animal should be culled out immediately, whether it's a rooster, pig, turkey, or goat. The reason most farm animals are non aggressive to humans is due to this policy over many generations. Tom turkeys usually strut and hiss and attack each other but not humans. If you are going to kill and eat him make sure to wear heavy gloves and face protection when you grab him... they are very strong and the rear claw can do some serious damage, so grab the legs very tightly and hold on. You can rig a killing cone out of an orange safety cone. If you don't know how to do this do some research or get someone to help who does. A very sharp knife is important... ceramic is the best I think. Dry plucking is fine for one bird although it will take a while the skin quality will be better. Also since he is older slow braising rather than roasting is the way to go.
 
Wayne Aa
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Also... turkeys are group minded creatures (much more so than chickens) and they go a little crazy if you only have one. Still I would not try to rehabilitate that tom but turkeys should always have a turkey clan.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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