Do Turkeys Fight to the Death?

Do Turkeys Fight to the Death

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Do Turkeys fight to the death? Turkey is a curious bird always busy exploring its surroundings. They look wondrous and incredibly easy to handle.

Not a lot of people know about the behavior of their beloved Turkey and may assume that they are smart, kind, and easily get along with the flock. It is only after they raise them to have these mysteries unveiled.

Do Turkeys Fight To The Death?

Turkeys are quite aggressive and they do fight a lot, especially during the breeding season or to show their dominance.

They fight aggressively but it does not end in death. In the rarest cases, turkeys fight as long as one of them is dead.

They assert dominance within the flock by beating each other with wings, hooking each other with their spurs, or locking their necks together. 

Turkeys assert dominance within the flock by fighting with fellow members and showing them who’s boss.

Turkeys usually fight in late winter and early spring when they are still in their winter feeding groups.

Hierarchy is important for these birds, so, everyone is trying to make its place in the flock resulting in disputes and fights. 

Some flocks easily determine dominance, so, the fighting does not last long. The two main causes of the fight are dominance and mating.

Therefore, the Turkeys fight without remorse in the fall and winter.

They peck and force upon each other’s heads and neck to determine dominance. The dominated bird also gets the girl!

Why Do Turkeys Fight?

The potentially lethal fight stems from different factors. No one in the flock wants to end up being a loser, so, each of them fights to secure their place.

The loser in these fighting matches is not exiled but he has to stay low-key and do anything when the boss gobbler is not watching.

There could be several causative factors that a turkey owner should identify to resolve the disagreements.

  • Mating: It is one of the major causes of the fight among turkeys. If you have two or more male turkeys for mating in the flock, expect them to fight ruthlessly for the alpha status. These fights happen right before the breeding season as the male turkeys will be fighting to become the king of the flock, but turkeys do not have teeth. Since the dominant gobbler gets all the female attention, as research gate states these fights get quite intense leading to many turkeys getting bruised. They strike with their wings and grasp each other’s neck or face. 
  • Division of Territory: Turkeys do not want anyone coming to their territory which often results in a fight. They have clear boundaries as to who is going to stay where, so, when the rules are broken, turkeys fight to establish borders.
  • New Flock: Turkeys are not kind to the new turkeys introduced to the flock. They react strongly and do not welcome the newcomers. New birds and turkeys entering the territory means they have to adjust the flock status which can not be done without a fight in Turkey’s world.
  • Food Scarcity: According to the National Academics of Lack of food can be a major problem for the turkeys making them rude and aggressive towards their owners and flock. Turkeys begin to behave strangely, picking up fights with weak birds due to poor diet, insufficient vitamins, and lack of other essential substances.
  • Release Energy: Young turkeys have a lot of energy, so, they often indulge in “teenage fights”. For many turkeys fighting is the only way to release energy.

Pecking By Turkeys

Turkeys peck each other to fight, in most cases, it does not lead to death but it can cause serious injury to the birds.

New Turkey farmers ignore this behavior which becomes uncontrollable after some time.

It is feathered cannibalism and less powerful flock members are more affected. It can happen due to several reasons like

  • Turkeys tend to peck and are involved in cannibalism when exposed to high-intensity heat.
  • Once a new Turkey enters the flock, other members often peck him on the head, so, it is better to keep them separate according to the age group.
  • Like chickens, overcrowding can lead to this unpleasant behavior. It disturbs the social hierarchy and birds fight to sustain dominance.
  • The diet lacking protein methionine leads to aggressive behavior in turkeys. Methionine contains sulfur used for making feathers, so, birds with poor diet peck others to get this essential amino acid.

Pecking can lead to death especially for weak and young turkeys. However, it does not happen very often. Turkey can be disciplined by resolving the causative factors.

Wrap Up

Turkeys fight and do not get along well with the other flock members, especially during the breeding season.

Some birds are naturally more aggressive than the others, so, they keep disturbing the peace of the flock every now and then.

Turkeys are an interesting lot and not easily understandable. So, learn more about their behavior to stop these fights from happening.


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