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Why do the wild turkeys prefer to eat poop from one horse and not the other?

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  • Why do the wild turkeys prefer to eat poop from one horse and not the other?

    Could not decide where to post this as it is an odd question!

    My small farm is surrounded by forest. There is a huge wild turkey flock that lives in the woods. They come into the pastures during the day to eat and gobble and generally just be silly.

    I have two TBs who love to play and fight. My pasture is divided in half to cut down on vet bills and clothing damage.

    I have noticed that the turkeys spend almost all their time on one side and it finally occurred to me that they are eating the poop from one horse and not the other. Their diets are similar and I feed daily Continuex wormer (plus appropriate paste twice a year). Just wondered if anybody out there has any idea why the turkeys seem to prefer one horse's poop over the other?

    It has to be worm/parasite related so I think I will do FECs on both, but thought I would see if anybody had other suggestions!
    Fox Wood Farm

  • #2
    Are you feeding any grain, or pellets?
    It could be one horse chews and digest more completely, the other has more grains pass thru not processed as much.

    Could be one horse has them trained to not wander in his paddock without chasing them, the other ignores them.

    Maybe one paddock has more bugs in it, so is more attractive.

    Seems that our wild turkeys are not very discriminating, but equal opportunity apple pickers.
    They go thru any and all equally.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have to agree with Bluey. My older TB guy loves the wild turkeys in his paddock, the other horses, well not so much. My older guy had 4 turkeys sharing his paddock, everyone laughed, but he is a friendly guy who never turns down guests.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd check teeth on the one with the popular poop... heck, check them both.

        Comment


        • #5
          LOL, I can hear this call to the dentist: 'Yeah, the turkeys keep eating his poop....I think he needs floating'

          BTW, aside from possible teeth issue...it has been suggested in the past to feed small amounts of whole oats. no matter how good the teeth are, there is always something passing through. The birds pick it out, unraveling the apples and thus making it less appealing for flies....
          Originally posted by BigMama1
          Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
          GNU Terry Prachett

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks for the suggestions! The owner of the "favored poop" eats TC Complete which does have some whole grain in it. And he is also dropping feed while he is eating. He is definitely due for dental! The "not tasty poop" comes from my 22yo retired guy who eats TC Senior, which is softer to eat and easier to digest. And rarely ever see a whole piece of corn or oats in the bag. This actually makes more sense than the worm idea. But I'll get FECs and dentals on both.

            BTW - Both horses seem to be intimidated by the turkeys! They don't run away, but they tend to stand away from them and just watch very intently. I have counted as many as 35+ turkeys at a time and they tend to swarm. Currently, there are two BIG toms that appear to be vying for top dog status. Or top turkey status? They fluff out and strut in tandem. It's really quite interesting to watch.
            Fox Wood Farm

            Comment


            • #7
              Good suggestions from the others, and I would suggest grain hunting to be the purpose of popularity for the one horse.

              Horses have a right to be wary of the turkeys! We were riding down the road and stopped to talk to a lady, when her LARGE tom turkey came strolling by. Turkey head was probably 4ft in the air, tall with LONG neck. Horse put his head down for a better look and the turkey PECKED HIS NOSTRIL and would NOT let go! Horse reared back, knocked the bird lose, DIDN'T lose his rider though it was CLOSE. Bird had ripped a triangle mark on the nostril skin, bled a lot, and left horse scarred. Wore that triangle mark for the rest of his life and we did get questions about it, was rather noticable. Did get some laughs about his nose being where it didn't belong, but we never THOUGHT bird would peck him, so we let him look at "the new thing".

              I don't trust turkeys either after that experience, so your horses are showing GOOD SENSE in being wary! Turkeys are big enough to be a problem.

              Comment


              • #8
                No kidding...at a zoo I saw a turkey and a peacock get into it...massive! The zoo keeper had both hands full, wrangling the turkey off the peacock and removing him from the scene!
                Originally posted by BigMama1
                Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                GNU Terry Prachett

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, you are doing a good thing, supporting parasite-free wildlife in your neck of the woods.
                  Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
                  People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
                  "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Be careful with birds and organophospate dewormers.

                    Our wild turkeys, a good 200+, roost in the very large trees around the horse pens.
                    About 40 years ago, they came out with these alfalfa pellet dewormer for horses.
                    We tried it, in the grain, most of the horses in the pens being young ones they were on grain.
                    Guess that horses dropped deworming pellets all over and turkeys went to town with those.

                    In the morning, there were horses loose, some in pens they were not supposed to be, fences down and a good 65 dead turkeys laying all over everyplace.

                    Seems that the dewormer took a bit to kill the turkeys, as they were roosting in the night and they started falling off the trees, dead or flopping around dying and horses, of course, lost it in the attack of the zombie turkeys.

                    Vet was called and after all was sorted out, it was the deworming pellets.
                    Tough way to learn, dragging dead wild turkeys by the dozens out of there.

                    Never feed an organophosphate dewormer where birds will get access to any of it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, looks like you figured it out. I figured it was the grain because we have an older guy who has birds all over him and his poop piles in the stall. They just love him and the nice, whole grains he poops out!! Guess that's the ultimate in recycling.

                      Well, the coffee beans recycled from elephant dung is probably even MORE ultimate!! But that's off topic entirely!
                      Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There have been studies of reseeding some of our semi desert ranges by feeding grass seeds to cattle and, since most of those go thru whole, that is an easy way to do it.

                        Several studies show it works well, just that with 30 acres per head, it is hard to make much of a difference.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Not to hijack the thread but one time we stayed in a vacation home on the beach and unfortunately the previous tenants had brought in a dog that had fleas. Interestingly they only bit the men but not the women. Never figured that one out. (needless to say we only stayed one night and got another place)

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Be careful with birds and organophospate dewormers.
                            I think you are remembering the original Farnam Equitrol feed through fly control. Great stuff to keep fly populations down, but not so great on the environment. I don't think they make that for horses any more. The feed-thrus now are all based on Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) that do not impact mammals or birds.

                            These turkeys are too stupid/silly to even come close to the horses. if the horses would just take a step or two toward the turkeys, they would scatter! I can't imagine a turkey biting a horse! That was probably not a very pretty situation!

                            I know that geese are mean but did not know that turkeys would attack. My neighbor has peacocks. They are not visible to the horses but they sure do scream like mad!!
                            Fox Wood Farm

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Fox Wood Farm View Post
                              I think you are remembering the original Farnam Equitrol feed through fly control. Great stuff to keep fly populations down, but not so great on the environment. I don't think they make that for horses any more. The feed-thrus now are all based on Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) that do not impact mammals or birds.

                              These turkeys are too stupid/silly to even come close to the horses. if the horses would just take a step or two toward the turkeys, they would scatter! I can't imagine a turkey biting a horse! That was probably not a very pretty situation!

                              I know that geese are mean but did not know that turkeys would attack. My neighbor has peacocks. They are not visible to the horses but they sure do scream like mad!!
                              No, we never used those feed thru fly control products.
                              Those were green pellets in little bags you added to their grain and it was a deworming product.

                              http://www.livestocktrail.illinois.e...contentid=8290

                              Table 1. Classes of De-worming Medications for Horses

                              -Simple heterocyclic compounds
                              Piperazine
                              Phenothiazine

                              -Benzimidazoles
                              Thiabendazole
                              Mebendazole
                              Fenbendazole
                              Cambendazole
                              Oxfendazole
                              Oxibendazole

                              -Imidazothiazoles
                              Levamisole

                              -Tetrahydropyrimidines
                              Pyrantel pamoate
                              Pyrantel tartrate

                              -Organophosphates
                              Dichlorvos
                              Trichlorfon

                              -Phenyl-Guanidines
                              Febantel

                              -Avermectins
                              Ivermectin
                              Moxidectin

                              -Praziquantel

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                Be careful with birds and organophospate dewormers.

                                Our wild turkeys, a good 200+, roost in the very large trees around the horse pens.
                                About 40 years ago, they came out with these alfalfa pellet dewormer for horses.
                                We tried it, in the grain, most of the horses in the pens being young ones they were on grain.
                                Guess that horses dropped deworming pellets all over and turkeys went to town with those.

                                In the morning, there were horses loose, some in pens they were not supposed to be, fences down and a good 65 dead turkeys laying all over everyplace.

                                Seems that the dewormer took a bit to kill the turkeys, as they were roosting in the night and they started falling off the trees, dead or flopping around dying and horses, of course, lost it in the attack of the zombie turkeys.

                                Vet was called and after all was sorted out, it was the deworming pellets.
                                Tough way to learn, dragging dead wild turkeys by the dozens out of there.

                                Never feed an organophosphate dewormer where birds will get access to any of it.
                                LOL I laughed so hard at the "zombie turkeys" thing...had to share story with husband.
                                Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                                Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!

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