This beautiful broad breasted bronze tom turkey lives at a friend’s farm. Once upon a time, I had beautiful toms like this. That was when I only had a couple toms.
Now I have a larger flock. The toms have beautiful full fans of tail feathers to display for a couple of weeks a year, right after the molt when they’ve shed the old nasty ones and the pretty new ones have grown in.
Before long, they start looking scraggly. Battered tail feathers. Scratches and scabs on the exposed skin on the head and neck. And their snoods . . . oh my, those poor snoods get battered and cut and bruised.
It’s the fights. All day long, the toms are either strutting around, preening their feathers or fighting and tearing up their feathers. Or squaring off, getting ready to fight.
The insults fly. The feet stomp, then one will reach in and grab the other by the snood or the neck or whatever else is handy.
Sometimes they pair off, kind of like team wrestling but more vicious.
Then things really get out of control. Somewhere in that blurry glob of skin is four heads. Four beaks, all clamped down on part of somebody else.
And so it goes until one of the farmcollies breaks up the fight and noses the birds apart. Every day. Usually several times a day. Such is life in the flock. Big birds. Small brains. They can’t help themselves.