by Jennifer Sartell of Iron Oak Farm
If you’ve been following me here on Community Chickens, the Iron Oak Farm Facebook Page or on our You Tube Channel, I’ve been documenting the progression of our Black Spanish turkey hatch. I’ve been sharing videos and photos covering each step of this exciting time. Some of the topics I’ve covered have included:
How to program the incubator settings for turkeys;
The transition period from incubator to brooder
First Day in the Brooder
I even cover how to help out a broody turkey hen so she can do the work for you in my post DIY Turkey Nest Box.
Ideally, I wanted our hen to hatch out a brood of turkeys and raise them herself. But in the past two springs, our turkeys hens have proven to be lacking in the maternal instinct department.
This year I was determined to hatch out some turkey poults, even if it meant using an incubator. I’ve been calling them our “back up” eggs because in the past, our turkey hens have been spotty with their nesting habits and have failed to hatch us out any poults. The ironic thing is that this year, we’ve decided to hatch out some of our own, and it seems like our hens are more diligent than ever. So we might have a lot of turkeys this year!
Throughout this process many of you have asked several questions about hatching turkeys, and I’ve picked up a common theme from your comments that there isn’t a lot of information out there on breeding and hatching turkeys. This makes sense as most of the turkeys in the US are artificially inseminated in factory farms. Backyard turkey rearing hasn’t caught on as well as chickens. Some reasons for that might be because turkeys need more space to raise, they’re harder to find (you don’t see them for sale at every feed store in the spring), and they’re not usually raised for egg production.
Turkeys are a different kind of commitment than chickens. While they do lay edible eggs, turkeys haven’t been bred generation after generation to produce eggs the way domesticated chickens have. In my experience, they will lay really heavily throughout the spring and then production sort of dwindles off throughout the summer and into fall. If you choose to raise turkeys it’s either for a pet, or to breed, or for meat. Which can be a daunting thought to those that are just starting out in the farm movement. But for those of you out there that are interested, hopefully I can help by sharing our experience, which in my opinion has been really successful.
We approached incubating turkey eggs in much the same way that we hatch out chicks in our incubator. So if you’re familiar with that process you should do great with turkeys.
For some great tips on the incubation process read my series Incubating Advantages. It’s mostly about chicks, but there’s some good information that would apply to turkeys as well.
We started with 9 turkeys from our original flock. That year we processed 5, leaving the biggest and best looking Tom and four of our best looking hens. These will be our breeding stock.
To help you select your breeding pair, learn about what your breed should look like. Visit poultry shows and study the first place winners. Sometimes the judges leave comments on the cages which can be very insightful. Otherwise, choose the most healthy and vibrant pair from your stock.
Laying and Egg Fertility
Our turkey hens started laying their second spring. So they were about 10 months to a year when we first started seeing eggs. We raise heritage Black Spanish turkeys. It takes these heritage breeds a little longer to fully mature.
Our turkeys breed naturally…organically… without the use of artificial insemination as many of the larger breeds like the Broad Breasted White require.
Once the hen is laying, there’s a good chance that your male is old enough to start doing his part as well. Our turkeys are very discrete, and I rarely see them mate, but try to get a visual of the deed being done. Make sure they’ve worked things out and that the male has mastered his form. Sometimes things can be clumsy in the beginning and you want a good secure mating pattern to ensure fertile eggs.
After the hen is mated, she will lay fertile eggs for a week to 10 days. The further out from the conception date, the lower the chance of fertility. If your Tom is mating with your hens regularly, then eggs can be collected with consistent fertility.
Wash your hands thoroughly before you handle eggs as the oils in your skin can block the invisible pores on the outside of the egg shell. Keep the nesting box clean so you have a better chance of collecting clean eggs. Clean eggs hatch better because debris blocks the pores of an egg and it can also be a perfect breeding ground for bacteria…especially in a warm, moist incubator. If your egg is soiled and you don’t have the option to swap if for a clean one, let the area dry and then brush off what you can with a dry, stiff bristle brush.
Eggs should be collected daily and can be stored in temperatures between 50-65 degrees. This is ideal, but I’ve gone beyond these temperatures and still had success. A cool dry place like a basement would work well.
The eggs will stay fertile for about a week. You can go beyond this, but the fertility drops the further you move away from the day the egg was laid. Once you have a nice clutch collected, the eggs can go into the incubator at the same time. This works best because you can treat all the eggs with the same processes as incubation progresses, and all your poults will hatch on roughly the same day.
Turkeys incubate for 28 days at 100.5 degrees. We used our Brinsea Mini Advanced incubator which would technically hold 7 eggs, but it would be tight, especially after they hatched. We set 5 eggs and three were fertile.
Here is a video showing how we programmed our incubator for the turkeys eggs.
You can candle your turkey eggs starting at around day 5 or 6. The shell of a turkey egg is pretty thick, and it can be difficult to see what’s going on. To candle, move into a dark room and hold a flashlight at the bottom of the egg so the light glows through. You should be able to see the hint of veins spreading across the egg shell. If you can’t see this, give the egg a few more days. I was certain one of our eggs was infertile but after 2 weeks, it was progressing right along with the rest.
On day 26 Stop rotating the eggs and double the humidity. On our Brinsea Mini Advanced, the eggs stop turning automatically and we add water to the second chamber in the center of the incubator. On this day I also like to get our brooder ready. Get the feeders and waterers washed, and get the temperature regulated using a thermometer. You want it between 95 to 100 degrees.
Our turkeys piped on day 28. Right on schedule. Pipping is the first crack of the eggshell made from the inside with the turkey’s eggs tooth. The egg tooth is a small, hard lump on the end of the beak that the turkey will use to break through the shell.
The pip is usually a pyramid shaped break and from there, you want what is often called a zipper crack, where the poult breaks the shell apart creating a division around the circumference of the egg. It will thrust against the two shell halves slowly dividing the egg in half.
Hatching takes hours, so be very patient. The video below was toward the end of the hatch and even then I had to edit out a lot to make the time shorter. The chicks will make progress little by little followed by long periods of resting.
Once a chick is hatched I usually try to let them fluff out in the incubator, but the turkeys were slightly taller than chicks and I felt like they were having some space issues so I let them fluff out in the brooder. If you do this, make sure the temperature of your brooder is between 95 to 100 degrees before you place the poults inside. Freshly hatched poults are damp and can catch a chill very easily. Move them quickly and surround the poult with your hands till your reach the brooder.
This last poult needed a bit of assistance. The inner membrane was shredded instead of torn like a zipper. This is most likely due to a humidity issue. Probably because we opened the incubator to get the first two poults out which let out too much moisture.
We helped seperate some of the fibers after the membrane had dried and turned a tan/tight brown color. That way I knew that the poult had absorbed the blood/fluid from the veins that are in this layer.
Soon after, the poult unhinged that middle section and popped off the top of the shell.
(I plan on writing a post about assisting in hatching in the near future, but for now, only do it as an absolute LAST resort, it is very dangerous and can often lead to death of the chick/poult.)
- A turkey brooder is very similar to a chick brooder, so if you’ve ever set one up for chicks you’re ahead!
- They need a safe, dry container.
- Bedding: pine chips work best.
- A source of heat, like a heat lamp.
- Thermometer to check the temperature.
Make sure that the brooder has an area where the heat lamp isn’t as direct so they can move to this cooler space and regulate their temperature. This is also a good place to store the waterer so it doesn’t get too hot.
Raise the heat lamp each week to lower the temperature of the brooder by 5 degrees. This slowly weans them of that warmth until they feather out.
Food and Water
Poults learn how to eat and drink from their mother. So for the first few days you’ll have to be Mom in this department. Show the poults their water by carefully picking up the poult and dipping the tip of the beak in water. Repeat this a few times a day until the poult is eating and drinking on its own.
You can start turkeys on chick starter, but I find that they do better on a game feed with an even higher protein percentage. Feed stores don’t often stock this, so you might have to have it special ordered. Do this way in advance of your hatch date so that you have it when the poults are ready.
You’ll also need chick grit available at feed stores, which is tiny gravel that helps a bird digest its food.
And a waterer designed for newborn poultry. For the first few days you can add an electrolyte supplement to the water to give weak poults a boost.
Have food available at all times.
Turkey poults really are easy to raise. They are less messy than chicks (in my opinion) because they don’t tend to scratch and throw bedding everywhere. The water stays clean, and they are just a very gentle bird. Turkeys really are an amazing addition to our farm. I’m so blessed to have been able to experience these animals full circle. We’re back where we began with a second generation of turkey poults in the brooder.
Excellent lesson, I really enjoyed it from the beginning to the end of the lesson, I have learnt enough. Thanks.
How long can we keep chicks in an incubator after hatching?
my female turkey laid 16 eggs and started sitting on them. it later destroyed 3 of them consecutively. please what do I do and is it normal
my female turkey laid 16 eggs and started sitting on them. it later destroyed 3 of them consecutively. please what do I do
I am still interested in learning more about the rearing of turkeys in my backyard. Hope the information you supplied will open doors for me about turkeys.
I have 2 Eastern wild turkeys a male and a female. My hen was recently laying fertile eggs and as I was collecting them every day I eventually got enough to put in my incubator. My hen was still laying eggs so I was going to see if she would hatch them herself. A Predator ending up getting the eggs but she is still in her nesting house like as if she was still sitting on them. This has been going on now for a little over a month, every now and then you’ll see her come out for water and food and scratches around on the ground and acts like her regular self then goes right back into her nesting box like 15-30 minutes as if she was going back to sit on her eggs that aren’t even there. If you have any kind of advice on what to do I will be highly appreciated for that.
This is great. We Farm our Turkey in Nigeria and it’s 7Months before it starts laying eggs. I thought the egg can hatch in a day with an Industrial Incubator.what is your thout
A big thanks
I have only the female turkey and it’s starting laying eggs, I don’t know if is fertile or not. Pls what do I do?
I have 2 Eastern wild turkeys a male and a female. My hen was recently laying fertile eggs and as I was collecting them every day I eventually got enough to put in my incubator. My hen was still laying eggs so I was going to see if she would hatch them herself. A Predator ending up getting the eggs but she is still in her nesting house like as if she was still sitting on them. This has been going on now for a lot over a month, every now and then you’ll see her come out for water and food then goes right back into her nesting box as if she was going back to sit on her eggs that aren’t even there. If you have any kind of advice on what to do I will be highly appreciate it.
How do you house them? Are they (males and females) together all year round? Do you have to separate them at any time? I am hoping to just let them do their thing and not have to incubate, only time will tell.
Do all the eggs hatch at the same time? One hatched and the other seven have not. They have chicks in them because one was broken and a baby was inside but did not live. Could they have dead ones inside or are some just taking longer?
Morgan, Chick eggs typically hatch at the 21 day mark. If they haven’t hatched after 25 days, they most probably won’t. Sorry.
I have some wild turkey eggs that I have in an incubator because the mother got killed by a fox. I found them just after the mother was killed. So my question is I’m approaching 24 days since I found them. Since I don’t know how long the mother was sitting on them should I stop rotating them now?
That’s a hard call. If you’re pretty sure of the 24 days incubation, then yes, we’d recommend that you stop rotating them. Let us know what happens.
My turkey is just now making her nest of eggs in late may is there any chance they will hatch or is it too late in the year
The chicks should hatch just fine. Poultry often nest in spring and hatch out summer chicks. In fact, many folks prefer to raise summer chicks because the weather is usually more to the birds’ likening. Let us know what happens!!
Thank you for the information shared. My turkey laid eggs outside the fowl run and started incubating on 17/05/21. Is is ok for me to change the location of the eggs to a safer place in terms of warmth and general safety. Please advise because I do not want to lose any poults.
I need more information about turkey.
I’m trying my hand at raising turkeys and my turkey hens have just started laying eggs.
Every other day we pick an egg but unfortunately broken.
Could it be the Tom breaking the eggs?
It’s possible that the turkeys are just being clumsy, especially if this is your turkey hen’s first season laying eggs. If you can borrow a video cam, it might be worth recording what’s going on around the nest to try to solve your problem. Let us know what happens!!
Consider adding oyster shells and or more grit to their diet to make the egg shells harder. 🙂
That is very cool! As this could help feed guatemalan people. I think helping people produce their own food will give them food security.
Juanita my Turkey has been laying soft eggs is this normal if not what should I do? Thank you Tina Dewberry
If your getting soft eggs feed oyster shell with the regular feed you can get it at the feed store
I had an unplanned hatching… LOL two turkey pullets Sept 11. My neighbor has a few chickens and ducks as pets, she would like the two pullets. Do you have any advice on when and how to separate them from their mom. They are very healthy strong pullets get along fine with my other turkeys chickens donkey and horses… 🙂 They run around the farm climbing and flying. I was thinking of putting them in a wire cage in the barn so mom can see them but not touch them. Then in a few days give them to my neighbor. What do you think?
Good question. Are you worried about the pullets or mom? I think that you can probably just give them to your neighbor. If they are already running around, they have broken their need for mom and if they are returning to her, it’s more out of habit. Do what you think best and seems to keep everyone happiest.
Please mine is 6 months and my male is pregnating it please can she starts laying
Hello! This is our first time trying to hatch baby turkey poults! One is in the incubator and our hen is laying on one. Our one in the incubator is supposed to hatch today! But the egg she’s laying on won’t be ready for another 8-10 days :/ I have a couple Qs… can I slip the incubated poult under her after it hatches? Will she care for it just fine? & will she keep laying on her egg till it hatches since she’ll have the baby chicken under her?? Also, can they be outside in a covered/segregated area? Do they need a lamp since she’s laying on them and it’s summer? I keep trying to find these answers online and its hard to come across my specific answers. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! This article was super informative also 🙂
Thanks for your time
Thanks for the info on Turkeys,I recently added these birds to my backyard poultry farm, and I had no clue how to go about breeding them, now after reading your documention I feel I can move forward well equipped. Thanks.
Thank you for this excellent article. I’m a new momma of a sweet turkey, and this article was very insightful.
Thank you for your experiment and post as I am not going to re invent the wheel. I will always writer to you in case of any problems . I intended to raise up to 5000 birds for meat in Uganda East Africa. In a years time I must have more than 2000 birds. I need some information about slaughter and how to prepare them for the market.
I will love to get more knowledge on breeding.
My hen had been sitting on her eggs for about 40 days now and none had hatched. So can I assume that they’ll not hatched at all
Hi. Two of my hens have hatched 6 chicks each out
of a total of 17 eggs that each hen had laid. Last time the eggs hatched has been more 2 weeks. Have they finished hatching? So can I get rid of the remaining eggs that have not hatched although they appear to be ok.
Thank you for the i information! Very helpfull
A little like you we have a turkey hen who hatched her own and we hatched some in an incubator….. mum appears to be good but can we put our week old incubated hatchlings out with mum who has 2d old hatchlings?
My hen lays a egg since six days ago and hasn’t been able to lay another what might be the problem.does she needs to mate before laying another
Kindly help me out, I have both male and female turkeys of over a year old , I can confirm that they mate but the eggs does not mature to poults , I took almost 100 pieces to hatchery centres also I practiced the backyard I discovered it become spoil and stinking when it break, and my intention is to breed more for commercial. I built a special place for them and give them medication when needed. I am getting tired what shall I do,,thanks
How long should we wait until we can safely assume we have none hatching. Today is day 28 and I don’t see any pips. If there are no pips by tomorrow then can I assume we have none hatching?
Will an egg still hatch if it has been rolled harshly? My little cousin kicked my incumbent and one egg went rolling.
I have a wild turkey I’ve raised since I found her by herself with no other chicks in sight. At 40 weeks of age she laid her first egg & second egg, inside the hen house, on clean fresh shavings. The third & fourth egg she laid in a bed of straw. Her fifth egg, she laid in a deep pan of water! Do you have any idea as to why she laid that egg in a pan of water? Thanks in advance for any info you can give me.
What do I put my setting on my brinsea mini 2advance for turkey eggs?
Is it true that Turkey hens which has hatched some fertilized eggs before can hatch their subsequent eggs even if they were not fertilized provided their previous hatched eggs were fertilized. Kindly revert. Thank you.
Eggs have to be fertilized to hatch.
Been having egg to hatch .but babies tent to holed they head back.why?
Please I want to know if the remaining 3 eggs left behind after the set of hatching can still be hatch since the turkey keeps still sitting on them.
It was five days now that 8 eggs hatched.
Kindly advise us. Brgds
Turkey eggs typically hatch in 28 days. Have you candled the eggs to see if they are viable? Here are two article about candling.
Please want to know why turkey eggs do not hatch but will be using correct temperatures and humidity. Kindly advise..thank you
I heard that once a turkey hen starts to sit on her eggs, if the eggs are touched for any reason they won’t hatch anymore. Please how true is this? I’m asking because my lil cousin took two eggs From the four the turkey was already sitting on. And I’ve been told that the remaining two won’t hatch. Please enlighten me. Thanks for your response
In our experience, no truth to the rumour. Some folks let the turkey hen hatch her own eggs, some move the eggs to a different hen, some move the eggs to an incubator where they hatch just fine.
Thanks for asking!
My hen turkey since her first laying it has taken 2months in laying her eggs.and not ready to sleep on them,what might be the problem?
I need a foreign breed turkey fertilised eggs for Nigerian market especially from Canada, America or Europe . Please can I get help for the link. Thanks
I hear a turkey lays about 2 eggs per week which means that it will take a month for it to finish lay laying,will the eggs stay fertile for a month?
Yes. Turkeys, chickens, quail… it takes all of them some time to lay a clutch. Once they have laid as many eggs as they are going to for a clutch (about two weeks for a turkey to lay 10-12 eggs), they begin the process of continuous incubation. The eggs can get quite cool before that without any issues. The incubation process in a fertilized egg is essentially “woken up” when the mum begins to sit the clutch continuously, which raises the temperature of the eggs to 99.5 F or 37.5 C. She will sit on the eggs for 26-28 days, turning them every hour or so and only occasionally leaving the nest to grab a bite to eat.
Good luck!!! Let us know what happens!!
Hello! Thank you for the info and photos. The picture of the chick folded up in the egg is truly one of the Wonders of Life.
About 2 months ago, we made 4 of the turkey nest boxes from your measurements. Lo’ and behold, one of our hens laid a huge clutch (13-14?), and a second hen is in the next door box (not a clutch yet, but laying). They both sit on their eggs every day-and they TALK to them. Oh, it’s so cute. I hope they hatch. It’s only been a couple of weeks. I give the Tom a 50/50 shot that he was pointing in the right direction- lol. They’re learning!
Our other two hens are less involved (one is a Bourbon Red – I think she snuck an egg in nest #2, but not confident it is fertilized…let’s just say that her “come hither” signals are different from the browns, and our appear to “get it”.) Wish us luck!
Can you house a male and female together throughout the laying season, or do you need to keep them separate except to mate every week?
Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of different theories about this. The best advice seems to be… see what your turkeys do. If the males are being too aggressive and hurting your females, keep them separate. Some Toms can be pretty relaxed, and don’t hurt the females. Be prepared to house the males separately, but let their behaviour dictate what you do. And be prepared to change gears as they age. Just like us, their behaviours can change over time.
Housing a mail and female turkey together doing egg laying isn’t a good thing to do. From my observation of my turkey birds, the male will want to mate with the female when she sits down to lay an egg and during this process the other already layed egs might be destroyed.
Do you have any wilds turkey
I have free range turkeys, about a week ago my one hen seemed to be gone. Till this morning when she appeared, ate and disappeared again. I think she’s laying on eggs but don’t want to disturb where she’s hiding. Should I follow her? Will she bring the babies out of hiding once they are hatched?
Chances are pretty good that if she’s a good mom, she’ll bring the babies back when she’s ready. You might follow her (and take some binoculars with you) just to see where she is and that everything looks ok.
We in desperation after the turkey sat for months attemting to hatch procuredan icibater egg at the state fair
I added to nest of donated chick eggas she been sitting. She has pecked away majority of shell leaving the membrain and seemingly intact . I took in and put o broodeeout of fear it would rupture.. i wished id begged a chick..what to do?
It sounds like your turkey hen isn’t going to brood successfully. Some don’t. You might consider harvesting her and starting over with another turkey hen.
I have a broody hen with it own eggs and now I have given it two turkey eggs to hatch but I have learned that by 21 days the hen will hatch it eggs while turkey takes 26 to 28 to hatch so what should I do? To have my turkey eggs hatched
You may need to borrow an incubator from a friend. You could also try setting up a very warm nest with heat lamps to keep the turkey egg warm (and humid) enough, but that will be dicey. Your hen might continue to brood the turkey eggs even after the chicken chicks have hatched, but that depends on the individual hen. Your best option for success will be to have an incubator ready to go in case the hen won’t stay on the nest. Best of luck!
Loved the info. on turkeys! Wondering how much more space they require than chickens…
On average, turkey require 1/3 again to 1/2 again the space of chickens per bird. Here’s a more in-depth article that may answer your question.
Would a mother turkey remove a viable egg from her nest?
This question has been forwarded to Jennifer Sartell. I’ll let you know her answer.
Here is Jennifer’s answer:
To answer the question, yes. Our Black Spanish turkey hens were very “weird” mothers. They would sit on a nest, then give up half way through. I was able to salvage some of the eggs in the past and finish incubating them in an incubator. I think their mothering instinct is somewhat lacking or confused.
Hope this helps! Have a great week!
Thanks, Jennifer Sartell
I don’t raise bids but was looking for an answer to a friends question. TY
Thank you for this information. It really is tough to find anything online. We have a small flock (or rafter) of 5 turkeys. 1 hen sat on an unfertilized nest starting in January. That was probably too early for the Tom and the weather. 2 of the hens are now off in the neighborhood somewhere. (We live in the country so there are plenty of safe hiding places and try as we may we can’t find them) but 1 hen has been sitting in a nest right in the yard and I just discovered she has at least 5 babies hatched. I’m so excited and nervous about letting her raise them. Should I take them away or let her try? This has also redoubled my interests in finding the other two hens. Maybe they’ve hatched some babies out there. They both came home yesterday for a few minutes when I was outside mowing. Thank you again for the information. Did you ever get your hens to raise their clutches?
I am having the same issue and it looks like our Elsa is sitting on about 7 eggs. Barely moves from them at all. We also have one (Hilda) who leaves for the majority of the time, but comes back every so often. Not sure where she is going. We live on a 5 acre farm, so she could be anywhere.
Please my local started lay, as of this point of typing, she have laid 26 eggs and still laying. But she didn’t allow the male to mate her. I believed the eggs are not fertilizer because mating didn’t take place. When she l just pick the egg. Please any suggestions on what to do?
Thank you so much for this great information This is my first time trying to hatch turkey. Your article was of great help.
I just came across your blog, don’t know if you are still doing one,the article I read about raising and hatching turkey poults was about 3 yes. Old. Question: I had a Tom who flogged my husband,and tried to most men and children. I had to find a new place or him. The day I took him to his new owner, I watched him breed on of the hens. A little over a week later one of the hens started laying. After 13 eggs she started setting today. Not sure if he bred her any other before I saw him or not. I have heard they rarely get off nest. Should I put food near her?(usually they go outside in their yard)…also some of the hens WERE laying in same nest, if I try to get this eggs out from underneath get, will she return to the nest?
Message*i have two very young turkeys that I’ve got from a breeder. I would say the oldest is two weeks old and the other one week. I found an egg in their pen! It’s a tiny turkey egg. It looks like a mini turkey egg. I’m freaking out
We’re freaking out a bit too. Turkeys don’t lay eggs until 7 or so months of age. You seem to have a miracle turkey. Or another bird that decided to lay an egg in your turkey pen.
Do you ever let the turkey hen raise her own poults? Do Toms ever eat or kill the young? I have 2 hens laying on a nest together sometimes I see them swap eggs, they are very persistent we have to Tom’s we’ve actually fenced away from them because I’m afraid they’ll hurt the young poults.
my turkey layed 17 eggs at a year old. she set on them for a month and they rotted. last year she made a nest, set in it one hour a day for two months and never layed one egg, this year she has started the same thing. why?
Very hard to know exactly what’s going on with your specific bird. Some hens are rather indifferent mothers; some are really picky about their nesting. Make sure that her nest is private and protected. And if she does lay eggs, you might consider brooding them rather than leaving them to her.
Here are a couple of link and a book suggestion that have more detailed answers:
This link talks about a larger turkey operation, but there’s lots of specific information that you can apply to a small flock.
And there is always Storey’s Guide to Raising Turkeys
looking for day old turkeys and eggs
nice one. I have a problem. my turkeys started laying about 4weeks ago. I have collected only 10eggs from 4turkeys in 4weeks. what could possibly be the problem? thanking you in anticipation of your response.
Please Help!! Our turkey just laid 7 eggs in one day then died. We don’t want our other one to die too. Can anyone tell me what happend? It didn’t act sick or anything. It was fine yesterday.
Please my turkey has being incubation for one month yet has not hatch. What could possible be the cause of it.
Thanks for your quick responses.
This is my first year with heritage turkeys. I expect eggs this spring. I am contemplating letting the hen sit on the nest and not incubate. Do you know how successful this might be or will heritage turkeys not sit and abandon the nest?
We have a pair of black Spanish. Grand champions of our county in FFA. Recently our hen started laying again. But this time all over the pen. Not in a clutch as before. Why is she doing this? We gathered them up with a towel and placed them all together . we didn’t touch the eggs. Do you know why she may be doing this… Thanks!!!
I am curious why eggs would only stay fertile for one week as the article mentioned? In the wild, turkeys lay eggs for a few weeks before sitting and hatching. Any thoughts on this? I currently have 13 eggs in my turkey’s nest as I want her to hatch them herself.
When can i let my tom see his new baby Turkey poults that the hen hatched
I’m glad I found this info I’m also new in breeding turkeys but the basics is simple that is the same as chickens and geese I did lurn a lot here on this info thanx
Ok I have a question but I think I know the answer. I got a turkey we first it was a hen but it sound like a male. But today we got the turkey eggs. Our turkey young and never been around any Other turkey just chickens n ducks. I brought some baby turkeys so we can breed them later. The question is
” a turkey egg can’t hatch with a Tom turkey right?”
because I know the youngest ones are just babies like few weeks to month old.
I have Royal Palms. My hen started laying when she was 9 months old. She tried sitting on 2 nests last year without any luck as I don’t think the tom’s figured things out. This year she began again, but I thought I’d let nature take its course and not take any of her eggs. Obviously her first dozen eggs must not have been fertile since many started exploding. I took them out and cleaned the nest. I noticed many that were slushy and removed them also thinking they were not fertile. She now has 3 eggs that are heavy so I am hoping. I take her off her nest at the same time everyday and let her eat some grass, a few oats, and a drink. And of course relieve herself. I don’t know how long this will be until something happens as I’ve lost count of her days but it is getting close to the 30 day mark so hoping something happens soon.
Just wondering what your ratio of eggs in the incubator to live poults was – mine seemed pretty low but all my hens are just a year old when they started laying.
My 20 years experience hatching & raising Heritage turkeys is somewhat different in several ways. Many people raise Heritage turkeys for eggs, feathers and to sell poults, breeders and eggs, not just meat & eggs.
To start with – without artificial light -my hens start laying at 6 months age or their first Spring, whichever comes last. Most of them will continue to lay from Mar/Apr through October if the eggs are collected – or until they decide to brood those eggs. Usually they get the job of hatching poults, with the incubator as backup. when storing eggs to hatch, they must be turned at least twice a day, and do fine at 70 degrees. If conditions are not too dry they will remain viable for 2 weeks. Turkey eggs are *supposed to* go fro 28 days but I’ve had them hatch as late as 30 days in the incubator ( and a handful have gone to 35)!
Beak dipping is usually not needed, unless you mail order poults. In fact, It can be dangerous, because if the poult aspirates water it will get pneumonia and die. Putting nice shiny marbles in the tray of the waterer works very well; poults are ‘programmed’ to peck at anything shiny, so they peck the marbles and get a taste of water at the same time. Ordinarily, only weak or mail ordered poults need their beaks dipped, and only once or twice their first day in the brooder.
Chick starter is not adequate for poults! Poults need 28% protein and a different ratio of vitamins and minerals. This is very important. Chick starter has only 18% protein and the wrong vitamin/mineral balance. Remember, out in the wild, poults are getting bugs for protein!
I grind up peanuts into meal and add it to their feed. Peanuts are around 46% protein. I also raise mealworms and soldier/black fly larvae for additional variety. I add loose livestock trace minerals to their feed too.
I quit using incubators for hatching my turkeys and now have a battery of cochin and silky hens to do that work. They will sit on 5-6 eggs and when a chick hatches I just take it away and add another egg under the hen. These hens will hatch eggs for three or four months without interruption or problems and the poults are very healthy at hatching.