we have one 14-month-old bourbon red Tom and one hen of the same age. We also have one blue Slate hen that will be 1 year in July. Last spring the red hen started laying and she resumed again about a month ago. Both hens lay daily. The Tom has been trying to mate with both hens for several months but I'm not sure how successful he has been; when I see him it doesn't seem like he's getting the job done. About a week ago the bourbon red hen started sitting on the eggs. We collected them up until Tuesday, so she has four under her right now. Problem is that she gets up a few times a day for a good hour, and it's cold in Toledo right now. She gets very upset when we collect her eggs and sometimes we have to come back because she tries to bite. She's normally a very big sweetheart.
So I have a couple questions about this whole process. First, when are turkeys able to start producing babies? Do I leave the eggs in the nest until she has the number I want to hatch and then collect any extras? What do I do if she's intermittently laying on the eggs? How long do they keep the right temperature when it's about 30° outside? I know to check the eggs after about 10 days with a candle. And I know to make sure I mark the ones that she's going to try to hatch. We've raised chickens for a few years and this is our first full year with a set of heritage turkeys. We have no roosters for our hens so we don't breed chickens. I'm basically completely unfamiliar with the entire process. I'm really stumped about how we collect enough eggs for her to lay on and start incubating so that they all hatch about the same time. Especially with only two hens laying and I'm really questionable about the blue Slate's viability.
Any help would be greatly appreciated! There is not a whole lot of help online for raising turkeys through this process. I do own storeys book but doesn't deal much with breeding.
Thank you in advance for any help I can get! 🐣🦃🦃