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HELP WITH TURKEY HEN AND POULTS!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I had a turkey hen recently hatch some new poults. They are black Spanish turkeys, full breed. I also have a couple of ducks and about 10 chickens and 1 rooster. I have plenty of room for them to be free range and have a coop for them to sleep in at night, altogether. I separated momma and babies because I had a younger hen try to run off with a baby poult. I didn't want them to bully the young poults so that's why I separated them. This is my first time hatching any babies, none of my hens have gone broody at all yet. I'm just not too sure on how to properly care for both of the momma and the babies so they won't be in any danger. There are coyotes, foxes, dogs and such out where I live, which is another reason I don't want to let them free range and get hurt. They are only about four days old today, so they are very small. My hen is a very good mother and keeps them plenty warm, but I know she wants to leave the little area I have them in to forage, eat and drink and poop. I have plenty of water and turkey starter food in their little area, but I just don't know whether I should let her out for a little bit each day, or just let her stay in there with the poults. I also didn't want to put them altogether to risk getting sick since they still are so
Young and fragile at this stage. Oh, and I do have a tom and another hen, the other hen is not broody, but the tom likes to stay around the area with the hen and the poults most of the day. Will the tom hurt the poults once they are big enough to let them be out and about? Also, there are 14 poults. There was a total of 16 eggs, but one did not make it and one egg did not hatch. Any suggestions or ideas?
post #2 of 5

My experience is the poults are fragile in the first week.  Once they're up on their feet, zipping around, learning to feed themselves, can avoid danger, etc. I feel better about letting the broodies wander.  
Chicken chicks seem to be 'in the action' more quickly than poults, leaving the nest around day 3-4, but the poults grow more quickly and gain independence sooner, can fly farther, run faster, and are a little smarter.

My mama hens will beat the snot out of anything that gets near her chicks; the dog, the cats, the goats, other birds, predators, etc.  Heaven help anything that messes with one of my mama hens!  

You have to make a judgement call.  3-4 days in a tiny pen own't hurt mama.  Once the chicks are capable of keeping up with her, try letting them out before dark, so they just get the last few hours to roam before coming back to sleep, see how that goes...

post #3 of 5

My tom won't go out of his way to hurt chicks or poults, BUT- he's excellent at squishing them D:  He's huge, and one wrong step is sometimes fatal.  Also, he doesn't feed babes.  If they get near him whilst eating, he picks them up and tosses them aside!  Not the best papa...  I've learned to keep slow fragile babes from the Tom. 

He also tried to get in the nest box and breed a hen this spring; broke the eggs AND her leg!  She's back in action with a limp now (thank God my doctoring job worked) but it was rough.  He's not a bright boy, but he keeps the flock safe...

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrose View Post
 

My tom won't go out of his way to hurt chicks or poults, BUT- he's excellent at squishing them D:  He's huge, and one wrong step is sometimes fatal.  Also, he doesn't feed babes.  If they get near him whilst eating, he picks them up and tosses them aside!  Not the best papa...  I've learned to keep slow fragile babes from the Tom. 

He also tried to get in the nest box and breed a hen this spring; broke the eggs AND her leg!  She's back in action with a limp now (thank God my doctoring job worked) but it was rough.  He's not a bright boy, but he keeps the flock safe...


X2, Only takes one time to learn the hard way. I let one of my hens in the main pen took out the babies (2 days old) and found two of them squashed, I think one of the toms stepped on them. Now I put the hen with the babies in a separate area where they can see the other turkeys but the babies are safe.


Edited by FarmerMac - 5/9/16 at 9:56am
post #5 of 5

^ To add to that; he's not going to not step on them just because they're older, but once they're a little more durable, they'll bounce back after getting squished.  4 days ago I had a goat step on a fragile hatchling and kill it!  Just yesterday I was watching and another one got stepped on and I caught my breath- it bounced back up like a slinky, albeit screaming, and ran back to mama!

Those darn babies just put themselves in the worst places!  I'm constantly holding my breath, watching them circle and zip around the feet of creatures much larger than themselves!  Those few extra days of growing really make a difference in their durability.


Edited by Jrose - 5/9/16 at 8:58am
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