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Bourbon Red Turkeys

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Is there anyone on here that raises bourbon red turkeys?  We're struggling to hatch out our eggs.  We have one tom and five hens, and our hens randomly lay eggs all over the yard and their pen.  We have been gathering up these eggs and putting them in their nests, but none of the five hens are wanting to sit on the eggs.  Finally when they have, they have been kicking out all of the hens.  Any help would be much appreciated.

post #2 of 11

I am hoping there is a Bourbon Red Guru out there to answer this question.  I am in the beginning stage of raising them and hope this thread has lots of responses.  Good luck with your dilema.

Proud father of Lexi. Luke, Patrick and Justin.  Lucky husband to Thaia and momma to 14 layers, 5 Bourbon Reds, and 8 Pearl guineas and 26 new pullets.

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Proud father of Lexi. Luke, Patrick and Justin.  Lucky husband to Thaia and momma to 14 layers, 5 Bourbon Reds, and 8 Pearl guineas and 26 new pullets.

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post #3 of 11
I'm not a guru but I have been raising Bourbon Reds for years. I have been lucky or unlucky (however you look at it) that my girls will go broody at the drop of a hat. They will set on a golf ball if you let them.

Unfortunately, your hens will not go broody until hey are ready if they go broody at all. It's a waiting game. If you have any broody hens, I would suggest that you collect as many eggs as you can so that they don't go bad and put under the broody hens. Also, if you have an incubator, you may want to put them in there. If you can, you should mark the eggs as they lay (maybe too late to determine already layed eggs). This way you will know what eggs to collect in the event you have to collect the eggs for incubating.

Secondly, the hens will set where they want. Mine tend to find hidden places to lay eggs and set on them I just "happen" to find them and they have gone broody. So far this year, the girls have layed in a bush in front of the house, near the neighbor's garden and in a wooded area.

So where are they laying eggs? Is it a safe place that you can leave the eggs so that they can set on them and hatch them or not?

You will have to be patient and let nature take its course. They will only go broody when they are ready. To ensure that you can hatch those eggs, you may want to put them under a broody hen or get an incubator.
NPIP Certified -115 Chickens, 19 Geese, 19 BR Turkeys, 7 Rabbits, 120 Muscovy Ducks , 9 Guineas, 9 Peafowl, 8 sheep, 1 Goat and currently have 100 broilers to be processed March 2014.  And it's broody/hatching season all over again for 2014.
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NPIP Certified -115 Chickens, 19 Geese, 19 BR Turkeys, 7 Rabbits, 120 Muscovy Ducks , 9 Guineas, 9 Peafowl, 8 sheep, 1 Goat and currently have 100 broilers to be processed March 2014.  And it's broody/hatching season all over again for 2014.
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for the replies, I really am appreciate of any knowledge I can get!  We collected all the eggs we could find and put them on the incubator.  The incubator we used is one that belongs to our local school and they were nice enough to let us use it.  We collected 40 eggs and had 20 on each incubator.  We believe we bumped one incubator and accidentally adjusted the thermometer so 20 of our eggs were lost.  For some reason, only 4 out of the other 20 have hatched.  This is two years that these school incubators have failed on us, so it might be next year we have to buy a new one.

 

We figured we had it made when we had 40 on the incubator, so with the rest of the 30 eggs we placed in one nest (by that time they had all started laying in the same bunch).  Now, we have two females sitting on those eggs and they have been slowing kicking out eggs.

 

Are there any suggestions to what we should have done differently?

 

Thanks again!!

post #5 of 11

Any results?

Proud father of Lexi. Luke, Patrick and Justin.  Lucky husband to Thaia and momma to 14 layers, 5 Bourbon Reds, and 8 Pearl guineas and 26 new pullets.

Reply

Proud father of Lexi. Luke, Patrick and Justin.  Lucky husband to Thaia and momma to 14 layers, 5 Bourbon Reds, and 8 Pearl guineas and 26 new pullets.

Reply
post #6 of 11

We were using 2 different brands of styrofoam incubators, one old, one new with low under 30% hatch rates then we finally ponied up for a good brinsea and our 3 hatches this year were 90 to 95% successful. Haven't tried a broodie hen, none of our birds are old enough and we've had a record cold wet spring so I doubt any poults would have made it.

5 acres, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 6 ducks, 1 husband, and an ever expanding number of chickens.
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5 acres, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 6 ducks, 1 husband, and an ever expanding number of chickens.
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post #7 of 11

this year I upgraded to a LG. yes that was an upgrade from my 1940's sears and roebuck. My first 2 attempts were complete failures. lucky to get a 2% hatch. Upgrade to a GQF 1502. Hatch rate went to 99% first hatch and has stayed there. I am on my 10th hatch right now and I think it is going to be down, but I think the heat we had when I was collecting the eggs had an affect on it. I have 1 more hatch for next week, then I am done for the year. Each week I have been hatching all but 1 egg. so out of 30, 29 would hatch. I have had 25 -35 eggs hatching each week. I have been selling 5 to 10 poults a week and have a boat load in pens

post #8 of 11

coming into this thread late. just got a breeding trio of bourbon reds. proven breeders and producers. we had a nest of hens this past summer and i saw them kick out the eggs, so i collctd them. bad move. they were fertile and the hen was just moving them out to cool them off. now we want to do incubation....can it be done with a gas stove?

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindy59 View Post

coming into this thread late. just got a breeding trio of bourbon reds. proven breeders and producers. we had a nest of hens this past summer and i saw them kick out the eggs, so i collctd them. bad move. they were fertile and the hen was just moving them out to cool them off. now we want to do incubation....can it be done with a gas stove?

I'm not sure about a gas stove but I do have a co-worker that swears that she incubated some duck eggs using a heating pad.
NPIP Certified -115 Chickens, 19 Geese, 19 BR Turkeys, 7 Rabbits, 120 Muscovy Ducks , 9 Guineas, 9 Peafowl, 8 sheep, 1 Goat and currently have 100 broilers to be processed March 2014.  And it's broody/hatching season all over again for 2014.
Reply
NPIP Certified -115 Chickens, 19 Geese, 19 BR Turkeys, 7 Rabbits, 120 Muscovy Ducks , 9 Guineas, 9 Peafowl, 8 sheep, 1 Goat and currently have 100 broilers to be processed March 2014.  And it's broody/hatching season all over again for 2014.
Reply
post #10 of 11

I have had Bourbon Reds for a couple of years now, and I have a neighbor who just started, also. My birds are free-range and they only lay and hatch in the fall.  Because I live in far northern Wisconsin, this can be OK or not, but it is odd to me. Actually, we just had a hen show up with new poults today. The hens so far have been very good mothers. They keep the poults far away from the Toms, who will kill them, and will actually fly up at and attack hawks and eagles trying to snatch them. I actually am not sure that incubating eggs is a good way to rebuild a hearty breeding flock. The point of these heritage breeds is that they do it themselves and there is natural selection going on. I will continue to order birds from different sources in an attempt to rebuild genetic diversity and let the birds work it out.

 

My hens sneak off and lay somewhere obscure. If you discover a nest, it is a mistake to cut anything back or make any sort of path to it. The hen will die and the eggs will be eaten. On the other hand, left to themselves, they seem to do a good job. We even tried building a defensive enclosure around one nest and the hen stopped sitting. Gotta trust them to do it, and we have to let the best of the breed rebuild its natural characteristics.

 

Just a note: my neighbor and I have both noted the COMPLETE disappearance of rats with our free-range Toms on patrol. They don't like them one tiny bit. 

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