breeding turkeys -- first time -- disappearing eggs

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by debv, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. debv

    debv New Egg

    Apr 22, 2012
    Hi, we have two royal palms -- male and female. We saved them to try and breed after harvesting the rest last year. They were doing great, mating fine, etc. The female started to lay her eggs in our woods (took a while to figure that out!) So we moved them into her nest in the turkey house and penned them up together. She had about 7 eggs at that time. Once they were in a pen, the male turkey started to sit on the eggs. I have learned now this can happen, but at first it surprised us. The question I have now is about the eggs. We want our turkeys to raise their own. Tom mostly sits on the eggs, but sometimes the hen will sit with him. When they are off the nest, we count the eggs. The amount keeps changing... it went from 7 to 4 to 5 to 4... etc. Obviously when it goes up, the hen must be laying. But when it goes down, we started to get suspicious. There were no signs of broken eggs in the pen or the shelter... until today. I found a broken egg with the inside gone in their shelter. I am 99% sure there is no larger predator that can get to these eggs. The turkeys pen (surrounded by field fence) is within our pasture which is surrounded by electric fence. The shelter is closed each night with the turkeys inside. A small predator is possible, (like the size of a snake or rat), but I suspect the turkeys are doing this. Why? Why eat some and not others? Are they accidentally breaking them when sitting and cleaning the broken ones out? Or has one of them developed the taste for eggs? Or do they know something we don't -- like these ones aren't fertile? Curious why this is happening and how to stop it :) Thanks for any help! Seems like there aren't a lot of turkey breeders out there!
  2. sswishpaul

    sswishpaul New Egg

    Jul 7, 2011
    Honestly, I'm not quite sure exactly of how to answer this. As long as we've been raising turkeys, we never had our toms try to sit on a nest. But for most of those years, ours have been free-range and have their nests all over the farm.
    How old is your tom? If he's young, he could be breaking them. Though I've never had that with the RP's we've raised.
    Also, a small predator could be getting to the eggs. For example, a weasel can get into a hole about two inches in size.

    Have you tried to gather the eggs, collect a few then place them under her? Or even try adding a few chicken eggs to her nest.
    If it were me, I would get tom out of there to leave her alone. That should help her go broody.

    Just some suggestions...
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
  3. doop

    doop Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2011
    n.e minnesota
    I tried pennin up my hens with my Tom also. There used to free ranging and would just cry all day to get out and when they couldn't hold it anymore they just dropped their egg in run I put them in the box I made for them and my Tom would get in there and break them and eat the whole thing shell and all. I gave up let em out put a barrel out by where one likes to lay and she lays in there now ill just shut her in when she sets. I trained my lab to find nests so we track them down and put those eggs in barrel too.
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Hens will eat what they consider to be `bad' eggs. They will also carry them off. All three of our hens have, at one time or another, actually flown out of run with eggs and then flown back into run to shed and nests. I'd suspect Rat snakes (or similar) though hens rarely put up with a snake anywhere near nest. An egg-eating tom wouldn't stop at one or two and not touch the others. A couple of examples of hens sneaking bad eggs away from nests: [​IMG] [​IMG]
  5. debv

    debv New Egg

    Apr 22, 2012
    This is all awesome advice. I wondered if there might be way they can tell if some eggs are bad... since there are always eggs in the nest, like they are being selective. Our local poultry expert at the feed store said it is fine if he sits on the nest and that Toms can actually be good 'mothers'.

    I couldn't let her just free range and lay eggs anywhere as we have many predators that will eat her or the eggs. So, she has to nest in her turkey house.

    I will assume that they know what they are doing... will see if anything hatches out of there :)

    Thank you all!!

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