Broody Turkey Issues

Shontel Moore

In the Brooder
Aug 2, 2017
3
0
17
So, my Black Spanish hen has diligently sat a lovely nest of 9 eggs for the last month, and they finally started to hatch a couple of nights ago. Yesterday I went out to her nest to find one of the babies crushed to death, and two unhatched eggs gone. I had originally thought it was a predator attack, and set up my guard dog closer to her nest, along with a few traps.

However, this morning, another baby was crushed to death while it was in the middle of hatching, and my hen was aggressive towards one of the babies that was pipped (pecking it to try to break it).

I'm not sure if she's stressed out by what might have been a predator attack and killing them, or if she's been the one killing them this whole time. She's never sat eggs before this, so maybe she's confused about what's happening? Or maybe something else could explain it? Anyone else have experiences with broody turkeys like this?
 

R2elk

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So, my Black Spanish hen has diligently sat a lovely nest of 9 eggs for the last month, and they finally started to hatch a couple of nights ago. Yesterday I went out to her nest to find one of the babies crushed to death, and two unhatched eggs gone. I had originally thought it was a predator attack, and set up my guard dog closer to her nest, along with a few traps.

However, this morning, another baby was crushed to death while it was in the middle of hatching, and my hen was aggressive towards one of the babies that was pipped (pecking it to try to break it).

I'm not sure if she's stressed out by what might have been a predator attack and killing them, or if she's been the one killing them this whole time. She's never sat eggs before this, so maybe she's confused about what's happening? Or maybe something else could explain it? Anyone else have experiences with broody turkeys like this?
Does the tom have access to the nest?

Newly hatched poults are at risk from being stepped on anytime another turkey approaches the nest. The broody hen may accidentally step on the poults or eggs herself while trying to defend her nest from friendly or non-friendly intruders.

Not all turkey hens are great mothers, especially first time mothers. The missing eggs may have been broken in which case the hen will pick them up with her beak and carry them away from the nest area.

None of this is to imply that it wasn't caused by a predator, only pointing out that there may be other explanations.

When I let my hens go broody and hatch eggs, I remove the newly hatched poults from the hens as soon as I find them. I put them in a brooder where I don't have to deal with the uncontrollable variables of a hen raising them in the general population.

On a rare occasion, I will let a hen raise her own poults if I have a free area that is not in the general population for at least the first two weeks.

Good luck.
 

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