Broody Turkey

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Jrose, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I posted this in the incubating eggs section, but thought the folks here might know too.

    I've got a 10mo old heritage hen who appears to have gone broody. She's barely left the next box for 3 days and stopped laying 3 days ago. Sits very quiet, very low, just stares off. Not quite like a chicken, but seems broody to me!

    Questions:
    1. Some folks have reported with chickens that their first time broodies lose interest after a few days. Is this common with turkeys, should I avoid setting her on eggs until I know she's serious?
    2. I don't actually have any toms, but I'd like to set her on chicken eggs. Is this possible, both in respect to incubation differences, weight and size of hen (probably 10-12lbs, in good health), and her method of raising the chicks?
    3. She's in the *favorite* lay box, I've got 25 other birds coming and going. Can I move her to her own pen and own small coop to brood chicks, or will moving her break her broodiness?
    4. What can I do to encourage her broody instincts and/or avoid discouraging her?

    Thanks!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She stayed on the nest all night and came out this morning when I put food out. She's very mellow, moving mindfully, staying out of the other birds' ways, and actually had a scrap with the other female turkey, which I've never seen. She was sitting on one of her own eggs, and two chicken eggs. I removed hers while she was up since it's not fertile, and put 3 more chicken hatching eggs in the nest.

    Still curious for input on my questions!
     
  3. chknoodles

    chknoodles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First time broody turkeys are known for accidently squishing the babies when they hatch, not always, but sometimes. We lost 2 poults last year that way so once they babies hatch, we remove them from the broody girl. I would be extra careful with chicken babies, since they are much smaller and watch for crushed eggs, unless the eggs are from a very large fowl bird, like Jersey or Brahma. It is more common to let a broody chicken hen do your hatching.
     
  4. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Her eggs aren't much larger than most of my chicken eggs. I have read that sometimes squishing happens. She's a good girl, very mindful, slow moving (unless spooked), and gentle. She's the barnyard watchdog, too, I think she'll be a good mama hen. If she makes a few mistakes her first time, I can't blame her.

    She's still on the nest. I've slipped 9 chicken eggs under her and am considering this an experiment. She didn't come off the nest this morning for breakfast, so I brought it in to her and let her eat her fill of soaked feed. She seems dedicated, I'm keeping close watch though. Yesterday when she left the nest to eat I checked the eggs, all was well. If I can get the chance I will check again.

    I would like to get her in a separate pen. I have a small 2x3' 'coop' I'd rather her nest in so she can just walk in and out and have less risk of squishing the eggs or chicks. Also, the nesting box she's in now is an old deep wooden desk drawer (top drawer removed, bottom left in so birds jump down into the box to lay, very cozy and protected). This won't be good for the chicks, I imagine, they can't get out or move around much.

    How do I move her and the eggs without interrupting her broodiness?
     
  5. Orpington Crazy

    Orpington Crazy Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't know about turkeys but with chickens I try to move them either after they have hatched or on day 1-5 before giving them the eggs to hatch, I then give them a few days to settle in on fake eggs.after dark seems to be a good time for us, then into a dark nesting area normally with a towel or blanket over it to stop any light and give her 12+hours undisturbed.

    Hope this helps
    Alyssa
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  6. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hm. Hadn't thought to move her BEFORE hand. I *could* put the eggs in the incubator, move her, wait a few days to see if she'll see it through, then put the eggs back under her. Is this a good alternative?

    I also thought to cover the deep drawer she's in at night, take the whole drawer out of the dresser, and move it. It's still very deep (maybe 10"), I don't know what issue this may cause for the chicks, but it'll be closer to the ground and in a safe isolated pen. Thoughts on this?

    Appreciate the input!
     
  7. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    HUSTOM WE HAVE A PROBLEM

    I checked on the girls this afternoon and there are chickens sitting on TOP of my turkey laying eggs ON her! She doesn't seem to notice. This is going to end in broken eggs, I know it. Perhaps I'll try moving her tonight, lock her in with the eggs for 3 days like others are suggesting.
     
  8. chknoodles

    chknoodles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That was an interesting mental picture..your hens going in and laying their eggs atop your brooding turkey. I would like to suggest you go out tonight and mark the eggs that your girl SHOULD be sitting on or the poor girl will be hatching babies for days...LOL. Also, move her at night to a new place, if you plan to give her a new nesting area.
     
  9. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It was an intersting sight! My goodness I didn't know whatI was looking at for a minute! "Hey there- wait- is that- a chicken on your back?" Both parties are in "egg trance" mode, stacked up like a Jenga tower. I have NO CLUE which eggs may be new to the clutch. I didn't mark the ones I gave her, I didn't foresee there being any chance of eggs getting added e.e I just thought "Oh hey, your'e broody, here have some eggs" and gave her all the eggs from the lay boxes one day. I figured it'd just be a fun experiment. Welcome to the experiment!

    Yes I plan to move her tonight. I have a broody pen with a mini coop in it. I planned on pulling her and the whole drawer she's nesting in out of the cabinet and moving them as a unit into the new coop. I'll leave it shut at first and put food and water inside. It's only 2x3, so not a lot of wiggle room. It's got windows I can peek in at her from. If she stays in broody trance I'll open the coop up so she can come out if she wishes. Sound like a plan?
     
  10. chknoodles

    chknoodles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, just picking up the whole drawer..turkey, eggs and all and moving it to a new spot won't bother her in the least. Last year we had a broody buff orp...we just picked up the whole nest box one night and hauled it into the garage..she never cared one bit.
     

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