Do I have a bad hen?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by rssnbabybear, May 12, 2016.

  1. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All of my babies are dead. My turkey hen went broodie before I was ready and laid her nest on the floor of the chicken coop. I left her and hoped for the best.
    As the eggs started hatching I found two poults dead near her but not under her. I thought the chickens did it. I moved her to my broodie coop which had opened up. I checked on her later and three were trying to hatch but had started drying out in their shells. Two were cold and long dead. The third I freed and put back under her.
    The next morning I couldn't find it.
    She had three eggs left which culminated in them all trying to hatch but dying before they were free. But these weren't dry. They look crushed. Was it an accident or did my hen actually kill all 8 of her poults as they were hatching?
     
  2. feedman77

    feedman77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Was this her first batch of poults?

    Some new hens get nervous and can crush them.

    What type of hen is she?

    Depending on your area. It's still early in mine my broodys still have time to brood another batch. If it or was me I would let her try again and see what happens.

    If the same thing happens I would say it's the hen.

    I just had 3 hens hatch out yesterday.

    Out of 20 eggs they hatched 16. There were a couple crushed.
     
  3. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes
    Yes this was her first batch. I wish I could let her try again, but once I was sure she was fertile I had to cull my Tom due to problems between him and my rooster. She is a heritage bronze. Are they typically good mothers? I hatched a few in my incubator. The Tom was royal Palm so there are three babies mixed of those two breeds.
     
  4. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens have good hatches, and... less good hatches.

    One of my hens sat her first clutches last year and was a stellar mom. Hatched out darn near every egg- we did have a few crushed eggs/babes, but I was sitting her on chicken eggs, so, it's to be expected with the size/shell under her weight. She raised up babies and did wonderfully. This year? She's on hatch 6 and has yet to raise anyone! Her babes do the same as yours; they wobble away from her, get lost, and die. She's not talking to them, she's not bonding with them, not feeding them, not calling them. She just wants to keep sitting. I've tried her on chickens, ducks, and turkeys this year and have had to take away ALL of her babes. She's literally been sitting eggs since February and seems to have no interest in actually raising the chicks this year. I had a hen do that last year, but that hen is now happily raising her poults this year!

    So, in summary, they're a mystery. Don't give up on her. Just be prepared that if you're going to hatch under a broody, it's not in your control. Any broody is going to lose chicks somewhere along the line. If you want the best possible success chance, you've got to do it yourself. [​IMG]
     
  5. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On fertility; this year I discovered that chickens can retain their fertility for a maximum of 6 weeks. I'd been told 2, 3, and 5. But 6 was the magic number. I 'rented' a rooster andh ad some fun experiments with that. I don't know how turkeys work. My educated guess would be the same length of time, or possibly longer with the 'wild' attributes of the heritage. I mean, it would make sense in the wild, right? I've never experimented with it in my turks though.

    If your hens get back to laying, it's worth incubating the eggs for a week and seeing if they're viable! The worst case is you lose an otherwise edible turkey egg, best case you get some poults from your late tom!
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
  6. feedman77

    feedman77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The fertility on a hen turkey from one successful mating could potentially last an entire laying season.

    But with the metabolism changes after the hen has set for an incubation cycle the chances of her still being fertile about almost zero. But I won't hurt to try if she starts laying again.

    Best bet is if you know someone that has or can find another tom to place her with.

    If you want more poults.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ugg, I'm so over this turkey I'm not sure what to do. She has been without eggs for thee days now and I can't get her to leave the nest. She has no occupied one of my chicken nest boxes (a little too small for her) and is trying to set on their eggs. I'm going to make an attempt to put my 10 day old poults under her and just see if that makes her happy. If not, poults back to the booder inside and turkey to the freezer. [​IMG]
     
  8. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    I would not try to put poults under her. What I do when I want to give poults to a hen is to place the poults and the hen in an area where they aren't right on top of each other. If the hen wants the poults, she will round them up on her own. If the hen doesn't want poults she is most likely to ignore them but a rare hen will try to kill them. I stand by and wait for the hen to make her decision. If she accepts the poults I let her have them and if she doesn't accept them I remove her from the area.

    Good luck.
     
  9. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was thinking of starting my process at about 9:00 tonight. I was going to put the first poult out and watch it for 10-15 minutes. If she takes it then I would put out the other two and watch for an hour. I have an infant at home so, he will wake me a couple hours after that and I will check on them all. New Mexico weather is having lows in the high 40's, so I don't think the poults will die in that time frame if she throws them out after that. I plan to keep a very close eye so I don't loose my babies. But, I can't keep her around if she is going to do nothing but try to brood my chicken eggs and I have no more Tom to allow her to try again.
     
  10. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    I do it during the daytime but like I said I am not trying to put poults under a hen. I am giving the hen the opportunity to claim the poults if she wants them. I stay and watch the process. It doesn't take very long to see if the hen will round up the poults and take charge of them. Forty degree temperatures will kill 10 day old poults that don't have a heat source and it really won't take that long for them to be severely chilled.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2016

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