Getting Poults to Eat - Egg Yolk is the BOMB!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by bramblebrae, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. bramblebrae

    bramblebrae Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 4, 2009
    Ridgefield, WA
    Thank you for all the great posts here. I am finally having a "decent" hatch of turkey eggs, thanks to the advice of many people here, especially Steve of Sand's. I turned my incubator down to 99.7F and 55% humid for incubation and 98.5 for hatch and 85% humid. and used shaved down foam egg cartons for the hatch in the bator during lockdown. Considering I do nothing special with egg care (I don't chill or turn them and only wash them with Hibiclens and warm H2O before puttin in - my birds are filthy about their eggs some days) and some of my eggs were probably 3 weeks old when I put them in bator, I am thrilled to be getting slightly better than 50% hatch of very vigorous wild turkey poults. Could improve I am sure if I kept eggs cool beforehand and turned them.

    What I have experienced in the past is the disappointment of a lousy hatch (one in 13 ratio), and watching a poult wither away and not eat. This time, I used foil, shiny marbles in the water dish, and made a clumpy mix of warm water, hard-boiled egg yolk and crumble. Immediately upon putting poults into brooding area, I took a toothpick and a chopstick I made into a flat paddle at one end, and I put my hand in brooder and began pecking at food, and moving it around with toothpick. Being curious, they come over to see what is going on and seem attracted by staccato pecking sound. I lift the toothpick with a smidge of the mixture up near their beak at head level and move it kind of quickly and jerkily to entice them to "attack" (remember, they are thinking "moths sound good..."). After a few minutes of playing with their food, I had several going to eat on their own, and the others following suit. Now as my hatch goes on, I do not have to train the new ones, the original 4 have taught the others what to do. I also leave a small ramekin with crumbled yolk in there and they gobble it up. I think the egg yolk is really the magic, something about that yellow, even under the red light, that seems to attract them and the high protein seems to make them feisty and vigorous. Not waiting to let them acclimate to the brooder but just diving in and playing with their food, pecking at it with the toothpick and chopstick and moving the crumble around in a jerky predatory-like fashion also was new for me. I spent about 30 minutes making sure all 4 of my first poults were eagerly eating and that has been my insurance policy so far.

    Thanks again - I never would have known about better temps and humidity to incubate and hatch at without reading it here - and especially the egg yolk. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I am so pleased that they are vigorous and doing well for the first time ever for me! For those trying, don't give up - turkeys are trickier to hatch and raise (and live with!) than chickens.
    What a great and supportive community Backyard Chickens is.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  2. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 17, 2009
    Rocky Point, NC
    Congratulations. I hope more hatch.
  3. turkeychickinny

    turkeychickinny New Egg

    Jun 22, 2011
    I have 12, about 1 week old. they seem ok, but how to make sure they're all eating ok without watching constantly? I'm gonna try the hard boiled egg yolk in with their starter. does anyone know if it's ok to give them something else to peck at, like you can with chicks? I read about popped popcorn. THey say it helps with the instinct to peck while they're in the brooder...

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