Going broody?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Pampered Hen, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Pampered Hen

    Pampered Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My darling hen Trudy has been spending the nights on the nest so I decided to let her collect a clutch of eggs. She lays an egg about every other day, so it has been taking a while for a "clutch" to come together. As of last count there are 9 eggs in her nest and the oldest egg in there is about two weeks old. I'm not too worried about these eggs getting stale because I have another source of fertilized eggs should she begin setting.
    My question here is: does she have a clue what she is doing? I sure don't! She is a yearling hen and I wonder if she is just going through the motions, but might not get broody at all? Can anyone tell me is she is on her way to motherhood or just testing the water?

    On another note, I don't even know if these eggs are fertile. She has a tom all for herself but I hardly ever see them mate. Honestly I think she loves me instead of her mate. She squats for me and seeks my attention all the time, comes running when she sees me and follows me around (and that is not food-motivated because I hardly hand out snacks to her). She crawls on my lap whenever she has a chance. Is my lovely Trudy gender and species confused???
     
  2. LostAcreFarm

    LostAcreFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    sorry to get off topic but I have a hen that looks EXACTLY like your avatar!!!
     
  3. Shad

    Shad Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 28, 2011
    If she is sitting at night, she IS broody. If she has not already, she will stop laying eggs soon. If you take the eggs away you will end up with a turkey that will not lay, look quite confused, try to steal a nest and mope around for a while. 9 eggs is enough to make a hen broody- - - from my experience and what I have heard, the aforementioned may vary from breed to breed especially the amount of eggs they are content with.

    Don't worry about the frequency of the copulation, if you have seen a successful mating with the tom, she knows what she is doing, they do this instinctively... some hens are insatiable others will only mate when necessary. they only NEED to mate every two weeks or so. It is not unusual to have a hen stoop for you, often times, if the hen wants it, you can get the hen "ready" for the tom just by being there... it is unlikely that this is necessary.

    Turkeys have an unfortunate and ill conceived reputation for being stupid (compared to what?)... regardless, they are truly enamored with their eggs (or any egg for that matter) and they do often times figure it out on the first try. I would say the best thing for you to do is just sit back, give your hen her comfort zone, relax and take notes of her behavior, that way next time you will be a pro.
     
  4. jasonm11

    jasonm11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Well said, thank you
     
  5. Pampered Hen

    Pampered Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Shad, thanks for your encouragement. I should have added, that she only sits on the nest at night, NOT during the day. I suppose she still might be working on getting enough eggs together before she starts sitting for good.

    From my experience, I can't say those birds are stupid, their instincts are very strong and at times it makes management a bit difficult, like breaking their habit of roosting on the fence instead the coop or persuading them to accept their designated nesting area over a unprotected spot in the shrubs.

    LostAcreFarm: The avatar is Ginger, my fav hen. She is an Easter Egger that just loves to cuddle:)
     
  6. Shad

    Shad Out Of The Brooder

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    hmmm...

    What kind of hen is Trudy? (great name by the way)

    Keep us updated as to your observations... does she care for the eggs?

    Try leaving one of the eggs just at the extent of her reach and see if she puts it away at night,

    You can also mark the eggs (with pencil) and see if she turns / moves them.

    Can/does she roost? is the nest in the area that they roost? are they forced to roost in an enclosed area?
    you know, seeing those eggs could just be driving her mad.

    It is likely that by the time you figure this out, she will be brooding...

    Regarding "stupid" turkeys, I also have "stupid" sheep, cows, llamas, pigs, rabbits, geese, and ducks. Each one comes with their own special kind of stupid and each one consistently outsmarts me. Oh, must I mention, I run a manufacturing facility, you want to talk about stupid...

    -Shad
     
  7. Pampered Hen

    Pampered Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Shad,
    Trudy is a Bourbon Red and turned one year this week. She lives with her mate Franklin, also a Bourbon Red. They are allowed to free range these days and then hang out by the chicken run. (I separated the turkeys from the chickens last October when they began bullying then hens and ganged up on one which I feel might have suffered serious injury had I not intervened. Their attitude has improved over the recent months and nowadays they behave kindly around the hens and all free range together.)

    I trained the turkey pair to go into their coop at night and they have the choice to roost or not. I also managed Trudy to accept a nesting area inside the coop and the choice is hers to either sit on her nest (10 eggs by last count) or roost alongside her mate. She has been opting for sitting on her eggs and has been very careful with these fragile things. I date the eggs so I can keep track of them. She arranges them carefully and built up a nice rim around the edges with straw and hay I provided for her.
    Last night Trudy was on her nest long before it was time to roost but this morning she headed out the coop along with Franklin although it was below freezing (we have had a looong winter here in VT.)

    Should she start sitting at some point, I will replace her older eggs with fertilized ones from a different source. I would hate to see rotten eggs exploding under her...
     
  8. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    I have eggs in my incubator that range over a 14 day span. They are all fertile, with developing embryos in them.
     
  9. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i had a second hen go broody today and both of them that have gone broody hit the nest and not come off.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  10. Pampered Hen

    Pampered Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Trudy started sitting on Wednesday! It looks like she is taking her job seriously. I think she had about 15 of her own eggs under her. Some were over two weeks old. Today I got 8 fertilized eggs from someone else and added them to her clutch and tried to find the older eggs under her. I found 3 from late March and removed them. Dear Trudy was not pleased with my interference, but she rolled the new eggs into the nest and is now sitting on 21. Is that too many? Can she keep them all warm? I wouldn't mind removing a couple more of the older eggs, but I feel I had caused enough disturbance today.

    I'm currently feeding 21% chick raiser crumble. Is that adequate for a broody hen?
     

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