Hatching Eggs.....To Help, or Not to Help?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by GobbleGobbleBaw, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. GobbleGobbleBaw

    GobbleGobbleBaw Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 3, 2012
    This is the first breeding season for our girls and our first time incubating Turkey Eggs. We've done a few chicken eggs before and those were very easy, compared to what we've been dealing with the last few days.

    So far, we have 4 baby turkey's. One hatched by itself, the other 3 all didn't have the strength left to make it out on their own. We waited of course at first (24 hrs) and then I read that if they don't make any more progress, it's fine to help them along.
    Needless to say, the 2 we helped were not chipper, nor were they able to stand/walk like the first one did. After a cpl days and frequent checking on the babies, assisting with eating/drinking and taping legs to strengthen them, two were totally fine and kept making great progress (noticeable improvement every few hours). The 3rd one however, kept laying on its side, unable to lift his head AT ALL for the first two days.
    I used Baby Rice Cereal and basically force fed/watered him every few hours and finally today, he started coming around.

    Now to get to my question:

    We have 3 more eggs due to hatch. One of them is already 4 days overdue and I don't hear a lot of pipping. The other 2 are 3 days overdue. I only know from chicken eggs that normally 3 extra days are given to see if any more hatch. I checked these turkey eggs and the 3 are alive and moving inside, just not pipping much (or at all in one case) and certainly aren't close to coming out.

    What would you guys do if it's that far overdue and not even the first crack has been made by the turkey baby? I personally think it's always best to let nature take it's course, but, my husband thinks we should at least try to help them out and then do what we did with the one that couldn't even stand/hold its head for 2 days. We would not be using any of these for breeding obviously as I feel only the the ones that were strong enough to make it out on their own and didn't need much or any assistance afterwards would be suitable.
    We'd just hate to have it die within the egg when there is a way to get it out and have it be doing just fine with some help afterwards.

    Any suggestions/comments would be greatly appreciated!
  2. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    it could be your humidity at hatch.. turkeys seem to benefit from a higher humidity (it helps make the membrane easier for them to tear)

    I used to have a problem with the poults getting weak/worn out at hatch until I followed my grandparent's way of hatching them.. at lockdown we would boost the humidity up to around 80% or more and also drop the temperature down to 98 or 98.5

    if your humidity and temp are fine and you are still having problems with weak poults then you might have to give the breeder birds a little better diet to help pass along better nutrients to the eggs/poults.. if that still doesn't help then I would think it was a genetic problem

    personally I would help them hatch (but i'm weird like that).. many people believe in "letting nature take it's course".. but the way I look at it.. artificial incubation is just that ARTIFICIAL.. and if it's something I did wrong that caused the poult or chick to have a problem hatching then I feel it's only right that I help the little bugger if it needs it
  3. GobbleGobbleBaw

    GobbleGobbleBaw Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 3, 2012
    Thank you so much for your response. I agree with that - incubating is already artificial, so helping them in that case does make sense to me. I just candled several of the other eggs that were set at the same time and 3 are dead in the dead (due to hatch today and tomorrow) and several others look like they started to develop but then stopped.
    Well, my husband already got plenty in trouble for having put whatever eggs we got in the beginning, in the incubator right away, rather than waiting several days and set a whole bunch at once. I have no idea how we got so lucky and had 4 of the first ones set actually hatch (and one of them totally fine). The temperature in our cheap incubator spiked a few times, and dropped and of course I learned later that we weren't turning the eggs often enough. We now have an egg turner and the incubator is to remain closed or I threatened him with getting rid of all turkey's. Makes me sad that due to owner stupidity, the little guys basically didn't stand a chance :(

    Thank you again for your input. The few that still seem to be fine and ready to hatch, I will help if they can't make it out.
  4. teckkev

    teckkev Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 19, 2009
    Hillsboro, OH 45133
    My last batch, a chick was assisted in hatching (against my opinion) and it is alive but a runt compared to the other chicks that hatched on their own. My opinion is live and let die at hatching. Using logic, the eggs in incubator are free and never ending supply. I rather lose the chick in the egg than being weak and die later of it and wasting feed. I'm not the kind of person that gets attached to the birds. Well, I am attached to 1, Big Red, he is a RIR rooster and the only bird I kept from my very 1st batch of chicks I bought to get started. He is a true rooster, he will fight anyone and anything if it gets close to his hens. He'll attack me, but I show him respect entering his area.

    If you like animals and don't mind the extra efforts that might be needed to save a weak chick, I applaud your efforts.


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