Help! Mama turkeys kidnapped poults!


8 Years
Jan 30, 2011
Two Harbors, MN
I knew this would happen but I didn't count on it raining for several days when it did. Mamas hatched their eggs and swiped the poults. I had hopes that they would come looking for a bite to eat after the babes hatched but it seems they stole away to the woods. I really don't want to go chasing after them because I would imagine they will just go farther away but I want my babies back! I waited so long and checked them from afar every day this last week waiting for those little fuzz balls to appear and the low down stinky mamas hatched them out while I was at work. I came home to an empty nest and little popped open shells, but no babies. I can hear the mamas just out of sight and I know they won't go far because there is a creek that they won't cross about 15 feet from the edge of the pasture.

Does anyone know if they will bring the babies back to the nest for the night or is it instinct to move away from the egg shells? And do the mamas eat some of the shells, they did not seem to be all there. Should have been 17, looked like no more that 8 or so. At first I thought something had gotten them, but there are no feathers, the eggshells that were there looked like they had been zipped, there were no failed attempt eggs and one would wager that all the eggs could not have hatched, so that leads me to believe that the hens cleaned up the nest site themselves. I don't really know what to think. Maybe I will just put out some feed and water and try to catch a glimpse. I don't think I can lure a turkey in by other means, our tom certainly has been trying to get his girls back to no avail! Oh those free spirits!
Low down stinky mamas..

That is priceless
I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that a fisher got the eggs. The hens had been pacing around calling and looking for their chicks and I think that perhaps they had been run off of the nests. That explains why all of the eggshells were not there. I is really heart-breaking, not only do we not have the turkeys we had hoped for the mamas seem so distressed. My boyfriend saw the fisher this morning and I tell you if I see it again- it's toast! All of the rest of my poultry is pretty secure but not secure enough from a climbing predator. I am so angry, at myself as well.
Live and learn and then get out the shotgun!
Hi Kelsey, Sorry to hear about your eggs. I'm down by Duluth and keep my birds locked up until after the major part of the laying period. WAY too many predators up here to let the hens sit on a clutch outside of a secure run and coop. I built a Fort Knox that only a weasel or a bear could get into and they would both need to really work at it. Glad to hear your hens are okay though. Oh, and a belated
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Sorry about the lost eggs.

I have a fortress also. 6 ft high chicken wire that extends out about 2 ft from the bottom of the fence, surrounded by two strands of electric fence. My hen hatched her eggs just fine. Some predator tried to get in a couple of days ago. It appears to have been caught between the electric fence and the chicken wire. It eventually left by breaking the electric fence gates. I found pieces scattered all over the place. I had another attack last summer that was also deterred. A large segment of the chicken wire was stretched as if something heavy had tried to hang on it. The electric fence also got stretched out...I hope it hurt
. I highly recommend building a fortress.
I do have a pretty good system and we are new to turkeys so I was not prepared for them to go broody right off the bat. They had only been laying for about a month so I didn't expect them to have nests, when I found them I didn't know if I should move them to a better spot because they hate being in the barn, and I would have had a hard time emulating the spot they picked for the nest.
My neighbor just gave me a huge piece of that poultry net stuff to put over a run and I made an enclosure that is about 35x50 for the turkeys. Our entire yard is situated inside of a pasture so a predator has to go through two electric fence lines and then contend with the dog, and more electric fence that is mounted right against the cattle panels that make the perimeter of the turkey run. Probably works great- I just have to make sure the gals are in there first! I really want them to free range but I don't think I can trust these gals to come in every night. They were raised by their moms and seem kinda wild. Our tom is a pet and the poults that I picked up last month are more friendly so I think I will be able to free range them during the day eventually and they will come back.
I really am liking turkeys and was so excited when I thought they would have poults of their own. Is there a chance they will begin laying again and raise another batch this year? I guess though I would be better off borrowing an incubator, or building one of my own if I want results. I want some naturally raised poults, these hens are excellent foragers and barely eat a grain of feed, I want to breed for self-suffientcy (I can't even get that spelling close enough for spell check to help!) and it is important that we get this hatching eggs thing right.
I wonder how long a broody would have so sit before you could trick her into thinking she had hatched the eggs. Say for example I (when the hens start laying again) collect eggs and incubate, then let the hen go broody and switch out her eggs to finish in the incubator and give her some of the poults; would she be satisfied after a week of sitting, two weeks?
Thanks everyone for the responses, love to meet people from MN especially up north! Hopefully my next post will include pics of me wearing a nice fur stole made out of a cousin of a mink!

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