Helping a turkey out of the shell...


10 Years
Apr 12, 2009
West Virginia
Well, two turkeys.

I had two turkey eggs that had pipped yesterday and were cheeping loudly. So, reading the instructions on the forum, I decided it was time to intervene.

I carefully and fearfully picked tiny pieces of shell and membrane off, watching for bleeding, as I held the egg in a warm washcloth. Tiny piece by tiny piece. And even then, I managed to jab one slightly right under the beak, but I do not believe he is seriously hurt.

I went in a little circle, right where it would have zipped. One had partially done so. The other one just had a little hole with a loudly chirping beak.

I kept wetting the shell and membrane as I went around.

Then, when I was all covered with pieces of shell, and when I had the 'lid' (top of the egg) off, I put them back in the incubator in the bottom of their shells, and wrapped the bottom of each one in a warm washcloth.

Then I misted the incubator and added a little water.

One is now completely out, and the other is almost out and complaining loudly about life in general.

I am glad I did it, because they were just superglued in there. I do not believe they would have made it on their own. I think they would have eventually given up and died.

But what I don't understand is why? Why could they not get out on their own? They seem as strong as the others who did get out on their own. And the humidity was good in the incubator. But they had certainly dried out anyway.

Anyway, I am glad I helped them because I feel sure it saved them.

You did the right thing. I assist with birthing if struggles are non productive. Little eggies are like babies, some need a little help being born and some do not. For some reason the humidity for them was just not enough!

Good job hope all goes well. What kind of turkey was it? We have bronze, bourbon, royal palm and the rare Jersey Buff.
They are Blue Slate eggs.

This is because, for some reason (I am not sure why) my husband bought a Blue Slate very young bird last summer.

He brought him home, named him 'Tom'. I was calling him Preacher because he sort of reminded me of our preacher, and when he stood in front of the lavender Guineas they looked like his congregation, but John did not think it was respectful.

Anyway, this spring, Tom got aggressive and chased off several people, including a turkey hunter, but John still liked him. I actually could have lived without him. Someone told him that if we would get him a lady turkey he would settle down and so I tried and tried, but could not find a lady turkey around here of any breed, so I sent for some eggs from someone on this forum, so next spring Tom will have his own little flock to occupy his mind.

I hope it will.

Thanks for your comments. Um--how long will it be, do you think, before I can tell if any ARE lady turkeys?

And what are Jersey Buffs? I have never heard of them.

I think you did the right thing too from what you wrote. I've had that inner membrane dry down on them too. They can't get out when it is like that. I've helped, and ended up with healthy birds. Let us know how they are doing. Of course, there is always the risk of helping too soon.

As for knowing if you have a turkey hen, good luck with that one. I can't tell until I hear the males gobble. I had four young ones. I thought that all were hens. Then one day, three out of the four gobbled at the same time. Sure blew me away.

I'm a little jealous. I let my 7-year-old hen set a clutch of 11 eggs this year, trying to see if my 7-year-old tom was still fertilizing the eggs. I THOUGHT they were both 10 years old until I checked my records. Anyway, Susan couldn't decide if she was going to be broody or not. She'd sit on them and then not sit for awhile. We had a cold snap. I think they got chilled. She stayed on them for an extra 10 days. Nothing. So I broke all the eggs. I'm pretty sure they all had started and then died in the first 3 or 4 days. Made me sad. I LOVE baby turkeys.

BTW, I thought your description of your tom being like your preacher and the guineas being the congregation was hilarious!! I've seen similar things here.

Good luck with your turkeys! I hope you enjoy yours as much as I have LOVED having mine.

Thanks, Marianne.

I hope I did not wait too long to help them.

One is still just kind of lying there, but hopefully he is just resting.

They both still have little pieces of egg and membrane stuck to them, but that won't hurt them, will it?

The one that isn't just lying there got behind some other eggs that are in the incubator in an egg carton, crawled up on top of them, and FLIPPED over, doing a complete summersault in the air!

I guess he is going to be ok, anyway.

Gosh, they look...dilapidated. I do hope they are ok.


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