How long to isolate a female turkey to switch father of eggs?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by exop, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. exop

    exop Songster

    Jan 10, 2009
    NW Indiana
    I am planning to breed a young turkey hen next spring. I would like to have a few eggs fathered by one of my two toms, and a few eggs fathered by the other tom. My plan: hatch these as two separate clutches, and raise two separate batches of poults. So I would like to keep track of who the sire is.

    If a hen is regularly being bred by tom #1, and then she is moved into a pen with tom #2, what kind of time needs to elapse before the eggs are with 99% certainty, fathered by tom #2?

    Thanks for any thoughts on this!

    I've read a post from someone who tried an experiment with (I think) American games with a fairly active, sexually healthy rooster, and found that after about a week, almost all progeny from eggs were fathered by the new rooster. This is instead of the conservative 3-week estimate that I had read before. But I have no idea how it would go with turkeys or, for that matter, how much "togetherness" there is on a day to day basis between a tom and hen in the breeding season.

    Best - exop

  2. animalsRawesome

    animalsRawesome Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    I don't know, but I hope someone else knows. [​IMG]
  3. kfacresagain

    kfacresagain In the Brooder

    Oct 4, 2011
    I don't think you'll ever be able to tell with 99% certainty- 50% maybe; could be 75; but not higher- unless you crossbreed... I've seen after a week, I've seen after a month.. heck, I once saw the only gobbler disapear, a hen then dispear after 2 months, then reapear 2 months later with about 20 poults behind her. She either carried fertile eggs for 2 months, or go mated by a Wild tom.. which is actually what I think happened, but I don't know for sure...

    I'm planning on doing something similar this year with a pullet. I plan to leave her with one k bird for a month, then a different one.. but I don't really care who breeds her, as long as I get chicks from both of them. I plan to hatch every egg from her.
  4. rfwombat

    rfwombat In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2009
    Humboldt County
    Back on topic... [​IMG] I've heard that turkeys can "save" sperm from the tom for around 10-14 days. I think I may have been watching the Dirty Jobs episode where Mike is a turkey inseminator (which is the reason I now breed my own!) I would separate the hen from the unwanted tom for a month to be sure.

    Additionally, it make take some extra time for her to be fertile with the new tom. Remember that in turkeys, hens choose the tom they want to mate with by laying down, so if she doesn't like him, she may not let him breed. Unless she is enamored with him right off the bat, she may take some time to warm up to him (or get desperate).

    And finally, I read an article (maybe Discover or Scientific American) that talked about how chickens help influence genetic selection by expelling the sperm of less desirable or sub-dominant males. I've observed this myself with my Muscovy ducks. I have a young drake that is just starting to mate the ducks, and my older ducks discard his deposit immediately after mating. They never do this with my older dominant drake. (Really sorry to get so graphic but I didn't know how else to say it)

    So I would suggest observing your birds behavior and taking notes to make sure your breeding is successful. I never thought I would be kneeling down in my yard looking at bird butts and watching to make sure the deed gets done! But that's how you get successful breeding! Watch carefully and good luck!!
  5. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Songster

    Aug 8, 2011
    I've heard 2 weeks on guineas, chickens, ducks. I'd expect something similar in turkeys but would love a definitive answer as well.

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