How many turkey eggs in nest before they begin setting?


12 Years
Nov 19, 2007
There are at least 14 eggs in my new RB turkey nest and the 5 hens seem to just want to keep piling more eggs on top. I'm wondering if they're ever going to sit on the nest for hatching?

Is it possible that they'll just lay and lay without ever setting? Do I just keep letting them lay? What if the nest gets to be 30-40 eggs?

Can I do anything to make them get broody?
Have they ever been broody? Maybe they are waiting for slightly warmer weather. I would collect some of the eggs because that is too many. I once had too many eggs under a hen and it was sad when some hatched and she stopped sitting and the rest died, and then also they can't keep them all covered.
These are 8 month old turkey hens that have not ever been broody before. I REALLY want all these eggs to hatch so I can sell the chicks or raise them to sell. the temperatures here are starting to get warmer -- 38-45 degrees, today was 60, but it's going to get colder for the next few days. should I buy an incubator for these turkey eggs? are they incubated the same as chicken eggs or do you need a larger incubator?
It blows this California boy's mind that 45-60 could be considered warm.. LOL

Allright now your question. It isn't really the total of eggs in the nest.. broodiness is controlled by hormones plus stimulation in the nest.

So EACH hen on average needs to lay 20 or more eggs before the hormones start to kick in to get ready.. and then if there are about 8 or 10 eggs in the nest, that's the stimulation in the nest that can start the broody cycle in a hen.

They don't count how many eggs they have laid or go by seeing the eggs in the nest. It's just a "general response" in the average hen that does go broody. Some hens just won't go broody.. others just don't get the broody urge until they have laid 30 or more eggs OR until she is two.. So the above is the *average* ballpark.

If you really want a better hatch rate under setting hen turkeys, its much better to have only one hen using a single nest. Egg dumping is just asking for trouble, so is two or more hens attempting to brood on the same nest- the hatch rate is usually much lower than a single hen on a nest.

If the hens continue to lay in the same nest, I would suggest either waiting for a hen to go broody then remove all others from the pen or separate the hens into individual pens now and then wait for each one to go broody.

If the goal is to have a hen go broody.. mark about 10 eggs, leave them in the nest and then daily collect the freshly laid eggs and store them someplace cool. When a hen does go broody, remove all of the marked eggs(they might be too old) and put all of the eggs intended to hatch at the same time in the nest. Best not to add a few eggs the next day.. another day.... especially if you want the hen to hatch and raise the poults, it is important to set all of the hatching eggs in the nest at the same time. The hen will not wait for the later eggs to hatch.. she will get off the nest permanently about a day or two after the first poults have hatched.
Thanks, that is wonderful info.

When you say store the eggs someplace cool -- do you mean in a refrigerator? at what temp? (since we have very different climates!) .

And how long can I store the eggs and know that they will be viable for hatching? In case it takes a few weeks or a month or two for the hens to get broody...

I say it is best to get an incubator and set within 10 days as if they are like chicken eggs, fertility will decline over time so the oldest may become inhatchable or form developmental defects and never make it.

Best way to store chicken eggs is in a "cool" place in about the 60's or so but everyone does it a bit different. The refrigerator is too cold and if these eggs have been sitting out day and night for a few weeks... some may not make it any more.

Kev, 60 is toasty! Break out the shorts and t shirts!

I was visiting family in California once and they saw that us Washingtonians were sweating up a storm inside so they turned the ac on to get the house down to 78F... their youngest son came down when he got up wearing his winter jacket and we were still too warm.
That is totally me when it gets below 70-75. Earlier in the week we had 85 degree days.. finally was able to wear shorts on such nice and cool days. lol

Silkiechicken said it- 60's is good for storing eggs. I don't do anything special besides just trying to find a spot somewhere that stays cool most of the time, which usually is in a bucket on the back patio during the winter/spring time and then in a cool spot in the hallway during summers when the AC is on inside(hey, our summers are 110-120F). Turn them once a day also(some do it twice). As for how long turkey eggs last in storage, never tested that sorry. I don't want to hatch too many so pretty much always give them 10 to hatch tops.

One last word about turkeys, many hens when they start brooding, you can't stop them! They'll sit on empty nests forever if not forcibly removed and barred from nest spot.
Chickenannie needs an incubator. Birds are young enough they made not brood this season. Eggs should last close to 3 weeks if kept cool and turned.
Now where I live in CA, yes 60 is warm. Even for the summer. Sunny CA, how did they come up with that name? Now, I do not get snow, but it is foggy most of the summer and 60* and 40's at night for the most part. If it hits 65*, well I can actually get hot. We do have a lot of sunny days this time of year, but there is ice on my cars outside right now, as has been for weeks now. When that big yellow thing shows up in the sky, it melts. Does anyone know what that thing is, its warm. hee hee
Whenever you go anywhere, even in the summer, always take your coat!

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