My first breeding season so far is shaping up to be a disaster.

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Scottingitup, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Scottingitup

    Scottingitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 18, 2010
    Crestview, FL
    This is my first season attempting to breed bourbon reds. All was going well I had eggs and hens sitting on them. Then I started finding cracked eggs. I thought it was just random then it got worse. I found a dead almost fully formed poult, then another. I moved the hen to a different nest box as I thought maybe the ground was too hard/rocky where she was.

    I now am down to 2 eggs that I took from her a few days ago - then my homemade incubator temperature spiked! I am going to give those eggs a few more days but I think those poults are dead as well.

    Back to the broken eggs... I finally found the cause. My stupid *insert dirty words here* tom was cramming himself into the nesting box with the hen(s) stepping all over eggs trying to mate the setting girls. BIG IDIOT! I put a front cover on a nestbox last night with an opening large enough for a hen but too small for a fluffed up tom. Problem solved? Then I decided to candle a few eggs - 3 clears! Ugh it appears my tom(s) may have only been mating the 2 nesting hens.

    I am going to clean out all my nesting boxes tonight, fresh straw etc and make sure they all have a cover to prevent overzealous toms. I shall candle all the eggs they have been setting on for over a week now and if they are all clear then I will be starting this breeding season over! [​IMG]

    I am almost to the point where I will break down and buy an incubator. From my original 20 eggs in the first nest I have 2 eggs left - and they are probably dead. [​IMG] I have no desire to bury more poults.


    The turkeys are in a 20x 40 pen with 4 nesting boxes. I have 4 hens and 2 toms.

    Advice?
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Once the ladies are setting, the tom does not need to be in the same area. Can you separate them after the ladies begin setting next time?

    I would think that one tom is enough for two hens. Perhaps that's why they're bothering the setting hens and crushing the eggs....They are trying to establish dominance over the hens, competing with eachother....Too much testosterone, if you know what I mean.

    Maybe you could remove one of the toms from the picture.....
     
  3. Scottingitup

    Scottingitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 18, 2010
    Crestview, FL
    I have 4 hens total, only 2 are setting. I am hoping the cover on the nestboxes will do the trick. If not I will figure out a way to divide the pen up. That is a lot more work and time so I am trying to avoid that.

    Should I attempt to give the girls and poults a seperate area or put the toms somewhere else?
     
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I would move the toms, rather than upset the girls. Maybe your covers will work, that's a great idea. I feel for ya! That has to be discouraging.

    I had a Royal Palm tom, and a Blue Slate female last year. That tom was so clumsy. He never fertilized her eggs. He would just stand on her back and march. Sometimes, he would step on her neck too. Craziest thing I ever saw. I think when they're young, they are so darned clumsy, it takes some age and some practice for them to get the mating game figured out.

    Take care and I sure hope you get things worked out! I know you will!
     
  5. Scottingitup

    Scottingitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 18, 2010
    Crestview, FL
    So far the covers appear to be working, no broken eggs since installing them. I removed most of the eggs the girls were setting on as they were infertile. (totally clear at day 7) They should have 4-5 good ones though so I am crossing my fingers.

    My toms are really docile to me so I took a 'unique' approach to solving the fertility problem. I grabbed the only remaining hen with perfect feathers --assuming she was not letting the toms mate here-- and held her down for a bit to simulate what a tom would do. After about try number 3 she got the point and started to cooperate with me. It was about that point that big boi my alpha tom noticed what was up and wondered over while i had her held down and hopped on and took care of business. I really hope that doesn't cause him to get aggressive with me but I guess only time will tell.
     

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