nesting and brooding question

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by junglebird, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've got 9 hens and one tom living with about 30 chickens. The turkeys are laying, and a few are spending a little time hanging around the nests, or lingering in the nests, like chickens do. The nests are shared between turkeys and chickens (and one kooky little rooster who sleeps in them at night :/ ). I'm breeding turkeys for meat, I get plenty of eggs from the chickens. I doubt the tom is covering all 9 hens, but I am hoping to learn which turkeys are the better layers/brooders before culling 5 of them. I'm guessing many of the eggs aren't fertile.

    Questions:
    Should I be leaving all the turkey eggs in the nests (while removing chicken eggs) - will that encourage the turkey hens to go broody?

    Will a turkey hen kick out the non-fertile eggs and the eggs that are too old?

    Even though the eggs are layed many days apart, will they all start developing the day the hen commits to the nest (the way it works for chickens?)

    Are turkeys too shy to take command of their nest? Will I fail at having turkeys brood because the nests are shared with chickens?

    Any thoughts about how I can encourage broodiness in my turkey hens will be most appreciated!
     
  2. Wayne&Kim1963

    Wayne&Kim1963 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Covington, OK
    I have raised quite a few turkeys and I have found all turkeys eventually go broody when they start to lay. They are just like chicken hen broody you just need to put her alone on nest and let her sit on eggs to hatch. A turkey can hatch peacock eggs, goose eggs, guinea eggs and turkey eggs. She cannot hatch chicken eggs and duck eggs because of her weight she eventually will smash them. I usually have 2 toms with 9 turkey hens to have best fertility. But you will be surprised how many turkey eggs are fertile with 1 tom. He can work pretty hard at it.
    One time I put 70 guinea eggs under 1 turkey and I thought they will never hatch. That broody turkey hatched out 65 baby guineas and raised them. It was cute to see her running around with her babies. I will pen a momma in small pen for at least week to let babies get strong enough to keep up with her.
     
  3. Wayne&Kim1963

    Wayne&Kim1963 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2009
    Covington, OK
    I would take turkey eggs and put them in egg turner in cool dark room or closet and save them for turkey to go broody. Don't leave them in nests that makes them go bad. If you don't have turner then at least turn them twice a day till you set them under turkey or broody chicken
     
  4. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Thanks, I'll start pulling the eggs and turning them ... in the mean time, 2 of my turkey hens didn't show up for dinner or to roost tonight, I'm hoping they have hidden nests, and are tucked away in them. How far might a turkey go to nest? Should I be looking on the ground? In bushes? The turkeys have been hopping the fence for weeks, so hopefully these girls will be back fro breakfast and I can follow them back to their nest.
     
  5. Wayne&Kim1963

    Wayne&Kim1963 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2009
    Covington, OK
    They will nest where they feel hidden. I have had them in tall grass, under pile of boards, under a tractor mower, and in an old culvert. So the possiblity where she is a hard thing. It is safe assuption that she will not go real far from home though. So I would say she is within 50 to 100 ft of her area. I have major problems with skunks gettting turkey eggs or bothering the mommas so I try to find her and move her and her eggs to safe place to hatch. I have also just took cage and covered her where she was too at night and took it off in morning so she can get off and on her nest.
     
  6. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Thanks! I found the missing turkey hens! They were sitting together in a nest in a brush pile about 50 feet from the coop in the woods, but still within the electric fence - so safe. One of the hens has returned to the flock, the other is still in the nest. I put some grains out for her, but she didn't eat them. I wanted to reach under her to see how many eggs she has, but she was wary, with her feathers up and hissing, so I'll try tomorrow with gloves on. I have an empty coop I can move her to also. If she doesn't have too many eggs, I'll give her the 8 eggs I have in the house that I collected over the past few days. How exciting!
     
  7. Wayne&Kim1963

    Wayne&Kim1963 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2009
    Covington, OK
    they move better at night and kept dark where you move them to for few days. If it is cage I cover the cage with a blanket. Yes it is always exciting. It is easier to just pick your turkey up to see what is under her and hold her instead of reaching under her. If you try to reach under her go from the back by raising her tail in air so she can't bite you. It hurts when they bite you. I turn her off of nest then you will most likely have to put her back on for few days till she gets used to it. She has to get off at least once a day to poo and eat.
     
  8. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I moved her into a dog house in the empty coop. If I let her out of the dog house, she shuffles along the edges, trying to get out. So, I've got her locked up in the dog house with some food and water, though she hasn't touched either - is that typical? When I let her out into the coop for a bit yesterday, she made one of those enormous and stinky nesting mama poops, so she must have had something in her system.

    Oh, I forgot to mention, she had amassed 23 eggs! lol!
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  9. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Oh, and how long can I save the turkey eggs I'm collecting? A week? 2 weeks? More?
     
  10. Wayne&Kim1963

    Wayne&Kim1963 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2009
    Covington, OK
    When I collect eggs for just me I will let them collect for up to 3 wks. But when I sell turkey eggs I never go over 5 to 7 days on them. I try to always make them the freshest possible.
    That is cool you found her and her eggs. I always candel them and make sure all she is setting on is good. Yes setting mommas make a great big poo when they get off of nest. You have to keep her locked on for at least 3 to 5 days turning her off once a day in 24 hours to eat and drink. If she doesn't eat much one day she will the next day. Then you can leave her open and she will get off and on by herself. She may have been upset getting moved is why she didn't eat much. I would put food and water in pen where you turn her off of nest so she will eat when you turn her off.
    Last year I lost 2 turkeys sitting out. One a farmer was mowing ditches with big batwing mower and mowed one and the other one a coyote got her but I put her eggs in incubator and they hatched. I always look for setting out turkeys and never leave them out if I can find them. They will always move.
     

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