Poults dying :-(

Small Red

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 9, 2010
I have for the first time in my life hatched turky eggs in a incubator. The chickens hatched normally on the right day without any problems(Saturday). I had 11 chickens. They behaved normally in the incubator (glass door so you can check without opening). Sunday morning 3 was dead in the incubator. At this time turky chickens were approximately 12-24 hours old. I moved the rest of them to a chicken pen with heat lamp, food and water. The was 8 turky chickens and 7 Arucana chickens. Temperature under heat lamp is about 91F and decreases to about 75F in the other end of the pen.

All turky chickens (and Aurucanas to btw) were behaving normal. A couple of hours later one turky started to look ill sitting with his neck streched forward and sounding distressed. a couple hours later it was dead. I lost two more in the same way yesterday(monday) and one today. So at the moment I have 4 turkychickens left....

All the Aurucana chickens are doing just fine and thriving.

I'm quite experienced in hatching chickens and normally have very good results in both hatching and raising them so this is very distressful for me watching the turky chickens die without having a clue:(

I live in Europe and Turkys are quit rare in my area so I don't have anyone to ask.

All eggs are disinfected before they go in to the incubator. Parents are unrelated and healthy. I have no other birds that seem unhealthy either...

Anybody having a clue what is going on???

Thanks for any input!


10 Years
May 8, 2009
If you mean turkey poults, baby turkeys, than your brooder is too cold, for their first week of life turkeys need to be at 100 degrees F.


13 Years
Mar 30, 2008
Are these 'turkey chickens' (turkens), or turkeys? Doesn't sound like they were too cold, in that case they would be huddling. You say that the parent stock was healthy, but were they fed an adequate breeder ration? I did find something that resembled the symptoms, caused by too much salt in the diet (the salt in this case was in the feed), but that wouldn't explain the dead in the incubator... was the incubator disinfected before the eggs were set? With the humidity and temps, it is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Were the eggs all from the same source?


Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
Strasburg Ohio
Alot of people don't know that it's a gamble to keep turkeys and chickens together. There is a disease called black head disease that chickens can pass onto turkeys and it kills them. There are many many people who raise turkeys and chickens together, with no problems, but truthfully at any time, chickens carry this blackhead disease and a turkey can get it and there is not cure. They just die. It is passed through the chicken poo.

That could be it.


12 Years
Jan 27, 2007
I'd suspect a problem with temp/humidity during incubation.

91-93 is good under light, but the room in which you have the brooder should stay at 85, not 75.

I'd watch them closely to make sure they are eating and drinking (you do have them on a higher protein gamebird starter?). Make sure the chooks aren't crowding them away from food and water.

I'd place the survivors in their own brooder with only a couple of chooks.

Small Red

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 9, 2010
Some clarification.

I'm talking about Turkeys. Sorry for the spelling error English is not my native language
In Europe we call the chickens Nude Necks. I have raised hundreds of Nude Necks as that is my favourite breed:D

Incubator is disinfected before use and so is the eggs. All eggs is from own animals. I am well experienced in hatching chickens and have hatched and raised chickens about 300-1000 every year for over 10 years. Turkeys is first time though.

The incubator has worked by the book and I hatched about 60 chickens at the same time as the turkeys and all chickens are doing fine. I have been told that temperature and other settings is the same for turkeys and chickens with the difference that turkeys need one week more in the incubator. I believe humidity has been good as weight loss for the turkey eggs were about 16% and that should be good. I have a temperature alarm on my hatcher and it works (I just tested) but has not indicated any temperature errors during incubation. Turkeys hatched on the right day and that also is a hint that the temperature has been OK.

Parent stock is fed a special mix designed for turkey breeding.

I'm well aware of Blackhead illness but that doesn't transfer with eggs at my knowledge. These turkey babies died within 12 hours till 3 days of age. The have not been in contact with chicken poo from infected birds and the incubation time is to short.

The baby turkeys don't seem to be to cold. The sleep under the lamp but nor on each other as birds that are cold.

The first babies died before eating so it's probably not the starter.

The last four turkey babies are active, healthy and are doing fine so far:)

Thanks for inputs and ideas!


10 Years
Aug 14, 2009
Texas - Best Place on Earth
HOw are the turkey chicks doing?

Ive got 2 outsid that are 4 days old under a heat lamp and i have one in the hatcher what is 3 hours old.. I normally keep them in the hatcher for 24 to 48 hours before I decide to move them outside... and if its too cold Outside... the come inside with heat lamp, water, and food...

Small Red

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 9, 2010
So far so good:D The 4 turkey babies are still doing fine eating, drinking and behaving normal.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for them to stay healthy.

I would just like to knew if the other small ones died because of mother nature or because of me messing up something. My turkeys are laying eggs and fertiliy is good so I plan to put some more eggs in the incubater. I just whant to minimize the risk of this happening again.

Small Red

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 9, 2010
OK some pictures:D

First a picture taken during and directly after hatching. Quality is not great as they are taken through incubator door.



And then some pictures of the survivors (still doing fine btw)




And two picture of their parents



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