Turkey broody for two months - desperate for a fix!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by TaylorB1216, May 8, 2017.

  1. TaylorB1216

    TaylorB1216 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 5, 2016
    Hi All
    I've run into an issue with my two royal palm turkey hens. About 2 months back the girls started laying eggs. Initially, neither one cared to do anything more than step on them!
    Then suddenly, the one hen went broody.

    We waited to see if she'd come out of it (the eggs aren't fertile as we don't have a Tom).
    But she stuck it out.

    So we went into the pen when she was out eating, removed all of her eggs, and essentially "ransacked" her nesting area.
    Two days later - back at it again.
    It seems that no matter what we do, she goes back to the same area, lays again, and sits.

    Now, our second hen has started sitting.
    I'm getting concerned as neither hen is eating properly, and they no longer leave the coop for free range time.

    Does anyone think it might be worthwhile to get some young poults for them to raise?
    I have fertile duck eggs that I'm sure they could hatch from my duck flock, however, I'm not certain they'd raise the ducklings.
    And I personally worry that allowing them to sit for another month for the eggs to hatch might cause additional strain on their already weakened disposition.

    Has anyone slipped chicks or poults under them during the night and had success with them raising the babies and getting out of their broody state?
    Thank you!
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    I have slipped many a chick under them at night with great success!!! Chickens not turkeys, but should be the same. Have 4 hens raising chicks right now, it's really special.

    I would either find chicks ready for raising or use a broody breaker (wire bottom cage, elevated). I agree, they've been sitting too long and loosing condition and I personally would not let them sit on eggs this late in the game.

    I don't know how hardy poults are. But I would say just make sure they are still young. My hens still don't come of the nest for several days. So I make sure their is feed close by (during the day light hours, always removed at night to prevent inviting pests) because by the time I get chicks under them they are usually between 3-5 days old meaning they no longer have their yolk to survive on. And if mama need help, I go tid bit for the babes to get them started... especially first timers.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. TaylorB1216

    TaylorB1216 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 5, 2016
    Thank you - a nearby farm offered Rooster Chicks for us. Based on your insight, seems worthwhile to give that a try and see how they do.
    Thanks again!
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Rooster chicks or cockerels as they are known until reaching 1 year will be fine. But be prepared to separate them before 11 weeks or they will be mating your other birds. And of course be prepared for culling/eating when the time comes. Non of mine are ready to process before 16 weeks, but usually later.

    I use feed store chicks if I haven't hatched my own. It's a great way to get more variety into my flock. And I call the feed stores to find out what they have coming in when. If it's a breed I want and only 1 more week or so, I might wait.

    Are you going to give both your hens chicks?

    I would give chicks to the one that's been sitiing so long and break the other girl. Even though they are isolated and not foraging when in the breaker, they are doing the same thing while they are broody. And it takes a little while for them to start laying again. So not less than 3 months of non laying for a hen that sets and broods... that's too long for us to go without eggs.

    And haveing 4 hens raising chicks almost the same age is a little challenge, it's easier when they are farther apart in age. I do not have turkeys so all my experience is with chicken behavior and I realize there may be some differences.

    One other thing... consider feed. I wouldn't give chicks layer feed. Because my flock includes all genders and ages... I use a flock raiser which is higher protein and lower calcium to meet chicks needs better. I offer OS on the side for layers. Unmedicated chick starter with OS on the side for layers is also a good choice. It won't hurt anyone, but sticking with layer (if that's even what you feed) could be troublesome.

    Also, I don't know how the local farm identified their male chicks unless they are auto sexing... I wouldn't try to adopt anything over a week and even that might be pushing it, but probably doable. 5 days old is my oldest adoption so far... because you also want the chicks to bond to mama, not just the other way around. If they are too mobile they might leave the nest before bonding. But I'm sure some have experienced success even older, I just haven't tested it.

    Pics always welcome! [​IMG]
  5. TaylorB1216

    TaylorB1216 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 5, 2016
    Hi there!
    I definitely figured we would plan on eating the Roos - I don't want too many roosters as they're gonna be noisy. We live in the country on acreage, so it's not much of a problem, other than I'm not a fan of the noise! We get up early enough as it is with our two bird dogs and their endless energy!

    We actually don't have any other chickens. Just two turkey hens, a flock of ducks, and quail (that we use for dog training). The quail live separate from the turkey.
    Our main source of eggs is from our ducks, the turkey eggs are sure tasty, but we didn't count on them as part of our regular egg supply (luckily...as they've been VERY nasty about guarding their nests lately!!)

    I was considering giving both hens chicks to raise, as I just don't want to risk one getting too deteriorated from trying to hatch eggs that will never hatch.
    I figure ill try to break both of them at the same time...and get them on the same page.

    Luckily, at the present time, our turkey do not get layer feed. We feed them a higher protein feed that our local farm sources for gamebirds. I'll be asking them whether it's ok for the chicks to eat this as well, or if we'll need to supplement with a feed for the baby roos temporarily.

    They farm nearby is scheduled to hatch on Wednesday. I'll be getting the chicks wednesday evening or thursday afternoon.
    Not sure what they're method of sexing is - these chicks come out of their own incubator.
    They usually cull their rooster peeps as they have so few requests for them, but she said she's happy to save a small bunch for me if I can use them to break the broody hens.
    Hoping this does the trick! I was considering turkey poults for them, but the investment is $10 to $12 bucks per poult, versus free baby roos. So in the instance that they reject them, I'd prefer to NOT have a significant monetary investment in them. Not to mention, poults are so sensitive to temperature and environmental fluctuation, I'd be afraid they wouldn't make it. These are first-time mama's too, so I want to see how they react to chicks before I consider allowing them to raise poults! if they do a good job, I might not mind giving them some poults to raise, versus me raising them in a brooder.

    I'll keep this thread informed and get pictures when we're able!
    Thanks again for the insight!
  6. feedman77

    feedman77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2013
    Most of my Turkey hens will accept chicks/pours. Some don't and will kill them.

    If you knew someone incubating eggs and could get some within a day or 2 of hatch remove the eggs they are setting on and slip those under the hens.

    If they hatch under her they will bond and they will accept them easier.

    Usually will break their brood.
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I always put sections of logs on my broody turkeys nest sites. Some move sideways, which gets them another log, but most abandon the nest.
  8. TaylorB1216

    TaylorB1216 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 5, 2016
    Excellent - that's the plan!
    We're gonna be slipping day old chicks under them on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
    Question - as it's gonna be dark when we do this (we've been told the best time to swap in the chicks will be at night), should we anticipate any retaliatory behavior from the hens?
    Usually, when I go in the pen during the day, they're rather aggressive (hissing and fluffing up before I'm even near them right now).
    Just curious as to what we should expect at night? Hoping they might not notice us all that much!!!
  9. TaylorB1216

    TaylorB1216 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 5, 2016
    As for the Logs. Might have to try that if the "chick" option doesn't work out!
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    They may try to peck as you are reaching under them and might think you are a predeator while you are doing it. I would go with not less than 3 chicks each, but whatever you think they can handle. Too many and it's a little like the tail wagging the dog!

    We just keep it dark, 2 of us.. 1 to hand the chicks to the 1 who is removing all the eggs and tucking the chicks under. We stand around and listen to make sure no one is untucked and stress peeping from being cold... and we walk away.

    I always go out very early and look around and listen make sure nobody accidentally got out and not back in. I might try to lift the hen and see if everybody is still moving, just because stuff happens.

    I have actually raised chicks on gamebird feed 28% without issue... and many raise their meaties on higher protein, I think. So I doubt it will be an issue. Always good to get a second opinion though. [​IMG]

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