Turkey eggs missing shell but still fully formed poult inside

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by rizq, May 13, 2009.

  1. rizq

    rizq Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    Okay, my broody turkey has been sitting on her eggs for close to 3-1/2 - 4 weeks (I was gone when she started sitting, so no clue really). This morning when she came off her nest to do her morning thing she was carrying an egg. I went down and checked the nest first and saw only 1 egg (she was sitting close to a dozen, rest must be burried) and the shell had been picked away. Then, I went into the pen to get the egg she carried away from the nest. It too was devoid of shell (except for a few bits still clinging to it) and had a fully formed, but dead, poult inside with head still fully tucked under wing. The membrane was ruptured along the top of the egg. The poult looked like it could just jump up and start peeping except for a cut on its neck (either from momma carrying it or the chickens picking at it after she dropped it). It was also still limber (sorry if that is too graphic) so it must not have been dead long.

    I have never hatched turkeys before but assume that the hen does not normally peel away the shell for the chicks. What is going on? This is an experienced broody who has hatched 2-3 clutches a year for 3 or 4 years prior to this. Also, is it normal for her to bury her eggs? Will they be okay? Or this hatch just a bust?

    I do not know if it matters, but the stubborn turkey insisted on having her nest outdoor at the bottom of the pen. I was a little concerned about her outdoor nest, but figured that was the way they do it in the wild so she should be okay. We think she is a bronze turkey.
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
  2. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2008
    Southern Iowa
    That is really weird! Maybe it knew it was dead and just wanted to get rid of it. Maybe she had to break the shell off so she could pick it up..
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
  3. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    Well the shell could have come off from being stepped on wrong OR I've had one chick hatch like that, pipped and managed to kick all the shell off but never ripped his way out of either layer of membrane - had to free him.

    Yes, covering eggs is actually instinct when she's going to get off the nest. If that one was that close I'd candle one or two of the others to check progress and make sure nothing stopped the lot.

    Good luck. Turkeys can be the most frustrating broodies.
  4. rizq

    rizq Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    LOL! I think the turkey would murder me if I tried to touch the nest and the tom would probably join in! [​IMG] I would love to candle them and see what is going on, but I will probably just have to let nature take its course. That poult was close enough that I would say they will hatch within a few days. I just cannot figure out the missing shell! I am sure she moved it because it died, or she killed it moving it. I just hope the others are okay.

    This chick had not pipped yet, head was still under wing, so I do not think the chick did it in this case. If momma accidentally did it during turning or whatever, would that have killed the chick? I am wondering if the other naked egg has a chance at all. I sure hope the other eggs really are burried in the nest and have not disappeared (I have seen a rather large snake about and hope he did not nab them). She did move her nest right before sitting ... I hope egg disappearance was not why! I wish she was more tolerant of being messed with. The suspense is killing me! [​IMG]
  5. kinnip

    kinnip Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I'm guessing the hen ate it. Mine have shown up in the front yard munching happily on an egg. I started tossing oyster shell mixed with 11-way scratch in the yard and it stopped.

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