Turkey Eggs on Day 29. No pips. Please help!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by hodgepodge, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. hodgepodge

    hodgepodge New Egg

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    I have a flock of Bourbon Red Turkeys that I kept over the winter (7 hens and 1 tom). After 4 of the hens failed to brood their own eggs (Two good eggs appeared to have been crushed by the girls), I put 10 'fresh' eggs into the incubator on June 5. I had been collecting these eggs for 3 days and had stored them in the fridge, on the advice of a local poultry man with 25+ years experience. I was turning the eggs twice a day before I purchased an egg turner for the still air incubator (Little Giant).

    Three of the eggs did not make it past week one. A fourth egg stopped at week two. I have candled all eggs each week. The six remaining eggs appear to have continued developing. The air cells have also been getting progressively larger. I do not have a 'wet bulb' thermometer so I do not know what humidity the eggs have been in all this time BUT the incubator temp has been spot on for 99.5 F. None of the eggs are pipping. I see many posts about encouraging an extra day, sometimes two, for the eggs.

    When I call it quits (day 30) should I carefully crack the eggs to look into them myself or simply assume all is lost and literally 'trash' them? This is almost devastating!
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  2. Gallusfarm

    Gallusfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi and sorry about what you've been through. I always heard that refridgeration prior was discouraged, at least for chickens, I assume the same would be true for turkeys. I'm really thinking that humidity is the problem.

    It's hard, but also educational to crack the eggs and do an autopsy on them. There's a good chance they were fully developed. If so, then the humidity was probably the issue, and they dried out prior to pipping - I know it's important to increase the humidity for the last few days.

    If they were not developing at all, then I think that the pre inc. conditions may be the cause. The humidity is important when you are storing them prior to incubation as well. Or there could be other factors....

    At least you will know what happened so next time it will work. It really is trial and error.

    Agian, sorry and good luck to you.
     
  3. Kedreeva

    Kedreeva Longfeather Lane

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    On day 30, before you crack them open, you can candle in 2 places to see if there is movement. The first place is the small end of the egg, to see if there is any room at all at the bottom. Usually if development went right, that will be totally black. Sometimes, though, eggs I've candled just before lockdown look black down there then, and when I take them out, there's room there. If it's all dark, shift the light to the air sack to see if you can see them trying to pip internally.

    If there's no movement, crack them open gently from the area of the air sac first- you will this way be able to tell if any of them did pip internally. If the lining of the sack is too dry, you can tell that your humidity was too low. If the air sac membrane is still a little stretchy but there appears to be a lot of liquid in the egg, the humidity may have been too high. In either event, you're welcome to stop by the eggtopsy thread to help others with pictures and a recount of what may have happened, and take a look at the ones already posted. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=4407757#p4407757
     
  4. hodgepodge

    hodgepodge New Egg

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    I just went to autopsy my six remaining eggs and here are the results:

    Egg one stopped developing at week one. There was not even a germ and the yoke was completely broken down. I don't know how I missed this problem BUT I certainly did!

    Egg two stopped developing at week 3. The little body was still curled up with fuzz on it.

    Egg three was ALIVE!!! The baby died right in front of my eyes!!! It looked at me, kicked its legs twice, heaved its chest a few times and died. I was heartbroken and have quickly put the remaining three eggs back into the incubator.

    I do think humidity is the BIG problem. The two eggs with formed babies have very thick slightly rubbery 'skins' that did not have much fluid in them. I am putting a sponge with warm water into the incubator right now.

    My question to all of you is this, could this delayed development in egg three be due to the fact that I stupidly did not allow the eggs to warm to room temperature before putting them into the incubator?
     
  5. Gallusfarm

    Gallusfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    oh, hodgepodge... I'm really sorry that the one chick was alive.... I wonder if it would have hatched... I feel so bad, I hope you're not mad about the advice I gave you [​IMG] ...

    I really hope that the others hatch! Keep us updated, OK...
     
  6. hodgepodge

    hodgepodge New Egg

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    I would NEVER get angry with someone trying to help me! I went to your link. THANK YOU it is very helpful. In addition to reading your reply, I made a flurry of calls and reached the vet who contracts to Hubbard Farms here in NH. I think Hubbard is the company that breeds chickens for research on chicken genetics and so forth. Although this vet can not come to see my birds in person, ever, due to contractual obligations regarding infection risk, he was more than willingly to speak with me on the phone. He convinced me that the first year can be heartbreaking as there is such a learning curve. He told me that if I can work through this year, the next should be much more rewarding.

    After telling my whole story to him and the person at Porter Turkeys (as written in the e-mail excerpt below), I have opened the other three of the original six eggs and found that there was that only single egg still 'going'. I wonder if by not bringing the eggs up to room temperature first from the fridge caused the delayed growth. I also firmly believe after looking at the membranes that lack of moisture was a serious problem. I have taken a picture of the now dead pullet but I can not seem to paste it into this post. Anyway, after you read my e-mail below, please tell me what you think I should do with the eleven eggs we 'found' in our pasture from our formerly non-broody girls.

    This is my first year trying to breed turkeys. I find the Bourbon Reds wonderful! Besides the whole heritage taste and conservation angles, their curiosity and intelligence are a joy to experience for me and good for my neighboring flock of Golden Comet chickens. My egg laying flock of chickens have learned from the crew at ‘Turkey Territory’ to look to the sky for threats. Hawks and Turkey vultures now know our address here in NH.

    But to get back on track, four of my seven ladies REALLY tried to brood their own but after almost two months with smashed, smelly eggs, only two pullets made it to a recognizable state before they appear to have simply died in the shell. I found one egg discarded as far away from the group nest as she could get with a small leg sticking out of the shell. After this incident we candled all the eggs and found that none of these girls had anything ‘going on’ under them. Throughout the two months of their brooding clutches of eggs, we had found ‘eaten eggs’ or empty shells outside their group nest. Since we had excluded the tom for almost the entire two months, these final barren eggs made sense. Given the eggs infertile state, we destroyed the remaining eggs and had these girls rejoin the group.

    About two weeks before the ‘leg egg incident’, we purchased a still-air Little Giant incubator. I held a lengthy discussion with the owner of the local feed store where I purchase my supplies. The owner has been raising birds (chickens, turkeys, ducks, game birds) naturally and via incubator for well over 20 years. I also read everything I could find. The owner said I should turn my fridge up to 40 degrees and collect eggs from the fertile, non-broody girls for no more than a week. I did that and gathered 10 eggs that began incubating on June 5. Although I did purchase an egg turner at about eight days into this project, June 14, in the beginning I was only turning the eggs once every twelve hours. I obviously missed the really important part in all my reading because every web site I now browse states clearly that I must turn turkey eggs 3 – 5 times a day! The feed store owner however told me that before automation he turned ALL his bird eggs every 12 hours.

    Well Mother Nature loves a good twist! Wouldn’t you know it BUT while some time just before or immediately after we started incubating, one the three non-broody girls had gone and built a nice little nest out in the pasture and collected ELEVEN of her and the other two non-broody girls’ eggs. My husband found all the eggs with her on top of them the first night she did not ‘come in’ with the rest of the group (she, the other two non-broodies and the tom). Since the nest was so close to the electric net fence and predators are a real problem here, we could not leave her on the nest and thus promptly put these new eggs into the incubator, about one week after the first group on June 12!

    So … I have been candling all these eggs at least every Saturday since this project began. Of the original 10 eggs from the June 5 group, four eggs have been removed during weeks 2 and 3. I have seen blood vessels and growing birds in all the remaining six from the June 5 bunch. I took the egg turner out on Wednesday June 30. These June 5 eggs are now completely dark with a large air cell on the large end of the egg. I see and hear nothing from this bunch.

    The June 12-ish group all has had blood vessel development and growing birds BUT they all appear to be a various stages of development as of last night July 4, 2010. I have been turning them since removal of the automated turner. I realize I am but a simply human trying to ‘grow’ birds from eggs BUT this apparent failure is very disheartening. I hope you can shed some light on what went wrong from either a hen perspective or a human perspective.[/i]
     
  7. Gallusfarm

    Gallusfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hodgepodge,

    So glad that you are not mad.. It's really hard the first couple of times, trying to hatch. I didn't send the link, it was Kedreeva. This person really seems to know their stuff. Maybe you could PM them w/ specifics if they don't reply to this post.

    I do think that in your writing below, you have touched on a lot of the issues. 1st, is not turning enough early on, and then this: promptly put these new eggs into the incubator, about one week after the first group on June 12!

    It looks like you have eggs in the incubator at different stages of development. I do have experience with this, and the results were bad. I incubated some peafowl eggs w/ guinea eggs (both 28 day incs), and the guineas started hatching on day 25 (before I could even stop the auto turner)! Then I was in and out of the incubator removing the guineas, well this turned out to be disastrous, and the 2 peas that survived ended up being "shrink wrapped" like the one in that link. Even opening it to quickly candle is bad. No opening after lockdown is my new rule!

    So humidity is super critical at the end. If you have a pet store nearby, you can get a hygrometer from the reptile section. They are cheap and will let you know if you are in the ballpark.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Kedreeva

    Kedreeva Longfeather Lane

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    I'm not entirely sure what answer you're seeking from your long post there... so I'm going to leave it alone rather than ramble.

    However, in regard to the eggtopsies you did, the undeveloped egg with the 'messy' yolk sounds like it was probably sticky to the inside of the shell, and broken when the shell was broken. It's also possible that bacteria had eaten through the yolk's membrane.

    For the developing 3 week death... a loss, but probably nothing you could have done. It could have been a factor under your control but it is unlikely that the egg made it only to week three (meaning it had the proper conditions to develop and grow up till then) and then died if your conditions did not change, not without an underlying problem.

    As for the one still living... well, that's why when you prepare to do an eggtopsy, you candle first and then you gently pip from the top of the air sac, so that if there's movement, you have not pipped the air sac for them and they have a chance to continue on.

    Again, I'm sorry for your losses, and I hope that your next hatch turns out better.
     

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