Turkey Nest????

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by justusnak, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    OK, I have 2 hens and a tom....and because of local predators, and such, mine have to be in a pen and turkey hut at all times. I was wondering....just how...and where doea a turkey nest!?? Will I need to build a LARGE nestbox?? Supply her with brush outside in the pen, for her to nest in?? Just how do you all do it?? I want to be prepared for spring...so I dont find turkey eggs in the mud! LOL
     
  2. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    Turkey hens like a private spot where they can see everything, but are hidden. When left to their own devices, they'll scratch out a nest under some brush or hide under or behind something in the yard. They're pretty good at it hiding, so if you don't know where your hen is making her nest, you'll have to follow her when she goes back to the nest.

    In a pen, you can take a dog house/crate, a garbage can, or old metal drum, put some hay or shavings inside, and she'll probably use that. Even a board leaning against the coop will work, just so long as she has something to be under and peek out of. It's also good for the weather, because natural nests aren't protected from the rain.

    I was having predator problems last year, so I put my turkey hen in a dog kennel I have with an old plastic garbage can. I put a bunch of grass and weeds in it to form a nest and put her eggs in it. I didn't think she'd use it, but I came back about 30 mins later, and she was all snuggled down on it. She hatched 8 poults.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Blisschick....thanks so much for the info. We have these wonderfull crates DH gets from work. I can put one of them in thier yard. Now, another question...I was told today...that they start laying at 8 months old?? That would be December, or around there. Will she just lay them in the Turkey hut if there is good straw bedding in there? Not really any place to hide in there...guess I could place a board in there for her to get into. Oh, and another....this same persone told me...IF she nests in the coop...I wont be able to get in there, she will " eat me up" REALLY??? She is so sweet right now...and I will HAVE toi get in there to clean..and feed and water. Maybe I can cut a hole in the wall...and set the crate outside the hut..and do a "nestbox" like some do for thier chickens??? IF I do that...how tall doe it need to be? She is about 3 ft tall, when she stretches. Or should it be about as high as her back??
     
  4. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    I'm sure they could start laying by 8 mos., but as far as I know, they're spring layers. I would guess that could apply for turkeys penned indoors, but outside they are subject to the same circadian cycle chickens are, meaning they won't lay during the cooler months. Mine as almost 9 mos. and even though they've started breeding, I don't foresee any eggs until this spring. Wild hens won't lay until March or April, and will raise one, sometimes two clutches per year. Domestic turkeys can raise up to three (mine tried to). Usually they stop laying by late summer.

    I think you'll have to go with what your girl(s) choose. They may decide the crate is the ideal thing to use, or she may decide to nest under the board. Mine was pretty easy, letting me move her at least twice to make sure she was secure. As far as being mean, I think that will depend on the individual bird. Mine would stress some, but she never got mean with me at anytime during or after the hatch. She was more concerned about keeping the eggs or babies covered. I have heard about some going kind of psycho, though. [​IMG]
     
  5. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Thanks again Blisschick. I guess I will add the external nest box, and just see what they do. If they use it....fine...if not..well..I guess wherever they chose to lay will be fine, as thier yard is pretty secure. At least so far it has been. Im just excited to see IF they will lay, and set. Can you eat Turkey eggs??? Are they really strong like duck eggs?? Hmmmm...if they start laying now...I will have to remove them, dont want winter turkeys! WAY too smelly to brood in the house, I think DH woudl shoot me! LOL
     
  6. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    Yes, you can eat them like chicken eggs. They are pretty hard, since they have to withstand a big girl sitting on them. I don't recall duck eggs being as hard, but they might be.

    You could probably keep turkeys in the house the first three weeks, but by then, they're really starting to grow, and will fly as soon as their able. I know some members have kept them in longer, but like you, I think the DH would end up killing me over them. [​IMG]

    You wouldn't want winter babies, anyway. Poults are very easily chilled when they're little, so you can lose them pretty easily to the cold.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  7. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    I was thinking letting them set sometime after april....maybe May?? Thats IF they set, LOL If I collect the eggs...and only get one at a time...how long can I "save" them before incubateing....I am thinking they take quite a long time to get thier clutch set and ready. I would like to do at least a dozen at a time. Oh, and for incubateing...are they like Ducks? Or chickens? How many days...and what humidity? I want to be TOTALLY prepared when I start this new adventure! LOL
     
  8. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    My hen had 14 in her first nest, and if it hadn't been raided, I don't know how many would have made it, but all of the remaining 8 hatched. I would think that if you stored them point down in a carton for up to 16 days at room temperature, they'd still be good. I can't see a turkey having any more than that.

    Turkey eggs take 28 days to incubate, and you treat them like chicken eggs. You need to keep the humidity between 40-60% for the first 25 days, then increase it to about 75% for the last three days. They're not the smartest babies, so when you give them food and water, toss in some colorful marbles so they'll peck at them. They like shiny and sparkly things, so their curiosity will cause them to peck, and they'll "discover" their food and water. Some people will hatch chicks with them so the chicks will teach them how to eat and drink.
     
  9. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Wow Blisschick...you are a wealth of information. Thank you so much for your help. I am a little nervous...trying the turkey thing...but...I figure, dive in, see what happens...and TRY to be prepared. Im sure when the time comes...I will be looking you up...if you dont mind!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by