turkey nests?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by chickenannie, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    Hi, this is my first upcoming Spring with turkeys. My 1 free-range tom and 5 hens (Bourbon Reds) have just started their little romancing "dance." Since Spring is around the corner I'm wondering if I need to pen up the turkeys so they will lay eggs in a safe place. I've heard that if you let turkeys free-range lay, they rarely hatch any chicks. Is that true? I'd rather not pen them up since I'd have to build a new pen and I know they'd wonder why they couldn't forage around and fly up to their tree to roost at night anymore...

    Could I take the turkey eggs I find and relocate them to a pen and put the hen in there for just a short period of time?

    Anyone with experience of free-ranging turkeys and hatching eggs?

    Thanks!
     
  2. LinckHillPoultry

    LinckHillPoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2008
    Pennsylvania
    My turkeys free range. Havent had any eggs yet because the hen came recently. I have some friends that've had turkeys, and let them free roam, they hatch any egg that you throw under them. I have nesting boxes for my free rangers that are actually barrels that are open. Planning on building a new coop with one side for the free roamers, the middle a storage area, and the other end for my chickens.
     
  3. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
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    Thanks, I really like the half-barrel idea for the turkey nest. It's a perfect size. I wonder if I just set one out with bedding in the haymow, without a coop, if the hens would choose to nest there.
     
  4. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    I have 21 blue slates and this is the first year they will lay. Mine all free range and I have been on a turkey egg hunt every morning for weeks now, with no luck. They are mating for sure, but just not laying yet. This morning while on my egg hunt I did however find where they are digging nests in my compost pile!!!! They fly over the fence to the compost pile and have piles of tall grass and places to hide in the pasture!
     
  5. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Linck Hill -- did you mean that you put barrels right side up with the top open? or are they cut in half and laid on the ground with the open side up?
    Sorry to be so confounded, but i think i'm getting the idea that they like a TALL place to nest (also from the compost post) rather than on the ground...
    Thanks!
     
  6. LinckHillPoultry

    LinckHillPoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2008
    Pennsylvania
    What I do with my barrels, is I cut it so that it's open on one end, and I lay them on the ground and put bricks on the sides so that they don't roll away.
     
  7. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Altho my turkeys are not free range....I have 3 hens and a tom...looks like all 3 hens are laying in ONE nest, in the corner of thier coop. I did put a crate out there for them, they chose not to use it. So far...16 eggs in the nest, and 3 under a broody hen!
     
  8. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
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    Does anyone know if turkeys will lay eggs all summer long like chickens? Or do they do one Spring lay and that's it for the year?
    thanks for all the posts and info so far...!
     
  9. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well i can say this for our wild easterns, they will lay all summer long if you keep taking there eggs.
    I have a few that even go broody.

    Normally in July i let the ones that go broody hatch there own clutch out.
    The only thing is you must mark the eggs at the start of the incubation as other hens will keep adding to the nest.

    The none setting hens lay them right in front of the broody turkey hens and they pull them under into the nest.
    Then the fun part is every day you gotta go try to get those freshly laid eggs from them.

    Our hens that go broody are not nice once sitting on eggs and will readily attack you..

    But you just do things as fast as possible and let them get back to nesting...
    Our turkeys don't lay in a nest box, they are in a huge run 100'Lx25'Wx8'H with wild vegetation growing in there and they like to make a nest and lay in the high vegetation(4 ft high brush).

    charlie
     
  10. the Old Rebel

    the Old Rebel Rest in Peace -2011

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    May 12, 2007
    Hendersonville NC
    Turkeys who lay their eggs "in the wild" will hatch poults as long as predators don't get them and/or their mother. Do you have a problem with predators? If so, you are practically dooming your hen if you put out a barrel for her to nest in. A raccoon will bite the head off of a nesting or roosting turkey. A barrel tells the raccoon or other predator where to look.

    Another predator problem is snakes. They will crawl right up under the mother. I had a hen setting on 17 eggs inside a house inside a pen. A large Eastern King snake became much larger by eating an egg or two a day apparently. My hen ended up with one chick. There was not a piece of shell to be found anywhere.

    I also had a raccoon dig under a house wall. It pulled all of the eggs out from under my hen. You can tell it is a raccoon, because they break open the shell. They eat the insides and leave the shell behind. A possum eats the whole thing. This experience taught us to dig a ditch around our houses, attach hardware cloth at the bottom of the house, bend it out, and bury it. Nothing (except rats) will dig under that. Our poults were within 3 days of hatching. I believe the coon could hear them peeping. (Yes, they peep in their shell before they start to hatch).

    If your hen and eggs survive the 28 days to hatch time, then the poults face the challenges of day and night time predators. Hawks can be a real problem once they learn you have baby birds around. Foxes, owls, neighbors' dogs or cats, wild cats, etc all LOVE baby birds. It is a blast to see a hen with her little ones..... and a heartbreak to see them disappear one or two at a time. So good luck to you!! I wish you all the best!
     

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