Turkey sitting on and off.. how long is too long off the eggs?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by MinerB, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. MinerB

    MinerB New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Apr 6, 2017
    Hooligan Acres
    I've tried to find the answers before posting but haven't found an answer yet. I have Heritage Bronze standards. 1 Tom and 4 hens. I have a nice big nesting box for them (4x8x4) with 4 little stalls and straw... they are laying in stall 3 and 4. I have seen a hen sitting in both but never at the same time.. I'll see them off the eggs for an hour or so during the morning and again in the late day... how long is too long off the eggs once they start sitting? I can't afford to waste these precious eggs :) I'd LOVE to have a hen be a mother and hatch her own eggs but I'm wonder if I should collect them once a week till they are serious about sitting... How long off the eggs is ok, how many hours a day do they need to be on them? With all the efforts I put into precision on my incubators, this seems chaotic!

    thanks,
    (long time lurker, first time poster)
    Brian Miner
    Hooligan Acres
     
  2. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

    3,580
    1,689
    291
    Feb 24, 2013
    Natrona County, Wyoming
    [​IMG]
    I would collect the eggs daily and leave a fake egg in the nest to keep them coming back. I also would not have their nest boxes right next to each other. They are not chickens and the ones that I have dealt with prefer their nest to be secret. When brooding hens too close together it can present problems and newly hatched poults can end up dead very quickly. Not all hens are good mothers. Some will take on any poults whether or not they hatched them and some hens will kill any poults that are not theirs.

    I don't believe that anyone knows for sure about how long it is okay for the hens to be off the nest. I have personally had hens sit on the eggs during freezing nights and then be off the nest all day long once the temperatures warm up. The eggs hatched just fine after the hens got serious about being broody. I also had a hen that hatched 8 of 11 eggs, took the poults and left the nest. She hid the poults in the grass while she picked a fight through the fence with my dog. While she was fighting with the dog, I swiped all of the poults and put them in the brooder. She finally stopped fighting with the dog and spent a long time searching everywhere for her missing poults. It was a cool cloudy day, her nest was in a secluded, very shady spot. She was off the nest for a minimum of 6 hours. After finally giving up the search she went back to her nest. Two days later she came back off of the nest with two more poults making 10 of 11 eggs that she hatched. She got away with it but I seriously doubt if we tried to mimic her hatching procedure that we would meet with anything but failure on those last eggs.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  3. MinerB

    MinerB New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Apr 6, 2017
    Hooligan Acres
    Thanks... I'll keep collecting and filling incubators for now...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by