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Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by TheOtherHorse, Mar 2, 2014.
Will a bourbon red hen go broody in her first laying season?
Yes she will and it does not matter whether the eggs are fertile or not. I have not had a heritage or broad breasted turkey hen that did not go broody during their first year or any other year of laying eggs. Taking the eggs away will delay when the hen goes broody but eventually she will go broody. I have had hens go broody on an empty nest nearing the end of the laying season.
When taking eggs from a turkey nest always leave one or a dummy egg or the hen will make a new nest that she will do her best to hide it better from you.
Thanks! I actually want her to go broody, as I don't have an incubator yet. Are they decent moms in their first season, or should I take the babies away when they hatch and put them in a brooder?
It all depends on the situation. Heritage hens can be very good mothers but they can't always protect the poults in certain circumstances. If you only have one hen and one tom, I very strongly recommend that you remove the tom once the hen starts sitting. I also strongly recommend that you do not keep the tom with the hen and her hatchlings. While some toms can be excellent fathers that same tom's behavior can change overnight.
Because I keep multiple hens with my tom and they all live in the same pen with chickens, I take the chicks away as soon as I find them and put them in the brooder.
While individual hens are good mothers, I have had hens kill poults that were not their own. When things start happening very fast, such as another turkey getting too close, it is even possible for a hen to trample her own poults.