What gets best hatch rates, letting hens set or putting eggs in an incubator

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by zook, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. zook

    zook Chirping

    Sep 21, 2013
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    What gets the best live hatch rates, by letting the hen sit on a clutch of eggs or removing them to an incubator. Assuming of course there was no issues and temps/humidity was correct till hatch day. Just wonder those who have done "both" , what was better.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Hens by far.
  3. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    I must say that it's less stressful letting the hen do all the work. I don't like checking temps and humidity in the incubator. I am a worry wart for 28 days and I hate it. Anything can go wrong in an incubator and then you are stuck with cold eggs or dead chicks.
  4. zook

    zook Chirping

    Sep 21, 2013
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Do you find that the hens always go broody eventually once they get what they consider enough eggs? i have noticed my largest and oldest hen (9 months old) has some feathers all bend out of place on one side close to where the wing would attach to the body. I'm wondering if the Tom/jake has tried mounting her. I have not seen it take place, but he is displaying constantly every single day. Do the hens show this type of wear and tear from being bred? This is our first year to try and have our turkeys breed and hopefully set.
  5. R2elk

    R2elk Crowing

    Feb 24, 2013
    Natrona County, Wyoming
    Yes to all of your questions. Also some hens go broody without a large clutch of eggs simply because they think it is time to start hatching.
  6. refamat

    refamat Songster

    Feb 16, 2012
    Blaine, WA
    If you have predator problems in your area, a sitting hen is an easy mark for coons and coyotes. I have had super results using my incubator.
  7. Rodster

    Rodster In the Brooder

    Jul 24, 2011
    Tampa Bay, Florida
    Altho i've never bated turkey eggs myself i know that turkeys make great moms with a 100% hatch rate so far. I also think the turkey chicks aren't quite as "bright" as chicken chicks and need that extra care from mom. If you do have predators and can confine her to a safe place for a few months, it would be better to let mom set and raise them. If you are close to the mom, it won't be very stressful to her for you to be a part of the chicks lives from day 2 or 3. That will help you to bond with the chicks and lead to much friendlier turkeys later on. However, if that is not your goal, i'd say let momma take care of it and just see to her needs. I also find turkey chicks to be much more fragile and delicate then chicken chicks. Until they are about 1 to 2 months old, make sure them and mama remain in a quite SAFE environment. Also watch Papa and remove him at the first sign of aggression towards the chicks. Even with the best mama turkeys, if there is danger for the chicks they will find it. I'm not sure exactly HOW a mom decides it's time to brood, but it's a much more sure thing then with chickens i have found. I also seem to remember that when she gets about 7 to 8 eggs the chances get much higher and she'll brood at any time. I don't think mine have ever brooded with less then 5 eggs before. Altho i've never needed a bator for the turkeys before, I have on occasion needed one for the chickens. I have found my hens squeezing into a setting hens nest and laying, leaving eggs out of the hatch loop. Once the hatch came, there were eggs left that still needed time with mama taking the brood out of the nest. Because I didn't have a bator, I got lucky with cranking my waterbed up to a hundred and not squishing them in my sleep. Not the best idea, but i've gotten a few waterbed eggs to finish the hatch, leaving me as their mom... what fun. (not) What was the most difficult part was not having a mom to integrate them into the flock and leaving them perpetual strangers for a very long time. For the best FLOCK dynamics, it's best to have a feathered mom, (in my honest opinion anyways) all they way around. Good luck :)

    Lookin for a boyfriend for momma turkey today, o boy :)))

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