Where will my turkeys lay their eggs?

mfr4550

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 17, 2012
45
1
84
Ogden, Utah
Hello, I’m new to raising turkeys & have some questions about egg laying. I have a chicken coop that my turkeys go into on occasion, I can only assume to look for food in the coop’s feeder. I assume this because although I kept them housed in there for about a week when I first got them (they were 2-3 months old), they don’t sleep in it now. No matter the weather, they sleep outside, during the day they roam the poultry yard with the chickens & sometimes hop the fence to go into the goat pasture. Spring is coming soon and I need to know what I should do to arrange an area for them to rear chicks.
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
9 Years
Nov 23, 2010
29,321
18,979
867
St. Louis, MO
How many toms and hens do you have? Is there pasture in the poultry yard or is it bare ground? Do you have a structure for them to roost on?
Is there predator protection where they currently sleep? Think coyote, fox, raccoon.
You'll need some type of housing where you can build one or more community nests - depending on how many hens you have.
 

mfr4550

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 17, 2012
45
1
84
Ogden, Utah
Thanks for replying! I have 2 toms & 4 hens. That wasn’t the ratio of what I chose but what the little group that I bought grew up to be. I will cull one of the toms later.

Unfortunately, I don’t have pasture in the chicken yard, it’s just bare ground. I have a roost for them in a room of the chicken coop that I used to use to brood chicks. That’s where I kept them for a good week. Once I opened the door, they have not used it for roosting. I do have a feeder in there, as well as other locations, & have seen them go in on occasion to eat. They prefer to sleep on top of my barn - no matter the weather.

As far as predators go, the only thing I have a problem with is skunks that come in and get the eggs at night, if I don’t take them out during the day.

The room with the unused turkey roost has room for several turkey sized nest boxes however I’m pretty sure some chickens will jump in to lay eggs as well






How many toms and hens do you have? Is there pasture in the poultry yard or is it bare ground? Do you have a structure for them to roost on?
Is there predator protection where they currently sleep? Think coyote, fox, raccoon.
You'll need some type of housing where you can build one or more community nests - depending on how many hens you have.
s
Hello, I’m new to raising turkeys & have some questions about egg laying. I have a chicken coop that my turkeys go into on occasion, I can only assume to look for food in the coop’s feeder. I assume this because although I kept them housed in there for about a week when I first got them (they were 2-3 months old), they don’t sleep in it now. No matter the weather, they sleep outside, during the day they roam the poultry yard with the chickens & sometimes hop the fence to go into the goat pasture. Spring is coming soon and I need to know what I should do to arrange an area for them to rear chicks.
 

R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
6 Years
Feb 24, 2013
12,103
38,318
1,131
Natrona County, Wyoming
Thanks for replying! I have 2 toms & 4 hens. That wasn’t the ratio of what I chose but what the little group that I bought grew up to be. I will cull one of the toms later.
It is breeding season now. You need to eliminate one of the toms now, not later. Do this for the health of your hens and to increase the likelihood of fertile eggs.
Unfortunately, I don’t have pasture in the chicken yard, it’s just bare ground. I have a roost for them in a room of the chicken coop that I used to use to brood chicks. That’s where I kept them for a good week. Once I opened the door, they have not used it for roosting. I do have a feeder in there, as well as other locations, & have seen them go in on occasion to eat. They prefer to sleep on top of my barn - no matter the weather.
You really should put up roosts that are sheltered from the prevailing wind.

Your turkeys may or may not use the nests that you provided. The simplest nest site that I use is to lean a pallet or a wide board against a wall and seed it with a fake egg.


Turkeys do not like their nests messed with and will abandon a nest if you keep taking their eggs away without leaving at least a fake egg or a marked egg in the nest.

If the hen abandons a nest, the next site she will choose will be better hidden. Since your turkeys already leave their pen, they may choose to make hidden nests outside of the pen which you will probably have a hard time finding.
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
9 Years
Nov 23, 2010
29,321
18,979
867
St. Louis, MO
Thanks for replying! I have 2 toms & 4 hens. That wasn’t the ratio of what I chose but what the little group that I bought grew up to be. I will cull one of the toms later.

Unfortunately, I don’t have pasture in the chicken yard, it’s just bare ground. I have a roost for them in a room of the chicken coop that I used to use to brood chicks. That’s where I kept them for a good week. Once I opened the door, they have not used it for roosting. I do have a feeder in there, as well as other locations, & have seen them go in on occasion to eat. They prefer to sleep on top of my barn - no matter the weather.

As far as predators go, the only thing I have a problem with is skunks that come in and get the eggs at night, if I don’t take them out during the day.

The room with the unused turkey roost has room for several turkey sized nest boxes however I’m pretty sure some chickens will jump in to lay eggs as well







s
That's how they roll.
I'm not a real turkey expert but IMO, they like their nests more ground level.
I realize the time of year isn't conducive to this but you may want to make a turkey yard inside the goat yard planted with tender forbs like clover, alfalfa, peas, chickory, radish, turnips, beets, etc.. They can get a significant amount of their food from good forage. You can put your housing in there.
Either eliminate one of the toms or house them separately from the hens and allow one on alternating days to spend a few hours with the hens. With that ratio, you may want to either provide saddles for the hens, trim the toms nails or both. Healthy hens will be much more productive. Overbreeding can be a problem.
 

mfr4550

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 17, 2012
45
1
84
Ogden, Utah
Good information, thank you. Can I wait untyi see some interest between the toms and hens before culling one? What criteria should I use to choose the culled one?

I like the idea of the pallet - so easy. I could put them up in quite a few locations and hope that they choose one or more of them. Can I use a fake chicken egg? If not where does one find fake turkey eggs?
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
9 Years
Nov 23, 2010
29,321
18,979
867
St. Louis, MO
Fake chicken egg will work. There isn't a huge difference in size.
Choose the tom with the best characteristics you want your poults to have for your breeder. Maybe size, behavior, color.
The other one will still taste just like turkey.
Normally, it would be best to cull one now but since you don't have true predator protection, you may want to wait till the last minute to select your breeding tom in case you lose one. Just cull as soon as they start mating. You'll probably still need to separate the tom for periods of time.
 

R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
6 Years
Feb 24, 2013
12,103
38,318
1,131
Natrona County, Wyoming
Good information, thank you. Can I wait until I see some interest between the toms and hens before culling one? What criteria should I use to choose the culled one?
Just because you don't see the interest between the toms and the hens does not mean it isn't already going on. It is already breeding season and laying season is not far off.

If you intend to allow your hens to go broody, it is best to either remove the tom from the nesting area once the hens have started sitting or make enclosures around the nests with openings that are small enough to prevent the tom from entering and large enough that the hens can pass through.

Toms take a hen sitting on a nest as an invitation to breed. The unwanted breeding attempts can end up in smashed eggs, injured hens or at the worst the hen can be mortally wounded.
I like the idea of the pallet - so easy. I could put them up in quite a few locations and hope that they choose one or more of them. Can I use a fake chicken egg? If not where does one find fake turkey eggs?
No one sells fake turkey eggs. I personally use fake ceramic goose eggs. Fake chicken eggs can be used whether wooden or ceramic. You can use Sculpey Oven Bake Clay to make your own fake turkey eggs. I used it to make my own fake guinea eggs because like turkey eggs, no one sells fake guinea eggs.
 
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