Wild Turkeys hatched!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by thecityman, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. thecityman

    thecityman Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi! A friend of mine accidently ran over a wild turkey nest while mowing a field and the hen was tragically killed. (I know- awful!). In the aftermath there were 6 eggs he was able to salvage. He let me have them because I have hatched a few quail in the past. (by no means does that make me even moderately "experienced"). Nevertheless, since the eggs were 100% doomed without my intervention, I figured it was worth trying. I candled the eggs and saw no evidence of development, then set them in my incubator, and 27 days later....ALL SIX HATCHED! I'm so thrilled!
    Now, I suspect some of you may chastise me for interfearing with nature, and I also understand that it is most likely improper to set wild turkey eggs. But I gave it a great deal of thought and for me, knowing that the eggs were doomed without me, and knowing that I have no other fowl of any kind which could be infected or infect the chicks, I came down on the side that trying to save lives was a better ethical choice than letting them die....I'm sorry if you disagree but the purpose of this post is not to debate my decision...its made, the chicks are here, so I sincerely asked you to get past that debate and try to help me....
    I have a few questions. FOr one, I've seen a few posts about putting sugar in the water for chicks. What is that about, and when is it appropriate? Two, one of the chicks seems to have a mildly deformed foot..it seems to be turned inwards. I am pretty sure it wasn't injured. It makes this chick basically unable to walk....though the poor thing kind of hops and stumbles around. It otherwise seems perfectly healthy. Is it likely to adapt to it or improve over time? Any suggestions for what I should do, if anything? Three: I have a little "mason jar" waterer, but I'm not sure they are finding the water and drinking from it...though I could have just missed it when they've drank. Should I put out shallow pan of water or any other type of watering device? The good news is that they do eat quite well. I'm feeding medicated chick starter, 18% protien. ANy thoughts on that? ANy other thoughts or recommendations for rearing wild turkey chicks would be much appreciated. Again, I know a little but certainly am not the expert that most of you are! I have them in a small box brooder now, 30 hrs after birth, at about 95 degrees.

    Thanks in advance for any help and/or suggestions.
    Kevin
     
  2. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since you have already intervened just keep feeding them as u are. Wild turkeys grow faster and will be flying sooner than tame birds. When they reach Juvenile age and are able to fly pretty well I would let them free range during the day until they start roosting in trees instead of your pens then just let them decide on their own whether to hang around or join the wild birds around you. They will eventually leave if you have wild birds around which is good in my opinion since they were born to be wild not penned. Your other option would be to call the nearest wildlife biologist and let him get them to a person trained to raise and reintroduce wild animals back into the wild.

    i got in the same situation a couple of years ago when my buddy ran over a wild mallard hen whose eggs were hatching. I took them in and kept them safe from predators until they had put on their flight feathers then we released them on a pond that sits in the woods next to our property. They stayed for a couple of weeks in hiding but we would see them come out to exercise their wings and eat duckweed until one by one they began flying and left.
     
  3. Turkeyrangler

    Turkeyrangler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with Struttn but in the mean time start them on wild gamebird starter if you can get that from the local feed store... 28% protein. Try dipping their beaks in the mason jar waterer, but not past their nostril. Also place some marbles or shiny rocks in the water and the food, they will peck at them and figure things out on their own after that. Keep them at 95-100 the first week then lower the temp 5 degrees a week. Don't use a pan of water or they may drowned themselves. Don't handle them very much if at all, if they are afraid of you all the better if you plan on releasing them. How old are these poults??(oops, reread your post..30 hours). Give the one with the bad foot a few days before culling it, I had one like that and it eventually straightened out after a few days. Just see that he can get to water and food.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  4. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You also might want to check your state game laws pertaining to possessing wild turkeys that are taken from the wild. The penalties can be pretty severe in some states.
     
  5. thecityman

    thecityman Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the helpful info! I absolutely agree that they are meant to be wild, and I would LOVE to see them return to the wild....but some people suggest that returning them to the wild risks them infecting other wild birds with anything they may contract while in my care....though that seems unlikely since I have no other fowl or animals of any kind (except a dog who is indoors). I want to do what is best for the little guys....its why I tried to save them and give them life! But please remember...their mother was killed so if I hadn't taken the eggs they would have become racoon food. I know the wildlife officials (and some of you) would probably prefer I let the eggs waste....but that really wouldn't be "letting nature take its course" since nature would have probably allowed these to hatch...nothing natural about a bush hog mower running over a nest! Again, though, my intention is not to debate "save the eggs" or "Not save the eggs". They're saved and alive now and I want to do the best I can for them. The 2 previous posts were both extremely helpful in this regard. I've seen marbles or shinny stones in water dispenses on this site and wondered what they were and why...now it makes sense. I'll also try to get higher protein food. What about the sugar in the water thing? should I do that?
    Any other advice and suggestions for raising TRUE, first generation WILD turkeys to adulthood would be appreciated. Thanks all.
    Kevin
     
  6. thecityman

    thecityman Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]
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    here are 2 pics, fyi (if I did it right!)

    kevin
     
  7. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    I'd only use sugar in the water if a poult was fading (not eating/acting puny). They are imprinting on a human and not a turkey. I'd guess the wildlife service in your state would probably sacrifice them (they are strict in Missouri). I'd tell everyone that I bought some Standard Bronze eggs at a swap. This won't fool the DNR, or turkey hunters, but other nosey parkers will glance and move on.

    Good luck to you and your brood!

    ed: nice guys
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  8. fire1ok

    fire1ok Out Of The Brooder

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    Well first of all I BELIEVE YOU DID THE RIGHT THING. This is probably a little to late, but I raise wild turkeys and I start mine out with baby chickens as I raise them also. The baby chickens are a little smarter than the turkeys and will teach them to eat and drink. They will also teach them to go to the heat lamp when the air gets a little chill. Usually they will do fine after a week or so and you can remove the chickens. Whatever type of waterer you use the little guys have to stay dry, meaning if they can get their bodies into the water they will die. It dont take much at all. You have to use a waterer that only their beaks can get into. I have bought some thru poultrysupplies.com and they work excellent. Someone else suggested you use gamebird starter and I have to agree. Its 28 % protien and you can almost watch them grow. I wish you all the luck and believe your doing the right thing
     
  9. fire1ok

    fire1ok Out Of The Brooder

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    One more thing these birds will fly in about 10 days so be careful cause if you turn them loose to free range they maybe hard to catch. I honestly think thats way to early to turn them loose on their own. they probably need to be about 2 or 3 months old at least because they dont have a momma to watch out for them. Predators like hoot owls will kill them very quickly especially if they are really small. I think they need to be at least as big as a grown chicken before you let them go
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  10. thecityman

    thecityman Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks for the support...and especially the tips! It surprises me that several people seem to think that letting the eggs rot would be preferable to saving them....but I respect their opinions too....we all have opinions of what we think is the right thing to do here. Anyway, what you said about the water makes sense, and I actually think they are figuring out how to drink from the regular mason-jar type water dispenser so thats good news. Unfortunately I don't have any baby chickens to help lead the way for them. I also thought it was interesting that you mentioned how quickly the wild turkeys are able to fly. One of the most surprising things to me about these chicks is that they were born, RIGHT OUT OF THE EGG, with clear evidence of wing formation. Unlike quail and baby chickens, which are usually 100% down when they are born and for several days thereafter, these things were born with ACTUAL WING BUDS....not full feathers, of course, but certainly the beginning of feathers....about like what you'd find on a quail or chicken after about 2 weeks...the stiff little cartlidge-type materials that form the bottom (the hard part) of real feathers...and the beginning of real fethers already starting to grow out of the base of them. I'm not describing it very well, but hopefully you know what I mean. SO yea, its strange to me to see something born with such a major head start on actual feather/wing formation! It also tells me to pay attention to your other warning...not to let them free range for long or I'll not be able to catch them! That wouldn't be so bad except that I think, as you said, they'll need a little more supervision before release. My goal is to return them to the wild IF POSSIBLE....but I'm still open to being convinced that after being raised in captivity they won't be able to make it in the wild. I've seen lots of opinions and claims on both sides of this question, so I'll have to watch and listen and try to decide for myself. Again, thanks for the info and I look forward to others input.
    Kevin
     

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