Will my White Broad Breasted hen lay eggs?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by lhbisbee, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. lhbisbee

    lhbisbee In the Brooder

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    We got a day old Bronze Broad Breasted turkey tom last spring. His name is Lester; he's spoiled rotten, gobbles at the sight of us and follows us like a dog. We began feeling sorry for him being the only one of his kind and showing off for the chickens all day long. So, we recently adopted a White Broad Breasted hen who is about the same age as he is. He and Louise get along famously and he is happily displaying for her and showing off his ever-growing beard to her 24/7. Will Louise lay eggs?

    They both free range during the day and go into their coop--separate from chickens--in the evening. Louise roosts; Lester's too fat to fly up there. They don't go outside much when it's below freezing --and we're in Vermont, so it's still winter.

    If she lays eggs, do we need to make her a nest box like one does for chickens?[​IMG]

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  2. chicken farmer

    chicken farmer Songster

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    I never raised turkeys but I really want to,yes you will want to get her a nestbox. I have seen people use old doghouses or they make big nestboxes with a roof because the hen wants to feel as hidden as she can...but I'm glad Lester got a hen it's a great little story,hope she lays eggs
     
  3. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    Since they are both broad breasted it is highly unlikely that any eggs she lays will be fertile. If he is "too fat" to roost he is also likely to be "too fat" to be able to complete the breeding act.

    I highly recommend that you get a turkey saddle on her because there is a strong possibility that he will hurt her badly in his attempts to mount her.

    Some people provide a tire for their hen turkeys to nest in, others just lean a pallet up against a wall to provide a secluded nesting area. I had a yearling turkey lay her first egg today. She tried and tried without success to get into one of the chicken nest boxes before she finally went and laid it in a turkey box out in the run.

    I strongly recommend that once she starts laying that you either mark the first egg so you can identify it or replace it with a dummy egg. There is no point in leaving her infertile eggs for her to go broody on. Of course you can resort to artificial insemination in an attempt to have her lay fertile eggs.

    If you do get to the point that she goes broody on a clutch of eggs, you need to isolate the tom from her. Toms take hens sitting on nests as permission to breed. Because the hens resist the breeding attempts it is not uncommon for the toms to rip open the hen's side in their attempts to breed, sometimes the injuries are severe enough to cause the hen to die.
     
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  4. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

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    I agree with R2Elk-- I have lost a heritage hen bred by her long time mate when he accidently ripped open her side.

    You will have better luck if you can find a tom from a heritage breed. He will be m uch smaller in the breast and there fore more agile to get the work done.

    Good luck on your adventure.
     
  5. lhbisbee

    lhbisbee In the Brooder

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    Thank you for your responses. I am always open to learning more from others. However, I may have been unclear. Firstly, I have no intention of showing or breeding either turkey; they are pets. Secondly, I used the term "too fat" loosely. Lester weighs 38 lbs. Which is exactly in the weight stated that an adult Broad Breasted tom weighs. He's not too fat, but he can't fly up to roost in his coop. He does sit on the fence outside sometimes. Thirdly, it is my understanding that Broad Breasted toms are incapable of breeding themselves because people have bred that out of them by making them so fat so they can get maximum dollar value at the market. So, I'm not sure I understand. If he's incapable of breeding and can't get on Louise in the first place, how is he going to injure her? He's never once attempted to mount her as he is incapable of doing so. He does peck at her if she tries to eat out of the same bowl he is at the same time. We don't want eggs for baby turkeys- we just want to eat them. Lester and Louise are pets.
    I will definitely keep a close eye though.

    Also -wondering-- since Louise is white- is she hawk food? Have any of you used those aprons with the predator eyes and do they work?

    Thanks again.
     
  6. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

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    White is not necessarily hawk food-- I have lot both white and black poultry, though white went first to the hawls. I still have other birds that are cream and spotted that have not become hawk food. OTHerwise your turkey girl is too big for a hawk to be interested.

    Your male may try to get on the girl and that could injure her. Especially as his spurs grow with age. His breast is too large to get the positioning right, is my understanding. My cornish X chicken males never succeeded in breeding. I have 2 chicks from my cornish X pullets, but the father is not a cornishX.

    If your girl makes it to laying age, she is likely to lay. How many depends on her line. You can eat the eggs, just like chicken eggs, just harder to break into.

    Good luck with your pets. THey are sweet.
     
  7. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    While you may not have any intentions of breeding them, if you keep the two together, there will be attempts at breeding. Just because you don't see the attempts does not mean they are not happening. Many people end up with fertile eggs without having seen an actual mating. Just because you don't think your tom is capable of mounting your hen does not mean that he can't mount her. It is the attempts at mounting and the attempts to stay on the hen's back that cause the gashes in the hen's side as the tom slips in his attempts. A turkey saddle will protect her vulnerable sides from getting ripped open.

    There are known cases of broad breasted turkeys mating successfully and producing fertile eggs, but it typically happens with a yearling tom and hen.

    A broad breasted white will lay eggs and she will eventually go broody whether or not her eggs are fertile. If you take her eggs daily and do not provide her with a dummy egg, she will find a new place to nest and each relocation will be an effort to make it more difficult for you to find her nest. You did say that they free range and free range turkeys tend to do a very good job hiding their nests.
     
  8. lhbisbee

    lhbisbee In the Brooder

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    So, R2Elk, --are you saying that if we don't want any baby turkeys, we should take her eggs--but, provide her with a dummy egg? I mean, I don't want her to hatch any eggs. And--if you give a turkey a dummy egg--how big does it have to be? what do you use?

    Do you use a saddle on your hen? And, if so, where does one purchase one? Haven't seen any interest or attempts to mount her at all, but I don't want her hurt.

    Again, thanks for your info and help.
     
  9. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    The reason for providing the dummy egg is so the hen will keep laying in the same nest. If you take her eggs and leave an empty nest, she will make a new nest and every time that she makes a new nest she will try to do a better job hiding her nest from you. I sincerely doubt that your hen will lay any fertile egg so there is no point in allowing her to keep the eggs. Enjoy her eggs as they are very good. Because she is a turkey, she will go broody at some time. It is their nature.

    Before I had the dummy eggs that I now use, I simply marked the first egg with the date and would always leave that first egg and just take any new eggs. I suspect that a large dummy chicken egg will also work. The dummy eggs that I am currently using are ceramic goose eggs.

    The tom will attempt to breed the hen, it is the nature of turkeys.

    Prior to using turkey saddles I had a tom who would manage to kill one hen every year. The damage was almost always done because of attempting to mate with a hen that was setting on a nest .When I only had one or two hens with a tom, I did use turkey saddles. Because I now try to keep 4 or 5 hens for 1 tom, I haven't had the need for saddles.

    In the thread Turkey Talk for 2014 in post #468 there is a link to a site which will custom make poultry saddles.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/838701/turkey-talk-for-2014/460#post_12635017

    I got mine from Stromberg's. Any reputable poultry supply company should have them available.

    http://www.strombergschickens.com/p...s-for-All-Poultry/Poultry-Medicine-Accesories

    Good luck.
     
  10. mrbuch

    mrbuch Chirping

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    Mine did such a good job she made her own nest in my neighbors yard and hers were also unfertile she laid 14 as i have no tom so i gave her baby chickens to raise and she did a good job they are about 6 weeks old and still trying to get under her all 8 of them and she has also laid another 11 eggs and i am not sure if they are fertile we have wild turkeys in the back of our house we caught her talking to them one early evening and they say where there are hens there are toms and she did go missing for the night over the weekend so i might let her sit and see what happens i can always give her some more chickens ha ha
     
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