You might also like my posts How to Hatch Chicken Eggs in an Incubator and Top 5 Reasons for a Poor Hatch Rate.
Hatching Baby Turkeys
My heritage turkey hens have provided me with quite a few eggs over the last month or so. I put some eggs in the incubator in May, we ate a few, and the rest are in an incubator at Trogg’s Hollow Farm.
Hatch Day is Here!
Hatch day came a little early. The temperature in the incubator was running a little warm, which can speed up the embryo development, causing chicks or poults to hatch a day or 2 early. I wasn’t expecting this, or I would have filled the humidity trays, stopped turning the eggs, and put the whole operation into shutdown mode a day or 2 earlier.
There were 2 eggs like the photo above. I’ve only had a few hatching eggs that have oozed brownish green goo before…and none of them survived. These ones piped through their shell and then started to drip with this nasty stuff. Both died and both appeared to have drowned in the fluids from the egg. It’s always disappointing to lose little ones like this.
After 3 days, there were 8 poults that hatched successfully, 3 that were still working on it, 2 that died during hatch, and the rest of the eggs had no embryos.
When the first hatchling was 2 days old, I moved all of the babies to the brooder box, added water to the humidity trays, and shut the incubator back up to see if any more would hatch. As I write, there are 3 more eggs that have pipped and are still peeping and moving. Hopefully they will be strong enough to break out on their own.
The hatchlings are doing very well in My Redneck Brooder Box. I use seedling heat mats to keep them warm. It’s a less expensive alternative to using the Brinsea Ecoglow brooder, and they have lasted much longer for me. Pretty soon I will need to move the turkey poults out to the brooder room in my chicken coop.
More Turkey Troubles?
My adult turkeys were causing quite a few problems on our homestead this year. I attempted to move a new batch of young chickens and ducks in with the adult flock of hens and turkeys. This didn’t work out well at all. The turkey hens pecked the living daylights out of one poor duck. As soon as I saw what was happening, I separated them again. The duck healed, the turkeys continued to be a pain in the butt, and my patience wore pretty thin.
I sold the turkey hens this past week, butchered the tom, and let the youngsters out into the flock. Life is much more peaceful without the adult turkeys causing a ruckus. All of the poults that just hatched are destined for our dinner table this fall. In the future, I plan to order the broad breasted variety of turkeys if we want more turkeys. I just don’t think I have enough room to keep the breeding stock for raising heritage turkeys.