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Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.


Turkey Hens Hatching and Raising Poults and Chicks

By Bryan Welch 


Tags: turkeys, poults, chicks,

Turkey and Chicks
 BRYAN WELCH

The turkey hen found a pile of chicken eggs had been laid on the floor of the coop in a corner under a ledge. She decided they were hers.

This was about two months ago. I closed off the room where she sat so the other birds wouldn’t bother her. Other than that, I left her alone. Three weeks later she hatched six baby chickens.

If a turkey can be said to have an expression, hers was proud.

Since then she’s raised her little brood flawlessly. The pullets are spooky and mischievous. They seem to enjoy their mom’s stature. They spend a lot of time climbing around on her back. Sometimes all six of them.

Then last week, as though she felt envious, the other turkey hen assembled her own pile of eggs and started setting.

When hens — turkeys, chickens or any other birds as far as I know — get “broody,” they go into a kind of trance. They lose interest in everything other than eggs. The second turkey hen actually assembled her eggs on the metal grate of the perch, surrounded by the rest of the flock. I thought when she failed to get up and go outside in the morning with the rest of the birds she must be injured. I picked her up.  Voila! Eggs. So I moved her in with the other hen.

The pullets consider the new hen a second, equally enjoyable Jungle Gym. From the first day, they were climbing all over her. Now the first hen has taken an interest in the eggs. She has moved in next to her co-parent and they are mutually incubating and sharing parenting duties.

It’s the sort of situation that makes the farmer think, “Whatever.”

 

larrys
12/7/2013 9:13:35 PM

It is December and , I have two turkey hens setting at this time is this odd or can they set anytime of year .


catllyon
9/5/2011 12:46:08 PM

Thank you for your article on dogs eating deplorable things. We have an Austrailian Sheperd, Golden Retriever,a cocker spaniel and a shih tzu who all love to roll in freshly dropped cow piles, dig in the compost pile with dried cow piles, and roll in dead things (and eat live baby bunnies when found). Eeewwww!! All our dogs have all day access to dry kibble and buckets of fresh water, but I did not realize this was a "dog" thing, and not an "our dogs" thing!! They are healthy, active, long-lived, and totally loved for their farming duties and porch duties!!


ray_24
7/18/2010 12:28:15 PM

we bought some day old turkey chicks, one was dead in transit. We attributed it to chance during delivery. However one month later we have lost 7 chicks. They seem fine and lively, then they start gulping for air like a fish out of water, next day or so they are dead! Does anyone know what is going on? Please respond


tam_3
9/13/2009 4:30:37 PM

Hi i was pleased to see something about turkeys in here. I have been wanting to ask what the heck happened with my birds. I had 11 turkeys i had raised and they were well on their way. No health problems etc. However, the weather turned quite hot, and even though they seemed to have a decent place to tough it out, and i babied them, they started dropping like flies. I can only assume, that the extreme weather fluctuations made them susceptible, and once one went down, they all started dropping like dominoes. I was pretty upset, as i have always prided myself on raising them to a great finish in time for thanksgiving. I didnt have any diseases present nothing like that. Is it possible that extreme temperature mixes, compromised their immunity?? Or that i got a batch of birds that were weak in the first place. They were about three months along when they started falling apart. Would it be way better to keep them in a barn next time all year round without going outside at all, just in the paddock.


liz_9
8/3/2009 4:51:28 PM

And the rest of us think how wonderful nature is and how much it has to teach us about life.Bird behaviour is endlessly fascinating in all it's complexity.Lucky people to live with turkeys!


nataly
7/15/2009 1:09:38 PM

Yes, it's very interesting to observe such situations when a turkey, a goose or a hen broods and raises birds of other kinds. Like in this article. By the way turkeys are considered to be the best brood-hens though they are so different from other poultry. Last summer my mother grew poultry. It was a great pleasure. When the chickens are small they are very funny. Later when they grew up they made my mother worry because they nearly got ill. My mother is very fond of poultry and reads a lot about it. I know that she downloaded a nice book about poultry disease at http://www.picktorrent.com. It was of great help to her. So if you also grow poultry, especially broiler-chikens, follow my advice and find that or any other nice book. Just get ready when they are small and unlikely to get ill.