Hatching Turkey Eggs

Learn about incubating turkey eggs and getting them to hatch using an automatic incubator.

  • Eggs and Poultry
    “Made at Home: Eggs and Poultry” is a guide to raising backyard poultry on a modern homestead. The first four sections cover everything needed to successfully keep the most popular types of poultry (chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys) and provides all the information needed to start out, including building a shelter, planning runs and ponds, dealing with pests and problems, laying and breeding, incubating and hatching, slaughter, and plucking and drawing.
    Cover Courtesy Firefly Books
  • Brooder
    These poults are in a brooder with a heat lamp and curved corners.
    Photo Courtesy Firefly Books

  • Eggs and Poultry
  • Brooder

Backyard poultry have gained popularity in recent years as some municipalities loosen regulations to allow homeowners to keep coops. Raising poultry is a sustainable activity, which in relatively little space produces fresh eggs and meat. Made at Home: Eggs & Poultry (Firefly Books, 2012) is a complete guide to raising backyard poultry using eggs and meat for delicious homemade meals. The following excerpt explains how to hatch turkey eggs. 

You can buy this book in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Made at Home: Eggs & Poultry.

The principles of incubating turkey eggs are similar for all domestic poultry and fowl. Hatching turkey eggs is relatively easy, but the key is that for the highest success rate you want to start incubation soon after the eggs are laid. Most people rear turkeys from young poults to provide the holiday birds for family and friends, so hatching and incubation isn’t an issue for everyone. But if you do want to hatch your own turkeys, go ahead and give it a try.

Hatching Turkey Eggs: Essential Equipment

• Thermometer
• Spray bottle
• Incubator
• Flashlight
• Turkey feed
• Incubating bulb — infrared
• Brooder  

Fertilized Turkey Eggs

Turkey eggs are equivalent in size to a duck egg and should be kept in cartons with the broad end upwards before you incubate them. Discard any cracked, damaged or misshapen eggs.

Store the eggs in a cool pantry or cupboard for no more than 1 week. For a few hours before they go into the incubator, allow them to acclimatize and reach room temperature.

Andy Fulks
5/3/2021 11:00:38 AM

The eggs are hatched naturally under their mother in often times very unsanitary conditions, poop, dirt, germs, etc. Never, ever wash your eggs, which will destroy the bloom and actually allow bacteria in, Maybe that is why the author of this article only experienced a 50% hatch rate and 30% survival after that. We usually get maybe 3-4 eggs out of 24 that do not develop in the incubator, and the chick survival rate depends 95% on their care after hatching. We raise heritage birds. I read this article for reference of the temp and humidity, but was intrigued by the flawed success rates. Perhaps the author should try a different path to success.

1/2/2014 10:24:36 PM

Thanks for posting your opinion alycia.morleyademo. Everything you said is dead on. You are doing so much more damage washing those eggs, never sanitize, then if you put them in muddy plus if your buying off a breeder who is the least caring of their birds those eggs shouldn't be caked in poop! Please follow the other posters advice and read another article.

4/28/2013 11:15:54 AM

"On average you can expect less than half the eggs to hatch, and of the poults, only about 30 percent can be expected to live to 2 weeks old."

This is just plain nonsense. If you do your best with the care of the eggs and the poults you will not have such horrible percentages. Even when I raised meat turkeys who are way more prone to heart attacks, we had better survival rates than that, 90-100% past 2 weeks. The last time I had Turkeys we only lost 1 out of 25 and that wasn't until they were adults and it was mostly due to a heart attack. Buy the day old poults from a reputable place.  As far as eggs I have only tried to hatch a very small number but of the 8 that I have had SHIPPED to me I got 6 poults. Shipped eggs are always harder to get to hatch, and guess what they are now a month old all alive! Well minus the ones my cat ate but that doesn't count, that was just plain negligence on my part. As ar as SANITIZING the eggs don't do it. If they are dirty and you want to clean them use warm water, do a search about it. Most people are split right down the middle on weather to clean or not-I have done just fine with dirty eggs as opposed to clean eggs. But never SANITIZE the eggs.I would look to better advice than this article.



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