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Turkeys about breeding time

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by CrealCritter, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. Aug 11, 2018
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    I'm very thankful and so happy I finally got some turkey poults. It's been a long time coming. And a steep learning curve for me. At least for me they are quite a bit more difficult than chickens are.

    They lay two clutches a year. The first clutch is it in late winter/early fall and both times the eggs froze with zero hatch. The second clutch is mid summer and both times there was a hatch. Foolish me though the hens would care for their poults, but no... The Tom stepped on some then the hens killed the rest several weeks later. I guess there's a reason burbon red turkeys are endangered, they ain't very good mom's at all.

    Another picture, they are eating and drinking well so far. I'm about to head to the farm store for high potien crumble feed for them. All I had was 18% pellets which I ran through the blender. I have them drinking 1 cap full Bragg's organic ACV per 1 gallon of water.
    IMG_20180811_111627896.jpg
     
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  2. Aug 13, 2018
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    So far 16 have hatch and 13 have lived. 1 was really weak when I found it and died dispite feeding it food / water mix with an eye dropper. The other two, I found dead had peck marks on them.

    1 of my two hens hatched out all of her eggs and was no longer sitting. So my wife and got her into the yard with the tom. So now there are 6 eggs remaining unhatch which 1 hen is sitting on. I see one egg has pipped. I'm hoping the hen we put in the yard with the tom was the one that killed the two babies.

    I've learned the hard way, if your going to let the hens sit and hatch out poults. Then you need to gather up the poults shortly after they hatch. My burbon red hens are not good mothers at all when when it comes to caring for their poults and will kill them if left alone with them to long. It's a very strange thing... But is true atleast for my hens. It kind of makes me sad but then again there is little I can do about it either... it's hard to figure out what a turkey hen is thinking when she pecks a hatchling to death. Who knows why a hen would do such a thing? It goes against my rational thinking.

    Here's the remaining unhatched eggs.
    IMG_20180812_182806989.jpg
    If they don't hatch in the next few days, I'm going to move the hen into the other yard with the tom and other hen. Clean up the mess in this yard. Thow down some lime and a fresh layer of hay then move the tom and two hens back into this yard as it's really their home. Plus that will give me some time to get the other yard in shape for when the poults need to be moved into a bigger yard.

    Like I said it been a steep learning curve for me. But man am I happy and thankful that I finally have burbon red turkey poults to raise.

    On a side note... I never knew what a turkey poults did when it was scared of something like a harmless pinecone. Here is the sound they make and how they behave. If your scarred, say your scarred!
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  3. Aug 13, 2018
    sumi

    sumi Sustainability Master Administrator

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    Some birds seem to miss the follow-up instinct, the one that comes after going broody and hatching babies. I've had (chicken) hens kill their chicks and I had one abandon her chicks after a week. I'm glad you were able to get some chicks from these hatches and you seem to be doing a MUCH better job with them than their biological mothers!
     
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  4. Aug 16, 2018
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    The oldest ones are 1 week old today. I sprinkled dried habenero pepper flakes over their feed today, just as a precaution against blackhead. They seem to be very healthy, active in sperts, then sleep. Kind of surprising they are starting to get wing and back feathers already. I noticed their eyes we're completely black when they we're first born. now they have brown colored eyes with a darker colored pupil. I can tell when they are looking at me now.
    IMG_20180815_210700645.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
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  5. Aug 16, 2018
    sumi

    sumi Sustainability Master Administrator

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    They are growing up quick already!
     
  6. Aug 16, 2018
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses Super Self-Sufficient

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    Hate to hear the lack of mothering with your turkeys. They are so lovely that I was considering getting that kind when/if I eventually do get any. :( I mean, if you want any eye candy, they are it. I like the rich coloring.

    So, guess I will be looking at the dull Narangasetts & or Spanish Blacks (?think that is correct name). I want them to do better than your lackluster experience with them in that realm.

    My broody hens have proven great! Some breeds will set, hatch, protect, teach and be quite intense with the protect (like pitbull attcks!) :D Others milder for me to corral and assist. I see a tendency to continue these efforts for various lengths between the breeds. My RIRs are milder and seem to keep at it longer. Some of my BYH & Marans are vigilant but "wean" the chicks earlier...way earlier...6-8 wks earlier. They do go back to laying sooner but, to be honest, the ones who are my most consistant & older broodies are kept JUST because of those talents. So eggs aren't the concern.

    I have broody right now and if I can find the eggs I want, will go ahead and set them now, even tho later than I normally would. They don't want to break up.

    Your poults look great....hey, being a mom is a hard job! Seems you are doing well. :)
     
  7. Aug 16, 2018
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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    Dang, they really are progressing quickly! They seem to be doing well - proving you are a good mother, lol!
     
  8. Aug 17, 2018
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    Wife texts me "Your babies are crying again" when she hears them crying (weep weep weep) from the front porch.

    Yesterday I got a text. I went out to check on them and one was out of the brooder in the nursery yard. So yeah, even at 1 week old they can jump up 12". A 1x12 is what I put on the front of the brooder. Now I have chicken wire over the front also to keep the little trouble maker in.
     
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  9. Aug 20, 2018
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    I lost 2 over the weekend. I have no idea what caused them to die but I'm now down to 10. Still very thankful for 10 but it really sucks that they just up and die for no apparent reason that I can figure out.

    Anyways I opened up their brooder and put a ramp down into the nursery yard. They really enjoyed being out of the brooder. I just checked on them and they are doing their usual night time thing, catching moths that fly around the heat lamp in the brooder.

    My wife offered encouragement by saying "you have raised them longer than the momma hens did" that is true but I can't help but wonder if there is a easier heritage turkey breed that I should be raising? I seen a brood of wild turkeys in the back yard this afternoon. I watched them a mother hen and 8 younger ones. I could tell by the size of the younger ones they we're an early spring hatch. Then my mind got to wondering... Why can't my Burbon Reds be that easy to raise?

    I really like the looks of the non-broadbrested sweet grass turkeys but since they are a newer breed there's not a lot of info about them.

    https://www.porterturkeys.com/sweetgrass.htm
    Sweetgrass.jpg

    Any ideas on a easier to raise heritage turkey breed?

    Turkey poult raising tips (good info here) ---> https://www.porterturkeys.com/poultstartingtips.htm
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  10. Aug 20, 2018
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    Babies get a little more freedom. I'll be working on their final home over the next couple of weeks. They sure do grow fast!
    IMG_20180820_132543499.jpg
     
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