poultry questions, turkeys and silkie chickens

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This is such a wonderful place for information.I have 2 seperate questions but figured I would post them together. My first ? is regarding my turkeys. I have 2 broadbreasted white hens that started laying aprox. 1 month ago. After doing some research I bought a naragansent tom and have the 3 together.I an hoping to hatch out my own poults. My hens are laying ever day and I saved a few eggs to put in the incubater. I candled them on day 4 and all apeared infertile. I have only had the tom with the hens for 2 weeks. Is this to early for the tom to be doing the deed? He struts around the hens but I have not seen him try to breed. My roosters where constantly going after the hens, are turkeys more secretive when it comes to mating? He is smaller breasted then the hens so I think physically he is capable of reproducing. It also seems my one hen is setting on her nesting area alot more, should I leave the eggs? Would this encourage her to brood her own eggs? This is all new to me and any info would be great. My 2nd ? is regarding silkie chickens. I got them about 3 months ago and have a pair of black silkies and a trio of buff silkies. I have them all together and they seem to get along well. they are all aprox 1 year old. I feed a laying mash plus some grain every day. They are under light to supplement the 14 hours needed to lay. I started the lights last week. I still have not got a single egg and am not sure what the problem is. Does anyone have anysuggestions? The turkeys and chickens are not together. thanks everyone.

-- tracy (murf@alltel.net), March 25, 2001


My hens just started laying recently .They still aren't doing great .It may take a little more time .Silly question and don't be offended , are you sure you have hens ?

-- Patty {NY State} (fodfarms@slic.com), March 25, 2001.

Not offended Patty, yes three hens two roosters for the silkies. I just figured they should be laying by now especially since they are under lights. I went out to the barn just now and my turkey hen[not the one who has been setting on the nest more] was at the nest and just laid an egg and was taking hay and covering both eggs. What does that mean? I now they will set more when becoming broody but havent heard or read anything about covering the eggs. It seems like both the hens are taking turns. It is still cold here and am wondering if the eggs will stay warm enough to hatch if I leave them alone. Anyone that knows of a web site aimed at turkey breeding for a home flock please let me know. Thanks again

-- tracy (murf@alltel.net), March 25, 2001.

Hi, Turkeys are not secretive about doing the deed right before everyone! The Tom will mount the hen just like the roosters mount the chicken hens. It is quite normal for the turkey hen to cover up her eggs. I think it may go back to their wild instinct to hide the eggs from predators as they will not set on the eggs until they have laid what they consider to be an appropriate amount. I have had hens lay as many as 21 eggs in a nest and as few as 7. Most lay about 15 and then set on the eggs. Get a copy of the book "Raising Poultry the Modern Way" for good information on turkey raising. By the way Turkey eggs were very hard to incubate. We had better success letting the hen do the work, and then removing the poults once she hatched them out. We have five hens right now and three toms, two of which will be leaving here shortly as that is too many toms. They fight and strut and worry the hens too much. Good luck with your turkeys.

-- Cindy (colawson@mindspring.com), March 25, 2001.

We don't have turkeys, but the duck covers her eggs when she intends to sit, as stated above, to hide them from predators. She really doesn't bother,though, until she is about ready to sit, that's one of the clues she gives us. Is it still freezing at night? If so you will want to keep collecting the eggs. Again, don't know for sure about turkeys, but chickens will have maybe a week's worth of eggs forming in their bodies, and I think it would take maybe that long to get fertile eggs. I assume the silkies were mature when you got them, and are not 3 months old? Usually hens will start laying at about five or six months, but my banty seems to lay more seasonally, after the weather starts to warm up and the days get longer.

-- mary, texas (marylgarcia@aol.com), March 25, 2001.

All of my chickens are now laying, except for my Silkies, so dont feel bad. Last year, their first year, they laid only in June , July and August, and I think part of September. Are they bad layers? Maybe some one could tell us. Their eggs are tiny, so I sell all my other eggs and eat the silkie eggs. My Polish hens lay full size white eggs, i'm surprised to find out.

-- Michele Rae Padgett (michelesmelodyfarm@Yahoo.com), March 29, 2001.

The Broad Breasted turkeys are meat birds and are short lived. Due to their build, they usually are artificially inseminated.

-- ~Rogo (rogo2020@yahoo.com), March 31, 2001.

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