need help with wild turkey eggsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
This evening we had our unused pasture brush hogged. A wild turkey nest was uncovered. All thirteen eggs were intact and still warm. I knew the hen wouldn't come back to this, now very exposed, nest so I brought the eggs in to try to save them. I used rugs to pad a clothes basket and hung the light we used when we got baby chicks a couple of months ago. I put a small container of water in the basket. The thermomter reads right at 100 degrees.
Am I doing things right? Wrong? Any suggestions? How will I know when they should hatch? Do I need to turn them? How often? If they hatch, what should I feed them?
I am a city girl transplanted to the homestead. (You couldn't pay me to go back to town!) We are raising chickens (they are nine weeks old) so my experience with poultry is very limited. If these birds hatch, can we put them in with the chickens when they get big enough?
I would greatly appreciate any help/advice you can give.
-- Marcia Orban (email@example.com), June 26, 2001
Hi, Marcia~ I think 100*F is probably ok, especially with a jury rigged incubator. As for turning, more is better than less, but turn the eggs an odd number of times during the day, so each night the eggs rest on an alternate side during those longest unturned hours. My grandparents raised turkeys in the 1930's and my mother always said they put an "x" and an "o" on each side of the egg in pencil so you could be sure which eggs you'd turned. You will know they are hatching when you hear tiny little "peeps" coming out of the eggs, and they start to drill a hole around the end of the egg to shove their way out. Always a thrill to get to this point! :) As for feeding them, for the first day or two they don't want or need much, since they are still living off of stored yolk (this is why you can mail order poultry from across the country and they arrive at your post office ok after a day and a half in the mail). After the first day I'd offer them regular turkey starter and treat them as domestic turkeys. Although maybe someone else on here with more experience might offer up a better food idea? You may need to obtain a permit from your state to keep them. I'm not up on raising wildlife, but things like that are regulated so if they hatch you might want to check into it, just to be sure you are legal. I hope you pull off the hatch! Maybe Moma Turkey did most of the job already and you'll see something soon! :)
-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 27, 2001.
Turkeys take 28 days to hatch. If you can try to candle them to see how far along they are. You probably should cover most of the basket to keep the moisture in, they have a hard shell. We have moved chicken and duck eggs from nest to incubater with a pretty good hatch rate, we have incubators and haven't tried it the way you are. If you plan to raise chickens next year a small tabletop incubator is a good investment. Turkey starter is the feed of choice and also they can have small pieces of grass. You will have to put their beeks in the water and food. Turkeys aren't very smart, so they need encouragement. We have raised turkeys.
-- Barb (email@example.com), June 27, 2001.
Good advice so far. If you're lucky enough to hatch them I wouldn't put them with your chickens due to the possibility of black head desease. I would make their own pen for them someplace where chickens have not been kept before.
-- Jim T (Tanner_jim@hotmail.com), June 27, 2001.
We too have come upon wild turkey eggs from various circumstances. When hatching them out, the humidity levels should be kept up to roughly 40-60%. Some people have had luck with raising wild turkeys, but we found that they retained too much of their wild instinct, and no matter how much we handled them from little on, they were very nervous, flighty, and continually paced in their pen. And because they can fly at a very early age, the only way to let them outside, is in a pen with a cover on top. Clipping the wings didn't do much to slow them down. After five months, we butchered them, and they only dressed out at about 10 pounds. It's something that we wouldn't do again. And as suggested above, in some states, it is illegal to raise them without a permit. Good luck!
-- Joanie Karnowski (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 02, 2001.
I hope you're successful in hatching most of that clutch of eggs, it wold be a shame for them to go to waste. You might want to gently inquire of your local Game and Fish Commission though in how to proceed. Many areas have regulations about this kind of thing and I'd hate to see you unwittingly run afoul of them.
-- Live Oak (email@example.com), July 03, 2001.
I work for doc and if you are going to let them out wack out they will take over they will chace you when you get the washing in and if you have food i hand run for the hills.ps i'ts illegl to keep them
-- derk kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 24, 2001.