Turkeys are not very bright – this is OK, it makes it easier to eat them. We have nine hens and one stag/tom (Ataturkeyoglu – I still find this very very funny). Sometime just after Easter the hens started sitting in a confused turkey heap. Last year our two original hens sat very nicely each on their own clutch of eggs. This year chaos reigned.
On reflection this was a mistake. They kept adding new eggs at different times (so there will be no single hatch date), eggs rolled away and they weren’t really sitting on them all. Next time I will try and get them to sit separately, although how I will do that is anyone’s guess.
One hen however made her own nest, laid her own eggs and sat quietly on them. I had hopes for her hatching some turkeys. Thursday morning I went to check on her and the status of her eggs. Our turkeys are pretty good at sitting (well the original two were) but are rubbish at looking after chicks – see here for last year’s debacle. As a result we take the chicks into protective custody as soon as possible.
I had a little peek and there was an empty egg shell – maybe one had hatched. I rooted around under her and extracted two eggs that had chicks halfway through hatching. The eggs were squashed and the chicks were dead. And then I found a chick that had managed to get out of the shell, but it too was dead – it had been squashed. She had managed to incubate the eggs, but then squashed them as they hatched.
Drastic action was required. I scooped up the rest of the eggs and put them in the incubator. Unfortunately the incubator had Ixworth eggs in and they were only half way through their incubation. A dilemma …. the turkey eggs would require a higher humidity to hatch, but this might negatively affect the Ixworth eggs. I decided in favour of the turkeys especially as one egg had pipped.
I was busy marking assignments as the chick gradually unzipped the egg
And then a little turkey hatched.
All day Friday I waited for a friend to hatch for him, but nothing – just faint tapping from inside two of the eggs. In the end I put one of the chicken chicks from the bike shed in with him for company.
As I write this now there is one chick alive but not really making much progress although I have taken away some of the shell, and there is movement in a fifth egg but I haven’t cracked that one. I am trying so hard not to meddle, but it is very very difficult. More photos tomorrow when there is enough light.