Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey Tales


Springtime and our turkeys have been laying prolifically and going broody. We reduced our flock considerably in the autumn and have just three white hens, three bronze and one bronze gobbler. So we wanted to breed quite a few turkeys this spring. The first two that Peter set in august came to nothing, perhaps it was too cold, so we put a lot in the incubator in September and hatched 11 from that setting.
They are now two months old and going well. they free range through the day now and share their accommodation with two chickens who hatched at the same time. They are starting to need a lot of food so it is just as well that there is a lot of grass around.

We set another hen on eight eggs and she hatched out seven of them about two weeks ago and is doing a great job of raising them. We needed to move her and her chicks to the big turkey shed when they were a few days old and she really was not impressed. she doesn't like us to come anywhere near them.

When Peter was in hospital two other turkeys went broody, they just sat themselves together in the drum where they lay their eggs, problem was that the other hens continued to lay in there. If I didn't do something about this situation i thought we would end up with a couple of squashed chickens and loads of rotten eggs. After much thought and some trial and error, I moved my old chook tractor down to the big turkey shed, removed one of the turkeys from the drum and set her in there with about a dozen eggs. I couldn't get the other one out of the drum so left her there on the eggs I couldn't get out and hoped for the best. I put feed and water in the drum for her and some mesh in front so the others couldn't keep laying there and was vigilant about collecting the eggs ever day.
Well the end result, the turkey in the drum hatched two chicks and then abandoned the eggs, she and the turkey with seven chicks seem to have a shared parenting arrangement going on.


The turkey in the chook tractor hatched about six i think but i haven't seen them yet as she wont let me near them. A very fierce mother.
Not a bad end result and better than lots of rotten eggs. We will sell some and eat some when they get a bit bigger.   

 

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