turkeys are laying eggs, would like info

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I have to turkeys that are almost a year old, both hens. We bought them for xmas and thanksgiving but just never got around to butchering them. They are starting to lay eggs now. Does anyone eat turkey eggs? I havent tried mine yet. Also they have free range and hang out in the barn but am wondering if a nesting box would encourage them to lay in one place. If so what should I use? What about breeding them? I am trying to locate a tom but was told that domestic turkeys are not able to mate because of there size. I would like to try to hatch out my own eggs. Any other tips would be very much appreciated. Thank You

-- tracy (murf@alltel.net), March 11, 2001


I don't know that a nesting box would help you out unless you don't free range them. Turkeys are apt to do some pretty stupid stuff, and generally don't bother with things like nest boxes.

I don't know what to tell you about breeding.... Seems to me that they aren't all that much bigger than wild birds.

-- Sue Diederich (willow666@rocketmail.com), March 11, 2001.

Turkey eggs are great, very tender whites. We have a pet we found along the road, evidently fell off a truck. She laid in fall and again now.

-- Cora-Vee Caswell (coravee@locl.net), March 11, 2001.

My turkeys lay, set, & hatch out babies every year. They don't know what to do with them after they hatch, but I just pull them out & put them in the brooder.

-- Wendy (weiskids@yahoo.com), March 11, 2001.


Turkey eggs taste great. Mine didn't seem to have any problems mating and they were huge. Where are you? I have two toms and no hen. Something got my hen last year. She was a real pet. I miss her more than the dog that died. Stella never would use a nest box. She lost four nests before she got smart enough to make her nest close to the house. The one she finally hatched was right under daughter's window.

The toms I have now are starting to fight. The old one has knots on his feet and can't get around well. I've had him so long, I hate to eat him. I got 5 turkey chicks from the feed store, but they only had white. I don't know what kind mine are, but they are a bright coppery color. I'd like to find some hens of the same kind.

-- Mona in OK (jascamp@ipa.net), March 11, 2001.

Last year, one of our hens snuck off to the woods and laid and hatched a batch of eggs. When she brought them up by the house, Delores caught the little ones and we put them in our "stock tank" brooder. This year, we have confined Tom and Tillie to the livingroom and kitchen of an old house trailer we use as a barn. We are using a large wash tub for a nest, and Tillie has 4 eggs so far. When they hatch, we will again bring them into the house and put them in the brooder.

IMPORTANT!!! If you hatch turkey eggs, do NOT feed them chick starter that is medicated. We use game-bird starter, which is NOT medicated and is formulated specially for birds OTHER than chickens. As far as eating the eggs. I have eaten and loved eating turkey eggs off and on for over 20 years.

BTW, the house trailer/barn has worked well for us. We have a 6 week old bottle fed bull calf in one of the bedrooms and the chickens lay eggs in the other bedroom. Delores, my better half, raised ducks in the bathtub last year and plans to do so again. The trailer cost $800 plus $50 to get it hauled out here. I sold the axles and wheels to someone who took them off and leveled the trailer. I cannot build a 500 square foot shed with partitions for that little money, so I like the idea.

-- jonesey (jonesey@bigfoot.com), March 11, 2001.

For breeding: There are two broad breasted verieties, & these are the ones that mostly (there are always exceptions to the rule) can't breed naturally, as the large breasts on the birds tend to interfere. There are other breeds that aren't broad breasted & do breed naturally. If the females you have are broad breasted, you might get away with having a different breed (not broad breasted) as it seemes to me it was the males that had the trouble in trying to breed, not the females. www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.html Try this site as it has a list of turkey breeds as well as other poultry.

I hope this helps;

animalfarms (IN)

-- animalfarms (jwlewis@indy.net), March 12, 2001.

I want to thank everyone for their responses. I am located in N.W. Penna and if anyone has a tom for sale or possibly trade please contact me. My hens are of the white variety and I guess are about 35lbs. They are really big. Would like a smaller tom to try to see if they will breed. I was thinking of trying to get some fertile eggs and seeing if my silkie hen would set. She is always broody. If not maybe I will look into an incubater.Thanks again

-- tracy (murf@alltel.net), March 13, 2001.

Raising Your Own Turkeys has the following nest box in it:

Build with at least 1/2" plywood. 24" wide by 22" deep by 20" high. Across the front at the bottom put an 8" board. Doesn't say way, but shows bedding of a layer of sod, then soil, then straw. Looks like each layer might be 2" or so deep.

Quoting: "Eggs can be hatched by setting them under broody birds. Chieckens, turkeys and even ducks or geese can be used. It makes more sense to keep the hen turkeys laying and hatch the eggs by other means. A medium-size broody chicken will cover six to seven turkey eggs. Select a calm bird, one that is not likely to become easily frightened and break the eggs.

Provide a suitable nest box (as above), one that is roomy and deep so the setting hen will have ample room to turn the eggs, Change position and be comfortable over a 28-day incubation period. Select an area where she will be by herself or other setters. She should have food and water handy at all times.

It may be advisable to put the setting hen on dummy or artificial eggs for a few days to make sure she's a persistent brooder. Try taking her off the eggs a few times. If she immiedately goes back on the eggs, put the real things under her. Check brooky birds for lice and mites before setting and treat them for these pests if necessary."

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), March 13, 2001.

I have one hen (bourbon red) full copper color/ white. she started this year in may (beggining). started laying in my flower bed and then I bred her and moved her 3 eggs to a metel 8x10 shed (barn) in which I took the far back corner-placed peat moss,pinebark mulch, straw and built her an area 3 ft. by 3 ft. enclosed the sides with stuff (boxes,tiller,and a old cage, left the front corner open so she could get out but built the straw up about 2 ft. high. she is happly sitting on about 13 eggs. I keep a light (40 watt) on above her about 3 ft. (reg. house bulb) and she started sitting on May the 15th. and the babys are due in the middle of June. Turkeys love leaves also in there nest - makes the feel natur-e-l !


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