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HI THERE I have 5 bourbon red turkey hens and one tom, (same breed) and one or maybe even 2 hens have gone broody and one for sure is setting. Didn' t have any luck last year cuz they were penned up, (same breed). Do you think she is setting cuz now they're free range? I pen them in at night cuz of predators, but am flabbergasted that I have one hen who is setting, since i hear they are awful moms! Anyone out there had any luck with this type? It's the wrong time of year as well, so I'm not sure if the eggs she's setting on will even hatch, it's so cold. but she comes to eat every day in the a.m., and then goes back to her nest after 1-2 hrs. if anyone out there has had any luck with bourbon red hens setting, please write!~ gg

-- gg (gloria@riverbendlodge.com), January 02, 2002


Hi GG,

i always kept a flock of free range broad breasted bronze turkeys and they would at times lay but never hatch..so I made a crude incubator with alight and a thermostat and got some of them to hatch. I bet with a proper incubator you could have even betterluck. I fear that the domestic turkey is truly not well suited to reproduce without serious meddling. They did a number on the grasshoppers and were good to us in the winters. Oscar

-- Oscar H.Will III (owill@mail.whittier.edu), January 03, 2002.

You might want to crack a couple eggs open to see if they are fertile, the gobbler is usually the cause of non hatching eggs.Get a young gobbler in good shape and it will solve the problem most of the time

-- Gary (burnett_gary@msn.com), January 03, 2002.

Mine would hatch them out, but didn't know what to do after that. I always took them away right away. I don't think I'd let her sit on them & hatch them this time of year though.

-- Wendy (weiskids@yahoo.com), January 03, 2002.

Oh, don't crack them open, candle them. I use a high power Mag- light, or a regular flash light should work. If they are fertile, it makes no sense to kill one to see if the rest are alive. My BB Bronze hen almost hatched out an emu egg, and those take 55 days. Bourbons, not being gentically engineered, like the BB's should still do natural hatches. I was more than surprised when my BB sat.

-- Wendy A (phillips-anteswe@pendleton.usmc.mil), January 03, 2002.

On the topic of domesticated turkeys, i have a question. I've contemplated for some time to get a pair of broad breasted bronze turkeys. Those of you that have them, are they good pets? Is the gobble of a male louder than a rooster? is it likely the gobble would iritate neighbors about 2 acres away? I had planned to sell babies and was also wondering if there's a good market for these turkeys, but now i see they're not good mommas?

Thanks for any other advice you can give!

-- Buk Buk (bukabuk@hotmail.com), January 03, 2002.

I am having the same sort of problem with my Royal Palm hens. I had to put a heat lamp on my waterer--- and the whole hen hous erupted with Spring fever. All 4 turkey hens have begun to set on the nst eggs and the chicken hens are stacking up in the corners laying eggs. I have to have the lamp because it was 2.5 degrees this morning ...... I am wondering if I will be able to get eggs from them this Spring? Tana Mc

-- Tana McCarter (mcfarm @totelcsi.net), January 03, 2002.

On the topic of domestic turkeys.... The broad breasted was developed for the poultry producers much like the broiler. So if you want a bird that will grow fast and put on weight, with any problems that may entail, you should go with the Broad breasted Bronze or White.

The Bourbon Red are considered heritage and can actually hatch out their own, and do not have as many dificulties as the Broad breasted. They are still one of the larger turkeys. I agree, that it may be too cold for the eggs to hatch. You should bring them in and try to incubate them yourself. I had luck with a styrofoam cooler and a 25 watt light. Use a cut out for a vent with tape to close, use clear tape for a window, etc. if you want. Put in a sponge with water for humidity, and a temp gage. They are not as reliable as an incubator that shuts off at a certain temp, so you have to be more careful. Hovabators are $30-40 I think. (Small table top incubators) They have thermostats that you can set and all that. I know that my sister has had a Bourbon red set in the spring with luck.

Broad breasted can get too big to fertilize, they can smash the eggs easier, since they are huge, they can have more leg and heart problems. I have had both types. I prefer the heritage, as it did not seem to get "colds" etc., but it could have just been a particular situation. Good luck!

-- notnow (notnow@blabla.com), January 04, 2002.

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