The Turkey and the Hen, pt 1

You can check back and read the first post on this little adventure, A Surrogate Mother, if you want more background info.  At this point we have a turkey hen who STILL wants to lay her eggs and sit on them.

Sitting on them long enough, is the real issue.  She does very well for a few days and then will leave.  Those eggs need to be kept pretty consistent at 99.8 degrees F to actually hatch, for 28 days. I mean, I’m sure they can tolerate some lower temps, when mom goes to eat/drink… but they cannot end up being stone cold before she gets back.

ERGO, my broody hen was called in to help out. She, who is content to “sit”, almost forever (one time for close to 60 days).  That time we brought HER food and water to make sure she was getting enough, she was so dedicated to her egg-sitting.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, we took the hen’s eggs that she was sitting on and put them in the incubator.  We took the turkey eggs and put them under the hen.  Turkey chicks are pretty fragile and do much better being raised by a hen, then by ME.

Now, the latest. This Midget White Turkey is obsessed.  She keeps wanting to sit on some eggs.. but unfortunately, she’s not exactly dedicated to the job.  She also likes to “flirt” with the guys… so will take off, forgetting all about her eggs.  When she remembers and heads back to the nest… she looks around for the eggs.

Bunk-bed sitting hens

On discovering that the HEN had eggs, she promptly set on the hen. I mean, actually climbed on top of the hen, and was sitting on her. Our broody hen would NOT budge. (did I mention the word dedicated????).

They did finally share side by side, with each keeping eggs warm. I hope the embryo’s are pretty sturdy to handle all the “action” they have been getting.

The turkey’s last visit back to the sitting area, she created a new nest and laid more eggs. Now we have way too many eggs for that little hen to sit on, plus the timing was going to be all off.

We took these newest turkey eggs, marked them, and put them in the incubator, to see if we could save them.  Maybe I’ll have another hen go broody (we’re certainly having spring like weather)… and can slip them under her before they hatch, and she can raise them.

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