Turkey Observations and Summary

Three turkeys bought in June 2008, $10 each, 1 gobbler and 2 hens.  Fully grown but young.  Named by youngest child, the gobbler is Turkettic, the brown hen is Beauty and the white hen is Turkepi.

The free range during the day and are locked into a good sized house at night which has roosts and 2 nests side by side.

The turkey hens began to lay the week of the 22nd September 2008

They laid approximately 1 egg every second day.

Turkepi the white hen begins to sit on her outside nest, we move her and her eggs in the evening into the house which is secure from predators but she abandons the eggs and stops laying for a couple of days then begins to lay again in her outside nest.  Determine to leave her alone this time and erect an electric fence to protect her.

Leave Turkepis’s eggs in the second nest after her abandoning them.  Turkettic the gobbler is occasionally found sitting on one of the nests overnight, then on Beauty’s eggs sometimes during the day.  Beauty lays on top of Turkepi’s original eggs at times since she can’t get onto her own nest.  After a bit both Turkettic and Beauty are found sitting overnight, but spend many hours off during the day.  Figure that the eggs may well be ruined by this.  Take some of Beauty’s more recent eggs and put them in Turkepi’s nest for when she begins to sit properly.

Both hens were sitting well by the 12th October.  Rig up fence around Turkepi.  Beauty the brown hen is sitting in the turkey house on the nest with Turkepi’s older eggs and her own more recent ones.  Turkettic is sitting on the adjacent nest with Beauty’s original eggs.

Turkepi has 13 eggs, Beauty has 16 and Turkettic has 9.

On 28th October found a dead mature looking poult in a broken egg and another broken egg outside of Turkettics nest.  It would appear he was startled during the night and leapt out breaking and dislodging the two eggs.  He is still sitting on the remaining 7 eggs.

On 31st October Lydia saw 2 live poults in the nest when Turkettic was off for a breather.  On checking we found and removed 2 dead poults (1 brown and 1 yellow) and 3 eggs which we placed in the incubator.

On 1st November the 2 poults move between the gobbler’s and Beauty’s nest.  One poult is seen out and about with Turkettic.

On 2nd November an egg in the incubator hatches.  Raised in brooder box.

On 3rd November both poults are out and about with Turkettic.  Beauty is off and on her nest a bit too.

On 5th November Beauty decides to stop brooding her eggs.  This was not immediately noticed because we were in town for the dentist and shopping.  On our return we find 1 poult in Beauty’s nest listless and cold and one egg half hatched.  We chase the turkeys back into the turkey house and the gobbler sits on the eggs while Beauty takes the other nest with the poults.

On 6th November both turkeys with the 2 poults go out in the morning and show no signs of sitting on the eggs anymore.  We check the nest and find the 2 from yesterday are dead.  Remove them and the remaining 14 eggs which we put in the incubator.  During the day 8 poults hatch, 7 yellow and 1 brown.  Attempt to return them to the turkeys in the evening but they will not sit on them so put them in the brooding box inside, separate from the original poult for now.

On 7th November check remaining eggs in incubator.  One of the eggs from Turkettic’s nest is smelling so remove it.  The other is cheeping.  Put original poult in with the gang.  Turkepi has remained sitting faithfully this whole time. Very bad rain overnight, hope she is okay with her lot.

On 8th November the cheeping egg hatches.  1 more brown poult.

On 9th November the one remaining egg from Turkettic’s nest had pipped in the morning and hatched late evening giving 1 more brown poult..  One of the yellow poults in the brooder box drowned in the water jar.  Change the water bowl!!!

On 10th November 2 more of Beauty’s eggs hatched.

On 11th November Turkepi came out with 8 poults.  Put remaining 5 eggs into the incubator.  Turkettic and Beauty attacked Turkepi so moved her into the garden area for now, she spent the evening in the nature strip.  One of Turkepi’s eggs in incubator has pipped.

On 12th November one of Turkepi’s poults, the brown one, died late in the day – possibly heat affected.  One shows strange neuroligical signs at times.  Turkepi and brood put into a dome in the afternoon.  2 of Turkepi’s eggs hatched and 2 of Beauty’s hatched in incubator, 1 needed help to hatch.

On 14th November help one of Turkepi’s eggs to hatch after hearing it chipping for a day and a half but not managing to even pip.

Summary:

Turkettic’s nest of 9 eggs

1 egg not developed broken and knocked out of nest

1 egg matured but dead, broken and knocked out of nest in panic we think

2 hatched naturally but found dead for unknown reason

2 hatched naturally live and well

2 hatched in the incubator live and well

1 egg gone off and smelling after being in incubator

Beauty’s nest of 16 eggs

1 hatched but dead due to nest abandonment, because of neighbouring poults

1 half hatched but dead due to nest abandonment

1 hatched in incubator but later drowned

12 hatched in incubator live and well

1 put in incubator but did not hatch

Turkepi’s nest of 13 eggs

7 hatched naturally live and well

1 hatched naturally but died on second day

3 hatched in the incubator live and well

2 put in incubator but did not hatch

Overall

There are 2 yellow poults out and about with Turkettic and Beauty

Turkettic & Beauty’s poults hatched about 30th October 2008

There are 7 poults with Turkepi, 6 yellow and 1 yellowish brown

Turkepis poults hatched about 10th November 2008

There are 17 poults at the house, 12 yellow, 4 brown and 1 yellowish brown.

The oldest one is equivalent age to the two with Beauty and Turkettic.  The youngest one is not the best.  It has a bung eye and seems to feel cold a lot.  It would rather snuggle up to a light globe or person than forage.

Oldest poult at house hatched on 2nd November (Whitey)

Main clutch of 8 Beauty’s eggs hatched on 6th November

4 more hatched from 8th to 10th November

4 more hatched on 12th November

Last one hatched on 14th November (Bung Eye)

The house raised chicks were fed crushed grain.  Mostly a wheat and oats combination, sometimes with barley, also crushed peas, and powdered milk all mixed together.  They would also have breadcrumbs and cooked egg added to the mix when they were small.  They loved this mix and it was very hard to wean them from it when they got older.

The hen raised chicks would gather their own food when free ranging and would also be given some of the crushed grain mix twice a day.

As they grew they fed themselves on grasshoppers and grass etc while free ranging and got some grain (wheat, oats or barley) in the evenings and sometimes in the mornings when the bugs were not plentiful.

24/12/08   Smallest poult with bung eye died

29/12/08

One of the larger white poults died.  Began to look sleepy and lethargic few days ago with eating less, progressed to gasping and death.

4/1/09?

One white poult of Turkepi’s taken by eagle.

22/1/09

Brown poult dies after similar symptoms from the previous white one.  Do a post mortem and research and find that they had brooder pneumonia.  No treatment available but it is not contagious either.  Sadly Whitey seems to have it as well.

24/1/09

3 white poults of Turkepi’s killed by quoll overnight.  It managed to get into the gardens despite the electric fences.  Think we worked out where it is getting in and have made alterations to prevent a recurrence.

28/1/09?

Get brooder raised poults to mix with other turkeys and get them staying in the turkey house all together.

18/2/09

Whitey put down after weeks of brooder pneumonia and being unable to walk or stand.

2/3/09

One more poult dies after few weeks of similar symptoms to others.  Lungs again full of lesions, more throughout body cavity.

Currently 20 turkeys all hanging out together.

2 poults with Turkettic & Beauty

3 poults with Turkepi

12 brooder hatched poults

No further health problems.  Once they got beyond the tiny chick stage we lost a total of 4 poults to brooder pneumonia, 1 poult to an eagle and 3 to a quoll.

14/4/09 Slaughter and dress first young turkey.  Dressed weight 2kg.  Need longer to mature properly.

12/5/09  Slaughter and dress three more young gobblers.  Dressed weight ~ 2.75kg

10/6/09  Slaughter and dress last six young gobblers.  Dressed weights 2.8kg, 3.06kg, 3.09kg, 3.27kg, 3.31kg and 3.6kg.

Of the 3.6kg bird we got 970gm breast meat, 1190gm minced meat and 1.4kg carcass for dog food.

Give away 2 young white hens to friends.  Seven hens and Turkettic remaining.

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