Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Four Poults Disappeared

My great little Broad Breasted Turkey, in spite of all doubts, was able to sit an amazingly large batch of eggs. Twelve turkey eggs and two adopted chicken eggs. Broad Breasted Turkeys are suppose to be very prone to crushing eggs from their size. One egg did end up being crushed but we think that may have been caused by a kid going in her coop. We gave her one of the Papa turkeys eggs in replacement. So after more then 28 days of sitting 14 eggs, with none of them crushed, this is what we have found so far.

Yesterday when giving her food and water we found two empty clean egg shells. The shells being clean inside is very significant. That means that the birds that hatched out were properly mature, if they were not their would have been egg goo surrounding the birds and in the shells. Anxious to investigate further, I did go ahead and shoo Mama turkey off her nest, something I don't like to do. What we found was very disappointing. No poults, and she was down four eggs.

I cant believe that after 28 plus days of not crushing eggs that she happened to crush and eat 4 of her eggs in one day. Based on the evidence we know at least two poults hatched out clean. I would suspect all 4 of the poults either hatched or were in the process of hatching when found by a predator. Our cat Cali is greatly under suspicion. I can imagine that a hatching or newly hatched poult is very vulnerable to predators.

We were all very discouraged and upset. Four of our long awaited poults disappeared. I candled her remaining eggs. Four turkey eggs look like they will hatch soon. The two adopted chicken eggs also look almost ready to hatch. The remaining four Turkey eggs look very low in development, like they have only been sat for a week or more. These eggs don't have any blood spots or blood rings inside, so there is still some hope, that maybe they will grow, but I am very doubtful. After the ready chicks and poults hatch I will candle them and watch them very closely for any development, if the eggs do not show any advancement in development then I will let her continue to sit them.

Yesterday we retrofitted her house to make it predator proof. It took us more then an hour. All the while she sat on her nest while we worked around her. At times we lifted the house off of here and turned and twisted it to work on it. She still sat on her nest like a good little mother. I do believe she knew we were helping. She looked unstressed for the most part. She ate the green grass she could reach when the home was off, preened her feathers, and even slept while we worked. The drill made her nervous and other occasional bangs did also, but she still sat calmly on her nest.

I slept well last night knowing her and her eggs were well protected from predators. I am hopeful that the rest of the poults and chicks will be healthy. When I get to see a poult I will post pictures.