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Are You My Mother? Part 3 November 1, 2006

Posted by Laura in Farm.
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It’s been a few weeks since I posted the story of the lone turkey poult. I thought I would give an update.

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(Turkey poult, just a few days old).

 

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(Same turkey, at about 3 1/2 weeks old).

The dear little baby has done quite well. It’s grown quite a bit, is feathering out nicely, and is very vocal. It has blue eyes. Whenever it hears me come into the barn, it begins to trill and chirp. Now, when I take food in, I must be careful to only pull aside the scrap boards just barely enough to get my hand through. As soon as the cute yellow baby sees me, he tries with all his might to fly out through the hole I am peeking in. It insists it is too big to be in a crib now!

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We started some more chicken eggs in the incubator a little over a month ago. Since we had been able to get the turkey to hatch despite the chill outside when the eggs were abandoned, I was quite hopeful we would have a nice hatching of chicks. Boy, was I wrong! Only 5 ever made it out of the shell, and of those, only 2 have survived and they both have leg problems. And that was out of many dozen eggs!

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(Hatching is hard work. This little guy took nearly 24 hours to “pip.” Tap, tap, tap for several hours, then rest. Then back at it again. Kinda homely when they first emerge, huh?).

After the new chicks dried off and warmed up from their hatch, I took them down to the water trough (made into a brooder) that the turkey was in. Since the poult had new roommates, I released the other two, much older chicks to go back to the henhouse. Now that the turkey poult is nearly as big as they are, I’d like to let it out so it can learn how to forage and so on, but I’m going to wait until it’s fully feathered first. The nights are getting pretty cool. I’m not sure how it will make the transition from total captivity to total freedom, though. Maybe we will need to move a hen or two out of the original chicken tractor so that the turkey can be with the older ones of its kind.

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(Those two tiny-looking things are the only surviving chicks. One has toes curled under on one foot. The other limps badly. I’m not sure if they will be able to survive later when they have to compete for food or evade predators).

The other turkeys are quite big now. They probably need a tractor all their own now. I’d really like to let them free-range on our property, but I am too afraid they will be eaten by predators. (I was standing in the yard last week when another hawk swooped down and tried to make off with our little Frizzle hen. I went running across the yard as fast as my round, heavy, pregnant belly would allow, yelling and waving my arms. The hawk apparently hadn’t gotten a hold of anything but fluffy feathers because when it tried to pick her up and fly off, the banty was left behind and black feathers flew everywhere. She hid under the nesting boxes for about 2 days after that).psychofrizzle10-06.JPG

The turkeys are too big to be threatened by hawks, snakes, or opossums probably, but dogs and coyotes are another story.

There has been another twist in the turkey story, though. Back a month or two ago, I had posted this picture of “George” with “his” developing snood and wattle.

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Well, neither one ever got much bigger (just a tiny nubbin above the beak and slightly larger, redder throat skin). “George” never got the show-off tail feathers, a “beard” on his chest, or a “gobble” call either. More research told me that some females will exhibit these small versions of snood and wattle. So guess what- we seem to have Martha Washington and Betsy Ross! I’m hopeful that the lone turkey poult will turn out to be our “George” or we may STILL not have a breeding flock this year. (We have one final batch of turkey eggs in the incubator, but after the last hatch, I’m not holding my breath for a good outcome. Ironically, they are due to hatch on Thanksgiving Day 🙂 ).

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Comments»

1. Laurie - November 1, 2006

Aw, I have been hoping for an update on the Lone Turkey. Glad to hear he’s doing well. Sorry about the problems with hatching. Wish I had some pointers, but I’m clueless!

2. Linda - November 12, 2006

Hello – We had an incubator at one time. Hatched everything we could get our hands on. Ducks, turkeys, various chicks, guinea hens, quail. The fellow who gave it to us told us the most important thing was to mark an x on the top of each egg as it lay in the incubator and turn them at least once in every 24 hour period. Apparently it was a great incubator and most eggs were fertile – People began looking away if we approached with a small box with holes. lol. Good luck with yours.


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