Friday, March 28, 2014

our turkeys are hatching!

Sweetgrass turkey egg beginning to hatch!

It all starts with a "pip," a small hole near the fat end of the egg, made by the poult's egg tooth.

{A poult is a baby turkey.  A chick is a baby chicken}

From there the chick will continue to break holes along a line around the end of the egg, called "zipping."

Sweetgrass heritage turkey egg "zipped"

Once the break line has circled the egg, the poult will then start pushing the pieces of the shell apart.

Sweetgrass heritage poult hatching!

The whole process can take a long time, sometimes more than 24 hours from the time you see a "pip" until completely hatched out.  Hatching is hard work!

This year I sat on my hands and resisted the urge to take the first hatchlings out of the incubator and put them into their temporary brooder.

Almost hatched!I read that opening the incubator even once during a hatch can completely halt the hatching process due to the severe changes in temperature and humidity that occur when the incubator is opened.  Pipped eggs are especially sensitive to any sudden changes in environment.  The loss of humidity can be enough to make the membrane dry out and the poult will die before it can complete the hatching process.

Turkey eggs normally incubate for 28 days, but mine tend to start pipping on day 24 and hatching on day 25.  The vast majority of my eggs hatched on day 26 this year.  When we woke up Friday (day 27) 25 had hatched so far and two more were in progress.

Resting before the last move

Final count: 30 eggs, 1 removed at 2 weeks (not fertile); out of 29 fertile eggs, 28 hatched, one died, one did not hatch.  We opened it and it was fully mature.  We'll never know why that one didn't hatch.

But we're ecstatic with 27 new heritage turkey poults!  If we had purchased that many online the expense would have been close to $400 with shipping.  And since we already have 40 turkeys sold for this coming Thanksgiving, 27 is a good start.  We'll still need to purchase a few to round out the order.

Made it! Hello world!

Next year I'm thinking two incubators... or maybe Papa Bear can make one big one for me.

Cheers -
Gypsy Farmgirl writes about hatching heritage turkey eggs


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