Hatching Turkey Eggs with an Incubator
If you are a hobby farmer or want to have a 100% organic turkey for Christmas you can think about hatching turkey eggs with the help of an incubator. It is not unusual that turkeys have problems hatching their own eggs and an artificial helper can make your life much easier. Here is a quick guide on hatching turkey eggs successfully:
Where can I get fertilized turkey eggs?
If you happen to have your own turkeys you can certainly use the eggs they produce. However, most of us live in urban areas where getting a turkey egg can be a little tricky because even if you are lucky enough to find eggs in a supermarket, they are rarely fertilized and cannot be hatched.
Thus, you may have to make your way to a farm or a professional poultry breeding business where you can purchase fertilized turkey eggs. You may also find them online but it is not recommended to post eggs for obvious reasons.
Careful with the eggs!
Once you have eggs, you must be extremely careful with them as you can significantly reduce the amount of chickens. It is not recommended to put the eggs into the incubator right after they have been purchased because the temperature should be increased gradually, not at once. Ensure that the eggs are not older than 7 days before they are placed into the incubator.
Where do I put the incubator?
Hatching turkey eggs is a delicate process and the right location for the incubator is a room with a constant temperature between 70°F and 75°F. A temperature fluctuation can be fatal for the eggs and you should never place the incubator near windows as sunlight may significantly increase the temperature and kill all embryos.
Preparing the Incubator
Ensure that the incubator is clean and working before you place the eggs into it. Fill up the water accordingly and wait until the temperature inside the incubator has reached 98°F – 102°F. It is recommended to buy an incubator that has a temperature regulator so that you can always supervise and control it.
Make sure that the item is not faulty as a hole or bruise may cause a decrease in temperature. Only when all things are checked and the temperature is perfect should the eggs be placed into it.
Preparing the eggs
During the process of hatching turkey eggs you may need to introduce some movement, i.e. turn the eggs around once in a while. Thus, it is very useful to use a pencil and mark the eggs so that you know the original position. You need to turn the eggs at least three times a day to ensure that the embryo does not get stuck to the egg shell.
You must be extremely careful and turn the egg very gently. If possible you should turn the eggs more than three times a day and you can stop the turning after day number 17.
As mentioned above, the ideal temperature is between 98°F – 102°F and should be kept that way for the entire duration. While slight variations in temperature are insignificant (as long as they are within the ideal), too hot or too cold can be fatal disruptions in the process of hatching turkey eggs.
If it gets too hot the embryo will be damaged and a high temperature is usually more dangerous than a lower one. This is why it is very important to measure and observe the temperature at all times.
The embryos need oxygen to develop and air can get through the egg shell. Thus, hatching turkey eggs also means controlling the air allowance which has to be increased gradually. Your incubator should have special openings to let air through.
How long does it take?
Hatching turkey eggs takes a little longer than chicken and other popular types of poultry. While chicken need about 21 days, turkey eggs require approximately 28 days.
Hatching turkey eggs was successful when…
All eggs should have some bruises on the 19th day, and the chickens should be out of the shell on the 21st day. Keep them in the incubator until their fur has dried.
If a chicken is not out by day number 21 it has to be killed immediately as it is ill or too weak. You should not try to take it out of the egg or keep it alive as it will suffer needlessly.