Attempting to trick broody hen to accept three turkey poults

Discussion in 'Chickens & Poultry' started by neigy, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. neigy

    neigy New Member

    42
    Feb 18, 2016
    So far I think it's going well. I waited until it was dark and removed her from her nesting box she always stays in and put her in another area in a small plastic box with the front cut out and filled with wood shavings. I put her down where I wanted her in the new area and then placed the three new poults under her wings. One of them on the one side and the other two on the other side.

    One of the poults attempted to leave and stuck its head out of the feathers which momma hen didn't like and pecked the poult pretty hard. I don't know if this is a good or bad sign but it happened moments after I placed the poults under her wings; perhaps it takes a little bit for her to accept the new poults or not. I'm hoping they aren't pecked to death in the morning by the broody hen.

    Is there anything else I can do to help this succeed? I'm planning on getting up just before first light to monitor the whole thing and to see if she is accepting them or not to save the poults if she decides to reject them completely. I'd had to loose them.

    There is one other turkey that is 6 or 7 weeks old, while these poults are probably in their 2nd week of life.

    Again, any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated at this time.
     
  2. Steampunked

    Steampunked Active Member

    224
    Mar 23, 2015
    Australia
    Some broodies will peck their own chicks to death - I had one that would lovingly hatch every egg and execute every chick. Most distressing. An experienced broody tends to deal better and be a little less panicky when movement happens. Often it's just out and out confusion that does it.

    Try to get out there before first light to check for an hour or so as the light comes up and the broody gets a chance to go 'oh, hang on, I've got chicks'.

    If you have a very low ranking hen, a dirty trick is sometimes to show the broody the low ranker so she goes 'I'm going to peck YOU to protect the babies'. A bit rough, but chickens can be so mean.
     

  3. neigy

    neigy New Member

    42
    Feb 18, 2016
    So far so good. I got out there just as first light was hitting and observed her for 20 minutes. One of the poults would poke her head out and momma hen wouldn't attack her even though she could clearly see by this time of day. Now I'm just worried she will just lay there like she was doing for the past week and not move except maybe once to get some food and water or to poo.

    We'll see how it goes, but as far as I can tell it's going well. The poults made it through the cold night just fine!
     
  4. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Glad they are doing ok.
     
  5. ShireRidgeFarm

    ShireRidgeFarm Active Member

    807
    Sep 24, 2015
    Northern WV
    It's not really the greatest idea to mix turkeys and chickens - that's what I've always heard, anyway. Chickens can be carriers of blackhead disease, which will not effect them, but then will kill turkeys.

    That said, we successfully raised turkeys in the field directly beside our chickens. They didn't live together, but they were not in real isolation from each other.
     
  6. neigy

    neigy New Member

    42
    Feb 18, 2016
    I've considered the risk. But I'm not too worried. There will always be a risk/benefit for these sorts of things. I believe that the risk is quite low compared to the benefit. My runs are clean and maintained which will help to reduce the risk of either bird getting blackhead.
     
  7. neigy

    neigy New Member

    42
    Feb 18, 2016
    Has anyone dealt with a broody hen who has accepted the poults but seems unwilling to move from her nesting area to teach the poults how to forage, eat and drink?
     
  8. sassykat6181

    sassykat6181 Katrina

    Nov 28, 2012
    Anderson, SC
    How long has she been sitting? If it's not been 3 weeks, she will think she still needs to sit on the others.
     
  9. Greybird

    Greybird New Member

    415
    May 14, 2014
    Shelton, WA
    I don't want to sound too pessimistic, but I think you will be fighting an uphill battle to get your hen to adopt your turkey poults. The main reason is that your poults are too old to accept her as their mom. (They lose the ability to imprint at around 48 hours of age.)

    I'm somewhat surprised that she hasn't harmed them, but some hens are very tolerant. I have silkies, and most of them don't care what kinds of babies try to get underneath them, but a few of them will attack strange babies. In your case, the biggest problem will come from the poults, because they won't respond to the hen like she thinks they should. That will mark them as "wrong" in her mind, and it might lead her to try to kill them.
    To keep the poults safe, they should go to a brooder.
    As for mixing turkeys and chickens . . . I've had mine together for decades, but then I'm in an area where blackhead is rare to non-existent. Baby chicks actually benefit from being raised with baby turkeys since the turkeys can carry a minor disease that doesn't bother them but naturally immunizes the chicks against Marek's disease.
     
  10. neigy

    neigy New Member

    42
    Feb 18, 2016
    I'm happy to report that it seems that both the hen and the poults have accepted each other. The poults never stray far from momma and respond well to her noises and gentle peckings. She doesn't respond violently to the turkey poults pecking at her eyes or face, she seems to have read the bible and just turns the other cheek.

    The poults have now completely gone underneath momma now that it's getting dark and cold. They aren't venturing off and momma is keeping them warm and safe.

    She won't peck me even if I put my hand under her to grab a poult. But I took one of the older 6 or 7 week turkey near the momma hen and she pecked the turkey good to defend her new poults. This other older turkey had the opportunity to peck a small poult but did not.

    I don't know. Maybe I lucked out but all things seem to be going superbly
     
  11. luvmyherd

    luvmyherd Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2011
    NorCal
    Glad to hear it is going well. We have raised chickens and turkeys together without problems. It sounds like they have bonded well.
    In the 80's we let a broody hen hatch 3 peafowl. It was hilarious as she continued to tuck them under her wings at night when they were as big as she was.::p:
     
  12. Steampunked

    Steampunked Active Member

    224
    Mar 23, 2015
    Australia
    I had a (sadly missed) silkie called Candycorn. Candycorn was born on Halloween, a runt, even for a silkie, and all she wanted in her entire tiny life was to be a mother.

    A while later all the other hens hatched chicks, and Candycorn stole them all. At one point I saw her with seventeen chicks under her - but as the chicks grew, she was totally unable to fit them anywhere under her. She would end up surfing on a wave of babies half her own size.

    The others were already bored of their babies, but Candycorn was never happier than she was trying to shove yet another baby under her pathetically tiny wings.
     
  13. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    We must see a photo of the adorable broody with 3 adopted poults! Love when these things work out
     
  14. Lstein

    Lstein Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2014
    North Dakota
    Glad she accepted them! I did the same thing last year with a broody hen and some guinea keets, just took a little bit for everyone to adjust.
     
  15. Greybird

    Greybird New Member

    415
    May 14, 2014
    Shelton, WA
    I will keep my fingers crossed for you. This is one of those times when I would be very happy to be proven wrong!
     
  16. luvmyherd

    luvmyherd Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2011
    NorCal
    >>>She would end up surfing on a wave of babies half her own size.<<<
    :ROFL::lol::ROFL::lol::ROFL::lol::ROFL::lol::ROFL::lol::ROFL:
     
  17. neigy

    neigy New Member

    42
    Feb 18, 2016
    0627161830e.jpg

    I think she was in shock the first day and for that reason didn't leave her little nesting area [the white plastic tote with wood shavings] with her new babies. Now, momma and poults are having a blast learning and enjoying life!
     
  18. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

  19. luvmyherd

    luvmyherd Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2011
    NorCal
    Great pic. So happy for you and them.:hi5: