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Author Topic: How do turkeys lay eggs?  (Read 4917 times)

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
How do turkeys lay eggs?
« on: October 03, 2015, 10:56:40 am »
I am fancying breeding turkeys next year and was trying to find some info on the when their breeding season is?


Do they lay regularly like chickens or tend to build up and hatch a couple of clutches a year?


When is the best time to find POL turkeys for sale or do I have to wait for the fattening poults in June?


When do people put their breeding pens together? Or do they just leave them to it like peacocks?






Any info on their breeding habits and requirements appreciated please?

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: How do turkeys lay eggs?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2015, 11:01:58 am »
Commercial breeds have to use AI because the birds have been bred with such wide breasts the stags are unable to mate naturally. Heritage breeds are just fine.  I breed Narragansetts and run the stags with their group of breeding hens all year.  The hens will start laying around the end of March and continue until they go broody or around mid July.  Young hens will lay 5 to 6 eggs a week, older birds maybe 3 or 4.  The hens mostly do go broody - incubation period is 27 to 28 days. 

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
Re: How do turkeys lay eggs?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2015, 12:05:17 pm »
Thanks Marches,


   how many hens do you run with one stag? Do they stop laying in winter or do they just lose a bit of fertility? When would be a good time to buy in eggs?


Why did you chose Narragansetts?




Clansman

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Ayrshire
Re: How do turkeys lay eggs?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2015, 02:39:49 pm »
They'll lay right through the year if they get enough light, my birds kept outside on natural light have been stopped for a couple of months now but I have some getting additional artificial lighting laying great.

I keep commercial strains and if you breed regularly the young stags will breed ok probably from 5-8 months of age, after that they're really getting too heavy unless you restrict their feeding and keep them a bit lighter.

My hens will be around 24 weeks old at Christmas and I often get a few eggs off them just prior to Christmas time when they've been reared with extra lighting, so around 5 months of age

Artificial insemination is not as daunting as it seems though, its fairly easy to pick up and once you're practised its quite a quick job.

Their natural breeding season will be Spring/Summer but my local farm had a (presumed lost) heritage bronze hen wander home with some month old poults on January 2nd this year!! 

Mine are kept pretty much 50/50 males and females, as long as the males are reared together I never get much bother although I do fit saddles to the hens to protect them from mating damage with the larger stags.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: How do turkeys lay eggs?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2015, 03:05:31 pm »
Thanks Marches,
   how many hens do you run with one stag? Do they stop laying in winter or do they just lose a bit of fertility? When would be a good time to buy in eggs?
Why did you chose Narragansetts?
I run between four and six hens with a stag.  Mine stop laying by August and don't start until the following Spring.  I don't give them extra light to keep them laying as I breed mostly for conservation purposes and, allowed to follow a natural life cycle, they'll live for many years - egg laying and fertility decline a bit each year but if the birds live for many years you know you have robust stock. 

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: How do turkeys lay eggs?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2015, 03:10:12 pm »
Forgot to add that I chose Narragansetts because they're spectacular birds - a 15kg mature stag displaying to his wives is a truly memorable sight, not least for the folks who stay in our farm holiday cottage who've only ever seen a turkey shrink-wrapped in the supermarket chiller cabinet.  They're also very laid back (never need to use a saddle on the hens) and excellent mothers - they don't "drift" their poults like hens do with chicks and I often keep poults with their Mamas until the next breeding season begins.

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
Re: How do turkeys lay eggs?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2015, 07:30:23 pm »
Sounds like they are the same as chickens then. I'm not really sure why its so hard to find info on turkeys or why peoples opinion of them seems to be that they are a difficult bird to raise. :thinking:

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: How do turkeys lay eggs?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2015, 10:07:51 am »
I think you perhaps need to differentiate between heritage and traditional turkeys.  I did a report this year on ours for a German farmer trying to find a breed that could cope with being reared organically outdoors in the Black Forest (answer - yes).  We've found turkeys get to maturity on 40% less feed than a chicken, have a better temperament (not yet encountered any feather pecking - disputes are generally settled with ten minutes of hissing and neck entwining) and make excellent broodies.  We've been breeding them for six years and not yet had one die from disease or had to cull. 

devonlady

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: How do turkeys lay eggs?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2015, 03:25:37 pm »
Do you sell hatching eggs? If so, will you pm me next spring. I used to keep Bronze years ago and found them to be a joy!

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: How do turkeys lay eggs?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2015, 04:00:52 pm »
Yes, I do.   I only make them available once I've had a successful hatch from that particular breeding group, so generally around end April/early May.  I'll make a note in the diary.

devonlady

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: How do turkeys lay eggs?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2015, 09:04:24 am »
Thank you.

 

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