How to Hatch Fertile Turkey Eggs

Why Turkey Eggs Aren’t Sold In The Store

Turkey eggs are typically used for hatching poults, or baby turkeys. Therefore, hatching eggs of this type is more prudent than, say, selling them commercially as hens lay far more eggs per year. While the turkey only lays about 100 eggs during a timeframe of 30 weeks, hens lay as many as 300 eggs annually. As a result, it just makes more sense to produce hen eggs for consumption. Nevertheless, hatching eggs, such as turkey eggs, is no doubt appreciated by consumers when the poults develop into full-fledged turkeys, especially around the holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Preparing the Incubator

If you are interested in hatching eggs of this variety, it’s best to monitor the activity by using an incubator, particularly if you don’t plan to leave the all of the responsibility of hatching to the turkey hen. Before you even begin to use the device then, you’ll need to make sure it is hygienic for use and you’ve properly cleaned and sanitized it. After the incubator has been cleaned, heat the device for 24 hours before placement of any eggs. Add enough water to maintain the right level of moisture as well as two temperature gauges to monitor the temperature inside the device.

Pre-incubation Steps

Now you are ready to use the incubator. However, you still have a couple of key steps you’ll want to take to ensure hatchability. Take any warm eggs that have just been laid and clean up any accumulated dirt or residue on the shell with a clean cloth. Next, pre-store the eggs for at least 12 hours at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit (or 16 degrees Celsius). Pre-storing the turkey eggs before incubation is helpful as it makes the eggs more resilient to handling. In addition, before incubation begins, you’ll want to pre-heat the eggs for 12 hours as well. Warm the incubator to 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 22 degrees Celsius to ensure hatching.

The Incubation Period for Stored Eggs

Also, if you place your eggs in storage, you should add one hour for each day that the egg is stored. Therefore, when hatching eggs, the normal incubation period lasts 28 days. If the egg has been in storage, say, for two days, then the incubation period would last 28 days and two hours.

Incubating the Eggs

After you complete the preparatory steps, heat up the incubator to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.5 degrees on the Celsius scale. Place each egg in the incubator. Don’t try to adjust the incubator to a higher temperature if it falls below the above-stated temperature or you could find your eggs cooked instead of hatched. The temperature drop is natural as any cooler eggs introduced in the incubator will cause the air temperature to cool as well.

Turning the Eggs

During the incubation period, you should turn your turkey eggs around five times each day. Make sure you turn the eggs an odd number of times to ensure that the egg is not lying on the same side every night. Rotate each egg a full 180 degrees, washing your hands before turning them. Cleaning your hands is important as they contain oils that can penetrate the egg shell which can harm the baby turkey. So, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands before handling or turning the eggs. Stop turning the eggs about three days before they are due to hatch, or around day 24 of the 28-day incubation period. In addition, make sure that the humidity level during hatching is around 68 to 70 percent.

Patiently Waiting for the Poults to Hatch

Chicks may take take as long as ten hours to fully hatch and break out of their shells so, don’t try to speed up the process along by helping them as doing so may harm them. Wait for 8 to 12 hours before removing the poults from the incubator. By following the above steps, you will find hatching eggs of this variety can be a fun and rewarding process.

For more information on hatching turkey eggs, I recommend taking a look at this guide on HatchingEggs.net. They also provide links to places where you can buy fertile eggs online including turkeys along with other poultry such as chickens and quails.

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