Friday, 18 June 2010
Fostering poults onto a broody
Against all the odds all the turkey eggs hatched and just in the nick of time a hen went broody. Not any hen but my tried and trusted Speckled Sussex.( Not to be confused with the other Speckled Sussex who was the original broody for this clutch of eggs, but who decided the prospect of motherhood was too daunting and abandoned the eggs with 16 days to go.)
Fostering the poults would be the ideal outcome for all involved, my only concern was the hen had only gone broody on the Tuesday, the eggs started to hatch on the Wednesday. I feared it might be too soon for her to accept them, but I had nothing to loose.
We brought the hen home and settled her in the poultry shed on a couple of china eggs. On Thursday morning we placed the three eldest poults under her. Keeping them as quiet as possible and hidden in our hands we sneaked them in from the back. She immediately snuggled them in, growling a warning to us that she had chicks and we were intruding.
I didn't remove the china eggs as I was hoping she would sit tight until the other eggs in the incubator hatched
I left her in peace for a very long half hour and then went to check all was well, convinced I would find three tiny dead bodies. Instead in the poultry shed was one very proud mother hen. A couple of hours later I added another poult and finally in the evening the last two to hatch. She accepted them all, with the now familiar ruffle of feathers and the 'go away' growl. After placing the last two poults under her I removed the china eggs in the hope that she would now tend to her brood rather than continue to sit.
This morning she is still brooding them but was tempted to leave the nest for a feed, giving me the opportunity to see 6 very alive and bright turkey poults.
I can't believe we have 'got away with it', but turkeys being turkeys anything can happen between now and Christmas.