Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brooding Turkeys

Our Naragansett hen has finally gone broody. She's sitting on about 5 eggs which should hatch in a little less than a month. She's been exhibiting some nest building behavior in recent weeks but she finally plopped down and began incubating in earnest about two days ago. If you approach her or the pasture shelter she puffs up like a balloon and hisses at you. I ignored her warnings last year to my peril and tried to reach under her to check on the eggs. I got pecked hard enough that she broke the skin. Dumb me! I've done it so many times with chickens that I was on autopilot and didn't take into account that I was dealing with a bird 4 times the size of a chicken.

If you look carefully in the picture you can just see her eggs beneath her at the right front.

This photo shows our two tom turkeys. Albuquerque (in front) is the older of the two and is the father of the one in the rear of the photo. The younger tom is the product of Albuquerque (a chocolate tom) and the Naragansett hen. It's our hope that he'll pair up with the chocolate hen in the background of the photo and raise some poults of his own.

This final photo is of Albuquerque. I love his blood-red wattles and combs. He's also growing a pretty significant beard. For those who don't know a turkey's beard is the little tuft of hair that grows out of his breast. Usually the older and more mature a tom is the longer the beard.

We'll follow up with the turkeys in a few weeks. Hopefully we'll have some new poults to introduce to you. It's so much easier raising turkeys when momma does all the work. If it's too cold she covers them up. If they need food, she shows them where to find it. Our hens co-mothered the last batch and did a pretty good job of it. Doting mothers!

Enjoy the photos.

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