Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Turkey hatch milestone

Set the first whole tray of turkeys to hatch today. I usually get a 90% hatch rate, which means I'll probably get 30 turkeys poults out of this batch.
If you click on the picture for a bigger version, you'll see a date that's on each egg. This date is the date that the egg should be moved from the rotation area of the incubator into the hatching portion. Rotating the eggs a little each hour makes sure that the chick or poult doesn't stick to the inside of the egg. Removing the egg from rotation means that the chick can orient itself and peck a hole in the top of the egg.
The settings we use are 100.5 degrees F, 68% humidity for all eggs - chicken and turkey and bantam. Chickens get 18 days of rotation and hatch on day 21. Turkeys get 20 days of rotation and hatch on day 23.
To make life easier I set hatches in batches the size of a tray. So I'll collect eggs until I've got 36, and then set a whole tray at once. Fertile eggs will actually keep pretty well at room temperatures; I've held them as long as 10 days and still gotten good hatches. But optimally you're setting them the same day you're collecting them, but I just don't have that many right now.
After the majority of the eggs have hatched we look at the ones that didn't -- sometimes the chick is stuck to the egg and a little careful work with some warm water to soak off the shell will save the chick. Other chicks just get close, but don't actually hatch.
If your humidity isn't high enough you'll dry the eggs out and the chicks cannot escape the egg. So watch for a hatch where you get a little beak hole but the chick doesn't get any farther. That's a sign of low humidity.

This is the full hatch I set today. One batch of chicken eggs, one of turkey, and one mixed tray.

Just a note: If you buy heritage breed poults from a hatchery they're $9 each, which is valuing a dozen turkey eggs at around $90, figuring some incubation loss. So one way to figure it is that the tray of turkey eggs I set there are worth $270, and an incubator full of turkeys is worth $1620!


Harp Turkey Ranch said...

Hi I bought a few turks from you this winter.

Any how I wanted let you know that your incubators are not set up corectly to hatch out turkeys.

Temp - 99.5
Humidity - 40%
Time - 25 days incubating 28th day hatch

You are getting such an early hatch by your high temps, not good on the poults in the long run.

If they are pipping and not hatching, it is because your high humidity the egg is not evaporating enough and they actually drown before they can break the membrane for air.

You wanna hatch them with 60-70% humidity

I have hatched out thousands of poults and chicks. So I'm not trying to put you down, just giving you the heads up.

Bruce King said...

I checked the incubators, and I think you're right about the temp. We're at 99.5, not 100.5, but the humidity is about right. At lower humidity I've had problems with poults sticking to the egg; at 60% we get a good hatch.
I've hatched about a thousand chickens so far this year, and have a thousand or so turkey eggs incubating now.