To ensure a turkey for Christmas dinner set eggs during April. Turkey eggs take approximately 28 days to hatch (stop turning them on day 25 of incubation). When we stop turning the eggs, we increase the humidity to 60 to 70 percent. Due to longer incubation period to that of chickens, turkey eggs should be candled at 10 days. As with chicken eggs you are looking for ‘clears’ (unfertilised eggs should be discarded), ‘blood rings’ (infected eggs should be discarded), those with moving embryos. You may wish to candle again before ‘lock down’ (stop turning) to ensure your embryos are maturing.
Starving out” is a common problem with turkeys; they will literally starve to death right in front of a full feeder. Keep an eye open for the one that gets pushed away from the feed or water, or hangs back while the others are eating. Watch for any poults that are lagging behind as they start growing. I hatch some chicken eggs with the turkey eggs; the chicks will hatch about a week before the poults, this will allow for the size difference. When the poults hatch the chicks will be experienced with eating and drinking in the brooder, and the poults will follow them around and learn from the chicks. Remove the chicks as soon as the poults are eating and drinking well.
Overcrowding can also be a problem because turkey poults are twice as large as chicks and grow fast — they need plenty of room. Crowding makes it more likely for a poult to get pushed away from the feed and starve out. The smaller ones can also get trampled or smothered. Too many in a small area can make it more humid and cause respiratory problems.
After the poults are about 3 weeks old add clean, fresh sand to the brooder box. The sand is easy to clean: You can scoop it as you would cat litter, and it drains well so the area around the water will stay dry.
We also add a roost when the poults are about 3 weeks old. Getting the poults started roosting early will save you the trouble of trying to teach them later, and they will be warmer on the roost than on the ground. Don’t be tempted to raise the perch too high as turkeys will break their legs due to their weight if raised too high.
Use hanging and waterers this allows them to be height adjusted as the poults grow.
Turkeys need high protein feed in order to thrive.
As the poults grow, raise the heat source in the brooder and move the poults to a larger brooder as necessary. Allow the poults to tell you what temperature the brooder should be, too cold huddled together, too hot panting. The aim being, getting poults accustomed to the outside temperature. The colder it is outside the longer you will need to brood them.