Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Turkey Named Jeffery

Jared bought some turkeys last year to breed. We have one tom and 3 hens. They started laying eggs this spring so it was time to start incubating them. We collected about 10 of them and put them in. Every day you have to turn the eggs at least 3 to 7 times, plus make sure the temperature doesn't fall below around 100' and that there's enough water in the bottom so it's humid in there. Needless to say you can't forget about these eggs. Well, we kinda did. We have the incubator downstairs this time so no one bumps it but it's like they say, out of sight, out of mind. Sometimes we were lucky to turn the eggs three times, but usually it was twice.
After two weeks we candled them and saw we had five fertile eggs. Two weeks to go until they should hatch. Well, it got worse from there. Not only were we forgetting to always turn them, they ran out of water for a day or two, the lid was partially off so the temperature went down, and Jared was having the boys turn the eggs; mainly Cody. That doesn't seem all bad except they aren't the most careful with them and any little rough movement or drop can kill these babies. We thought for sure we'd killed them, so we didn't expect anything and didn't do anything the last 3 days where you are supposed to increase the humidity and leave the eggs alone.
Jared was working downstairs on the computer almost two weeks ago when he heard something. It was a baby turkey that had just hatched. He was walking around in the incubator and his egg was making tiny sounds. Jared came running upstairs and said "Well, there's a turkey downstairs." Took me a minute, then it dawned on me. I couldn't believe it. I grabbed my camera and ran for a picture. 
Jared got a box, hay, food and water and the heat lamp before we took him out.
Here he is in the incubator walking around. He was still a bit wet, and because we didn't always have the water in there and didn't increase the humidity, the shell was kinda stuck to him. Oops! Jared could just pull it off though.

When Jared took the cover off I snapped this picture really fast. He tried to hurry as fast as he could but that little turkey darted right off the incubator and onto the cement floor right after I snapped this. Thought he would have died from that.

Nope. He's ok. Phew!

His new home for the next  to 8 weeks. We didn't expect him to live. Birds don't do well unless their in groups. Turns out he's the only one that survived. No other turkeys hatched from this batch. (Still can't believe he even made it.)

The boys were so excited to hear the news. Our first turkey we've ever hatched and we did a horrible job this time of incubating. Cody named him Jeffery after the turkey on Charlotte's Web. Cody takes care of him every day and loves him so much. And to this day, he's still alive and kicking. He's the toughest turkey I've seen. If he can withstand all that before he was born, then falling onto cement, and still be alive, we've got a good chance he's going to be around for a while. (At least 'til thanksgiving.)

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