Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Turkey poults have hatched (sort of)

 Well I have learned a new term. Baby turkey are called poults! And we had 3 hatch, with assistance this morning!
Unfortunately we were a little late for the fourth. I know many people do not believe in helping their hatchlings, but I hate seeing perfectly healthy and formed young fail at the final hurdle. After all we are interfering already, by incubating. And given our problems during incubation, with the weather affecting the temperature, as well as knocking out the power. We had already lost enough, these guys had made it this far.
All the turkey eggs were 28 days yesterday, and all were tapping away. So we had high hopes, but were becoming tentatively concerned. By the time we returned home from work, one had chipped through, with the smallest crack and whole, another had stopped tapping. So we took the decision to help them out. After all, have you ever tried to crack a turkey egg. Most people wouldn't have, as they are considered too expense to eat; due to their worth as young. But let me tell you, their shells are quite difficult to break, so I can only imagine how exhausted these little guys must be.

Now do not get me wrong, assisting a hatchling is a final attempt. As it in itself has risks. The birds are surrounded by a membrane, connected to their umbilical cord- much like any other young. And breaking this on accident, can cause the bird to bleed out. So absolute care is required. Generally I attempt to pick the shell away, pierce the outer membrane with the shell and peel back, just enough for it to breath.
So whilst it was far too late for the fourth, three made it the rest of the way out this morning and clumsily, clambering around the incubator... they appeared to be doing well. (Fingers crossed)   

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