I hadn't planned to incubate eggs, but thought it would be a good lesson for the kids and might be fun, so we set it up and I started reasearching. Two of the eggs were cracked, so we ended up putting in 20 turkey eggs.
Temps up and down, humidity not stable, turning the eggs 3-5 times a day. I began to feel like a slave to this big metal monster sitting on my dining room table.
Out of 20 eggs only ONE had movement! Over half were not even fertile and the rest had ceased development at different stages. I was actually surprised that even one was viable, really.
One, little, lonely egg.... soooo, I have a broody buff orpington who had been setting on golf balls for about 2 weeks or so. That night we stuck the turkey egg under her and removed the golf balls. She had originally had some nest confusion and would change nests, but had been consistently setting on the same nest of 4 golf balls for 3 days straight.
Next night when we went to lock up the chickens and gather the eggs, silly broody was sitting in another nest on a fresh egg. Thankfully we had been having very warm temps (100ish) during the day, so we stuck her back on the turkey egg, re-added 2 golf balls (thinking she had switched because there were 2 new eggs in the other nest).
Of course, it was no surprise when the next night she was again on a different nest, and so it went and became routine that every night we had to put her back on the turkey egg.
The last 3 days or so, however, we had cooled down a bit and only gotten up into the mid-90's during the day. This worried me because everything I read said the last 3 days of incubation are extremely important - so important you go into what is called "lock-down" and don't even open the incubator any more to turn the eggs.
Even if the little turkey had survived through everything I and the incubator put it through, there was surely no way it would survive a forgetful, nest-confused hen during this most critical time.
However, she wasn't getting off the nest until late afternoon, during the warmest part of the day, and we stuck her back on the egg in the evening and she would stay on it until the next afternoon.
So Tuesday night I got out to lock up the chickens a little late, and sure enough she was on another nest. I decided, as I bent down to pick her out of the wrong nest, that I was only going to do this a couple more times and then call it a good try, since the egg was due to hatch by the 18th (Wednesday).
As I was leaning down with my head close to the nests, I heard PEEPING from the correct nest! I quickly reached in and grabbed up the poult, it was too dark to see much in the hen house (no lights), so I took it outside and checked to make sure it was ok. I had our daughter run to get my husband and my son to get a dog crate. We put in some shavings, put it on the floor of the hen house and stuck the broody in.
Once she had settled (in just a few seconds), we stuck the poult under her.
She didn't cluck... she didn't peck at the poult... she didn't do anything. I debated for the rest of the night going back out and getting the little turkey and bringing it in the house, but what would I do with it? I have 29 chicks and 5 poults who are almost 3 weeks old in my house already, and I don't have another heat source. I thought about taking out the EcoGlo and rigging up a little brooder for the poult, but I was worried about raising it alone, with no other buddies - and I really didn't want to raise it, I wanted the hen to raise it.
I finally decided to wait and see. I would be totally surprised if the little thing was still alive in the morning.
We gave her some food and water, and checked on her periodically throught the day. Twice we saw the little turkey out from under her, but it would quickly go back under her as we were watching.
Last night, we went ahead and got the poult out so we could check it all over thoroughly... and take a picture :) Surprise!