Nature is amazing; the birth and growth of turkey poults prove my point.
Weeks before breeding, turkey hens find a protected place (on the ground) for their eggs.
After breeding, hens lay their eggs in that prepared nest. They usually lay one/day for a total of about 12 eggs (these are averages; there’s no hard rule).
The hens will feed before and after laying their eggs. If not sitting on the nest, she roosts nearby. If predators destroy the nest while she is feeding, the hen will breed again and lay her eggs in a new nesting area.
She occasionally turns the eggs and clucks to her eggs.
Incubation and Birthing
The incubation period is between 26 and 28 days and the hen stays on the nest. Two or 3 days before birth, the poult eggs start making noises. Mother hen clucks to them regularly.
The poult uses an egg tooth to start the egg opening process. He cracks the shell in a fairly even line around the larger end of the egg. This is hard work for the poult and he may take rest breaks before breaking free of the egg. His labors can take about 18 hours.
You can tell the difference between a naturally hatched clutch and a destroyed nest by observing the eggs. The neat chipping of the shell is very different from the ravaging mess predators make.
Within 24 hours of the end of the poult hatchings, they leave the nest for 2 reasons: they are hungry and they want to avoid predators.
Remember imprinting from high school biology? This is the process of social bonding that takes place now, so the poult recognizes his mother’s unique sounds and pitch.
Even if they mix with a variety of other turkey families, when Mother calls, her poults follow.
Next Time: More Wild Times With Poults!
They Sing, They Dance, They Talk! 😉 (Oops, I got a little carried away!)
This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com