Turkeys are farmed for their meat. They are more difficult to breed and incubate than chickens. Hatching of turkey eggs is similar to hatching of duck eggs. The incubation period for turkey eggs is 28 days . Hatching requires the turkey eggs to be kept under certain conditions – temperature, humidity, air flow, etc during the incubation period. This article contains practical procedures for successful incubation and hatching of turkey eggs. This post will be updated from time-to-time when there are significant updates to the technology.
Temperature for hatching of turkey eggs
When it comes to egg hatching, temperature is the most important factor. It needs to be constant and equally distributed around the fertilized eggs. Egg shell temperature should be a constant 100°F until day 20, when it may reach 101.0°F. In a small incubator use a set point of 99.5°F.
Remember that the turkey egg is bigger than the chicken egg and it produces more metabolic heat. In a big setter machine you can use the following incubation program:
Day 1-4 = 100 °F ; day 5-10 = 99.6 °F ; day 11-14 = 99.5° F ; day 15-18 = 99.3°F ; day 19-21 = 99.2°F ; day 22-28 = 99.0°F
Humidity settings for hatching of turkey eggs
A relative humidity of 53% should be maintained during incubation and hatching of turkeys. During pipping this level may rise. Expected weight loss of the egg on day 25 is 13%. You should be able to achieve that when incubating at correct humidity and temperature levels.
Ventilation for hatching of turkey eggs
The fertilized eggs of the turkey tolerate higher concentrations of CO2. Normally during incubation period of turkeys CO2 levels are in the 0.05-2.00% range. You can use a portable carbon dioxin meter. This one here is state of the art: Extech CO250 Portable Indoor Air Quality CO2 Meter/Datalogger
You should use the following air inlet settings to keep a good flow of oxygen for the growing turkey embryo. Closed air inlet we shell call 0% opening and fully open air inlet is 100% opening. Open the air inlet as follows:
day 0-3 = 0% ; day 4 – 6 = 10% ; day 6-8 = 20% ; day 8-12 = 25% ; day 12-14 = 30% ; day 14-16 = 40%; day 16-18 = 50% ; day 18-20 = 50% ; day 20 – till hatching = 75%.
Never to forget when egg hatching
Turning of the eggs! Minimum 1 turn on 45 degrees every 4 hours. Please review our hatching of chicken eggs article.
Egg transfer! If you are using egg trays for incubation – these are not good for hatching of the chicks. Turkey eggs should be transferred into hatching baskets in the middle of day 25 or early on day 26. The basket for hatching should be as open as possible to allow good air flow around the eggs. Hatcher baskets need to be washed and disinfected after each use in the incubator. Please review our egg hatching guidelines article.