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Turkey Sitting On Eggs

If you’ve ever wondered about turkeys sitting on eggs, you’re in for a fascinating journey! It’s a sight that might seem strange, but it’s actually a natural behavior for these magnificent birds. So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating phenomenon of turkey sitting on eggs together!

Picture this: a turkey mama, comfortably nestled on a clutch of eggs, diligently keeping them warm and protected. It’s like she’s playing the role of a dedicated guardian, ensuring the future generation of turkeys hatches successfully. But have you ever wondered why turkeys do this, and what goes on during this process? Well, get ready to uncover the secrets behind this peculiar behavior!

Grab your magnifying glass, because we’re about to take a closer look at the world of turkeys and their maternal instincts. From the reasons behind turkey nesting behavior to the incredible journey of egg incubation, we’ll explore it all. So, fasten your seatbelts, and get ready for an adventure into the fascinating world of turkeys sitting on eggs!

turkey sitting on eggs
Source: fineartamerica.com

Turkey Sitting on Eggs: A Fascinating Behavior of These Birds

Welcome to an exploration of the intriguing behavior of turkeys sitting on eggs! Turkeys are known for their iconic gobbling calls and impressive tail feathers, but their nesting habits are equally captivating. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this behavior, the process of incubation, and the significance of a turkey sitting on its eggs. Let’s uncover the wonders of nature as we learn about the fascinating world of turkeys and their remarkable nurturing instincts.

1) The Importance of Incubation for Turkey Eggs

When a turkey hen lays her eggs, she embarks on the crucial process of incubation to ensure the development and hatching of her offspring. The act of sitting on the eggs, also known as brooding, plays a vital role in this process. The turkey hen carefully tends to her clutch, providing the necessary warmth and protection for the eggs to mature. During this period, the hen’s body temperature rises to aid in proper embryo development. She will actively rotate and position the eggs to ensure even heat distribution and prevent the embryos from sticking to the shell walls.

Notably, the consistent warmth provided by the turkey hen’s body is essential for the eggs’ viability. The optimal incubation temperature falls around 99 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37-38 degrees Celsius). The turkey hen’s body, with its specialized heat-emitting feathers, serves as a natural incubator, maintaining the eggs at the appropriate temperature. This nurturing behavior showcases the turkey’s remarkable adaptation to ensure the survival of its offspring.

It is worth noting that turkey eggs have a relatively long incubation period compared to other bird species. Typically, turkey eggs take around 28 days to hatch. Throughout this period, the diligent turkey hen remains committed to her responsibilities, rarely leaving the nest and relying on stored energy reserves. The dedication and perseverance demonstrated by these birds during incubation are truly awe-inspiring.

2) Understanding the Behavior of Turkey Hens During Incubation

When a turkey hen begins the incubation process, she displays noteworthy changes in her behavior and physical characteristics. The hormonal changes that occur trigger various adaptations to ensure the successful development of the eggs. One significant change is the enlargement of the hen’s brood patch, a featherless area on her abdomen. This patch allows direct contact between the hen’s warm skin and the eggs, maximizing heat transfer.

During the incubation period, the turkey hen exhibits exceptional attentiveness and dedication. She will sit on the eggs for most of the day, leaving only briefly to eat, drink, and eliminate waste. Even during these short intervals, the hen remains cautious and vigilant, constantly scanning her surroundings for potential threats. Her protective instincts are heightened during this time, as she perceives any disturbance as a potential danger to her unhatched brood. If approached or threatened, the turkey hen may vocalize loudly and even engage in aggressive behavior to defend her nest.

The turkey hen’s commitment to incubation extends beyond the mere act of sitting on the eggs. She also performs important tasks such as nest maintenance, which involves removing any debris or broken shells from the nest. This helps maintain a clean and healthy environment for the developing embryos. Additionally, the hen will frequently rotate the eggs, ensuring optimal oxygen availability for the growing embryos. These tireless efforts exemplify the boundless dedication of turkey hens in nurturing their eggs.

3) The Significance of a Turkey Sitting on Its Eggs

The behavior of a turkey sitting on its eggs serves multiple purposes that contribute to the survival and success of the offspring. First and foremost, the turkey hen’s constant presence and warmth are vital for the eggs’ development. The stable incubation temperature provided by the hen’s body ensures proper embryo growth and reduces the risk of failed or underdeveloped eggs.

Furthermore, the act of a turkey sitting on its eggs acts as a deterrent to potential predators. By remaining on the nest, the hen covers the eggs, making them less visible and less accessible to predators such as raccoons, snakes, and other carnivores. The hen’s size, along with her protective behavior and occasional display of aggression, serves as an effective defense mechanism. This protective behavior maximizes the chances of survival for the eggs and increases the overall reproductive success of the turkey population.

Additionally, the turkey hen’s careful and dedicated incubation behavior allows for efficient resource utilization. By minimizing her time away from the nest, she conserves energy and reduces the risk of the eggs cooling down or becoming vulnerable to predators. The hen’s reliance on stored energy reserves further highlights her adaptability and resourcefulness in ensuring the well-being of her brood.

Egg Hatching and Raising the Young Ones: A Challenging Journey

Now that we’ve explored the captivating behavior of turkeys sitting on eggs, let’s delve into the next phase of their journey: egg hatching and raising the young ones. Turkey eggs hatch after approximately 28 days of incubation, which is a critical period for both the turkey hen and the emerging poults. In this section, we will unravel the process and challenges involved in hatching eggs, as well as the subsequent stages of raising the young turkeys.

4) The Anticipation of Hatching: From Pipping to Emerging

As the incubation period nears its end, the turkey embryos within the eggs undergo significant changes in preparation for hatching. Approximately one to two days before hatch, the poults begin to emerge from their shells, a process known as pipping. Pipping involves the poult making a small hole, or pip, in the eggshell with its egg tooth—the small, hard projection on the bird’s beak.

Once the initial pip is made, the poult will rest and gather strength before fully emerging from the shell. The process can take several hours as the poult meticulously cracks and breaks the shell away, aided by its instinctual peeping sounds to communicate with its siblings and the turkey hen. This extraordinary feat of breaking free symbolizes the beginning of a new life and the start of the turkey’s journey outside the confines of the egg.

After successfully freeing itself from the shell, the poult will typically rest for a short while, adjusting to its newfound freedom and allowing its down feathers to dry. This stage is crucial for the poult’s physical development, as it needs to strengthen its muscles, fluff up its feathers, and prepare for the exciting adventures that lie ahead.

5) Raising the Poults: Challenges and Protective Instincts

Once the poults have hatched, they rely on the turkey hen for warmth, protection, and guidance. The turkey hen plays a crucial role in raising the young ones, providing them with food, warmth, shelter, and teaching them important survival skills. However, raising poults comes with its fair share of challenges, and the turkey hen must navigate them to ensure the well-being and survival of her brood.

One of the primary challenges faced by the turkey hen and her poults is predation. Young turkeys are highly vulnerable to predators and must rely on their mother’s vigilance and defensive instincts. The hen will carefully watch over her poults, alerting them to potential dangers and guiding them to safety. She may use vocalizations or display aggressive behavior to ward off predators and protect her vulnerable offspring.

Addtionally, the turkey hen faces the task of guiding her poults in finding food and water. Through her own knowledge and experience, she leads them to suitable feeding areas and teaches them to forage for insects, seeds, berries, and other food sources. The hen also imparts valuable lessons on the importance of staying close together as a group to provide collective protection against predators.

Turkey Sitting on Eggs: A Wonder of Nature

The behavior of a turkey sitting on its eggs exemplifies the remarkable adaptations and nurturing instincts of these birds. From the crucial role of incubation to the challenges faced during hatching and raising young poults, turkeys offer fascinating insights into the wonders of nature. As we reflect on this remarkable behavior, let us appreciate the dedication and perseverance of turkey hens in ensuring the survival of their offspring. Witnessing a turkey sitting on its eggs is not just a glimpse into the life cycle of a bird; it is a celebration of the profound beauty and intricacies found in the natural world.

Key Takeaways: Turkey Sitting on Eggs

  • A turkey sitting on eggs is a common behavior observed among female turkeys, known as hens.
  • Hens sit on their eggs to keep them warm and to ensure the successful hatching of the eggs.
  • This process is called incubation, and it typically takes around 28 days for turkey eggs to hatch.
  • During incubation, the hen rarely leaves the nest, only doing so briefly to eat, drink, and relieve herself.
  • It is important to provide a quiet and secure environment for the turkey hen during this period to avoid any disturbance or stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQ section about turkeys sitting on eggs! Below, you’ll find answers to common questions about this intriguing behavior.

1. Why do turkeys sit on eggs?

Turkeys sit on eggs to keep them warm and protect them. This is a natural behavior known as incubation. By sitting on the eggs, the turkey provides the necessary warmth for them to develop and hatch successfully. Additionally, the turkey’s body shields the eggs from potential predators.

It’s important to note that not all turkeys will engage in this behavior. Typically, it’s the female turkeys, known as hens, who sit on the eggs while the males, called toms, stay nearby to guard and defend the nest.

2. How long do turkeys sit on their eggs?

The incubation period for turkey eggs is approximately 28 days. During this time, the female turkey will faithfully sit on the eggs, rarely leaving the nest. She will rotate the eggs regularly to ensure even heat distribution for proper development. The hen’s dedication is remarkable, as she will forgo eating and drinking for extended periods to protect and nurture her clutch.

Once the eggs are ready to hatch, the poults (baby turkeys) will break out of their shells and join their mother, often in a coordinated effort. It’s fascinating to witness this bonding process!

3. Can turkeys sit on eggs that are not their own?

Yes, turkeys are known to exhibit the behavior of “broodiness.” This means they may sit on and care for eggs that are not their own. It can happen when a turkey senses the absence of other parents or nests nearby. The hormonal changes trigger her instinct to nurture and protect, leading her to adopt the eggs and raise the poults as her own.

This fascinating behavior is not exclusive to turkeys but can be observed in other bird species as well, such as chickens.

4. How many eggs does a turkey lay before sitting on them?

A turkey hen will typically lay one egg per day and often continue laying eggs for several weeks before deciding to sit on them and begin incubation. The total number of eggs in a turkey clutch can vary depending on the hen’s age, health, and environmental factors. On average, a turkey clutch can consist of 8 to 15 eggs.

It’s important to note that not all eggs laid by a turkey will be viable. Some may not be fertilized, while others may not develop properly. The hen will inspect and select only the suitable eggs for incubation.

5. Where do turkeys build their nests?

Turkeys prefer to build their nests on the ground, usually in hidden or secluded areas to protect them from predators. The nests are typically constructed using leaves, grass, and other natural materials to create a shallow depression. The hen will line the nest with soft feathers to provide insulation and comfort for the eggs.

Oftentimes, turkeys will choose a spot near the edge of a field or in a dense thicket to build their nests. They rely on their natural camouflaging abilities to keep the nest hidden and prevent it from being easily detected.

turkey sitting on eggs 2

Source: ytimg.com

This is how I convince a chicken/turkey to sit on eggs that is not hers and in a strange location.


So remember, when a turkey sits on eggs, it’s called incubation. During this time, the turkey protects the eggs and keeps them warm. This process is crucial for the eggs to develop and hatch into baby turkeys. It takes patience and care from the turkey to successfully hatch the eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the turkey will continue to look after and care for their chicks until they can survive on their own. So next time you see a turkey sitting on eggs, you’ll know what they’re doing and why it’s so important.

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