Chicken Schooners on wheels
May 19, 2011

The story of Mrs. Turkey Hen - By Amy Warmke
If you have been following us on FaceBook, you all know, we lost our Tom Turkey to a coyote a couple of weeks ago.  Our turkey hen was so sad and was out all day a few days following, trying to find him.  She probably thought he ran out on her.  Anyway, our neighbor, Bo, called me one day to say that she was in his yard and did I know that.  I told him that if he was OK with it, she could stay, she was probably looking for the Tom Turkey and just didn't make it back to the chicken schooner at night.  He said he had no problem with that. 
So I just came to the conclusion that no more Mrs. Turkey hen and that hopefully the 2 turkey eggs I hatched out in the incubator would survive and we would raise their 2 offspring.  I also have another 8 of her eggs in the incubator right now, due to hatch in a week or two.
Well yesterday, two women came to the door and they said that the turkey hen laid a clutch of eggs on the side of the dirt road and she was laying on them.  (Gone broody is the expression)  They marked where she was on the road and since they take a walk down that road each day, they figured out she must belong with the chicken schooners.  I drove over and found her on the nest and she just hissed at me to leave her alone.  I wasn't about to argue...
Meanwhile I emailed Sam, my friend who raises turkeys, among other critters.  I asked her if she had a Tom for sale, or if she didn't, did she know someone who might.  I told her the situation and that I didn't think the eggs were fertile, since Old Tom had been gone for 2 weeks.  She wrote me back and said that they probably were fertile, since the hen stays fertile for up to 60 days after they mate.  Since the Tom and hen don't usually stay together all the time, they just meet up from time to time.  I was so excited!
So this morning, my plan was to move the 2 chicken schooners down close to where the nest was, she made by the dirt road, go and move her out of the nest, hoping she would go to the schooners.  (They have been too far away from her for the last few weeks)  Then transfer the eggs to a nest box in the schooner and pray she would go lay on them.
I did just that.  But she wouldn't go in the schooner, so I got in between the schooners, where she was, and the old nest- now destroyed and had no eggs.  She kept wanting to go to the old nest, but I kept backing her up and she hopped into the new schooner and I closed it up.  I went and got the eggs out of the other schooner and put them in the nest box in the schooner she was in.  After moving several chickens off the eggs, she finally went into the box and laid on her eggs!!!!!  I was so excited and she was still there this afternoon.  Wouldn't it be great if she hatched them all out?  After I close the schooners up tonight, I will move both closer to our house, for safety, since the coyote is still out there.
Well in the meantime, we got an invitation to Ansel Mead's Open House next door to celebrate her 99th birthday!  So Jim and I went for an hour today and Bo was there.  I told him the story and he seemed disappointed, because he got attached to having her around.  He even named her Frosty!  (You guessed it, she's white!) So I may give him a couple of the turkey poults to raise, since he was accommodating her staying on the property for a while.
So I will keep you posted on our new turkey family.
On a side note- As I was going to the Post Office this afternoon, I saw across the street in the pasture, an Old Tom Turkey, just spreading his feathers out, so I wonder if he heard her calls.  Maybe her grieving is over and she has a new boyfriend!....

Mrs Turkey Hen Feeding Tonight at new home
Back in her new nest safe inside the schooner