How To Incubate Turkey Eggs

How To Incubate Turkey Eggs

Although it is frequently believed that incubating turkey eggs is more difficult than incubating broiler eggs, the fundamental idea behind success in both turkey and broiler hatcheries is the same. To fully comprehend what the embryo inside the egg is going through and to make sure that incubation is successful, it is imperative to continuously monitor the incubation process. In order to achieve outstanding hatchability and poult quality, this essay emphasizes four crucial factors that a turkey hatchery should regularly monitor.


There are some distinctions between broiler eggs and turkey. Incubation of turkey eggs typically takes 28 days as opposed to 21 days for broiler eggs. Second, turkey eggs are bigger than broiler eggs: While the weight of a broiler egg increases from 50 to 70 grams over the course of production, the weight of a turkey egg increases from 79 to 97 grams. Third, although the majority of turkey breeder flocks are artificially inseminated, the majority of broiler breeder flocks around the world are spontaneously mated. As a result, turkey eggs typically have increased fertility, especially near the conclusion of development.

The embryo’s experiences during incubation are always the starting point, even though there are species-specific aspects to take into account. To comprehend what the embryo inside the egg is going through and to guarantee successful incubation, a turkey hatchery should pay particular attention to four crucial factors. Each of these essential points is the subject of the subsequent sections.

Incubation Temperature For Turkey Eggs

Temperature, or more specifically, the temperature the embryo experiences inside the egg, is the most crucial factor in determining the success of incubation. The temperature inside a turkey egg, the temperature of the eggshell’s surface, and the temperature of the incubator air 10 mm away from the egg (i.e., the microenvironmental air) are all depicted in the graph below when turkey eggs are incubated at a constant machine temperature of 37.5°C:


Evaporative cooling causes the internal egg temperature to be a little lower than the microenvironmental air temperature for the first 11 days of incubation. Since the embryo is still small, its metabolism doesn’t generate much heat.

However, when the embryo begins to expand, it generates a greater amount of metabolic heat. The metabolic heat level exceeds the amount of heat lost through evaporative cooling at the midpoint of the incubation process. By the time incubation is complete, the internal egg temperature is around 0.5°C higher than the air temperature in the microenvironment.

Depending on the machine configuration and the airspeed over the egg, it is assumed that the difference between the internal egg temperature and the macro-environmental air temperature (i.e., the temperature measured close to the machine sensor and displayed on the incubator controller) is even greater than 0.5°C. It is crucial to regularly monitor and regulate the internal egg temperature to prevent overheating of the eggs and lower incubation results, especially during later phases of incubation when the temperature increases.

The temperature of the egg within is crucial. But how can this parameter be tracked? The graph’s key discovery is that the eggshell temperature closely tracks the interior temperature. In order to frugally estimate the interior temperature in commercial incubation, the eggshell temperature is frequently used. Most experts agree that the ideal eggshell temperature for incubation is close to 37.8°C (100°F) for both turkey and broiler eggs. Performance during incubation is put at risk when the eggshell temperature veers off the ideal range.


Temperature of a turkey egg incubated at a constant 37.5°C incubator air temperature; temperatures recorded inside the egg (white square), on the eggshell’s surface (black star), and at a distance of about 10 mm from the egg from the incubator.

The temperature of the eggshell can be checked in a number of ways. A common ear thermometer used to gauge body temperature can be used for spot inspections. The process will finally be interrupted and disturbed by taking the temperature readings. You can utilize data loggers with surface temperature probes for continuous monitoring without pausing the process. There are some additional factors to think about with this approach. The data loggers will aid in temperature recording and data visualization, but they won’t actively control the machine’s temperature control.

Incubator Humidity For Turkey Eggs

When eggs are incubated, they lose water. To create enough air cell space for the embryo to expand its lungs following internal pipping, this water loss is required. The amount of humidity in the air around the eggs affects how quickly they lose water and, as a result, weigh less. The rate of water loss decreases as humidity rises (weight loss). When eggs do not lose enough water, the air cell may wind up being too small. As a result, the embryo’s lungs cannot fully expand and the poult cannot get enough oxygen for the hatching process, which results in more embryos pipping but not hatching. Conversely, excessive water loss can result in embryo.

Studies have revealed that by day 25 of incubation, a turkey egg should have lost between 10 and 12% of its fresh egg weight in order to have the optimum hatch results. By weighing the trays at the time of set up and transfer and computing the percentage of water loss in accordance with the breeder’s recommendations, this may be kept an eye on.

Ventilation Process For Incubating Turkey Eggs

Controlling the incubation temperature and humidity requires proper ventilation. To provide the embryo with oxygen (O2) and allow the production of carbon dioxide (CO2) and evaporated water to escape, incubators must be appropriately ventilated. The cooling of the eggs in some types of incubators also depends on ventilation. The ventilation should be high enough to meet the embryo’s breathing needs. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to avoid breathing too much air. In comparison to the air within the machine, the fresh air brought in is often cooler and dryer. This means that as more air is introduced, it gets harder to maintain the necessary humidity and maintain a consistent internal temperature without local hot and cold areas.

Measuring CO2 levels inside the machine can be used to properly control the ventilation levels if ventilation is only needed to deliver O2 and remove CO2.

Incubation Time For Turkey Eggs

To give turkey poults the best start in life after hatching, the proper incubation period is crucial. Poults are frequently kept in the hatcher for too long in an effort to force each egg to hatch, which is a common problem. On farms, this may result in high mortality and inconsistent early growth. Understanding what to pay attention to can be crucial.

A strong clue for promptly spotting problems is the behavior of young turkeys during takeoff. You can anticipate seeing very noisy, active birds with minimal yolk reserve if the poults were kept in the hatcher for an excessively extended period of time. Due to dehydration, their legs are quite thin. The hatcher baskets also have a meconium stain that is a dark green color.

On the other hand, you can anticipate seeing placid, peaceful poults that can stand up if the incubation period is accurate. No poult is completely wet, but about 5% of them may have a wet nape (back of the neck). There are only a few meconium stains on the clean trash in the hatcher baskets.

In Summary – How To Incubate Turkey Eggs

Both broiler and turkey hatcheries must follow the same fundamental tenets in order to be successful. To fully comprehend what the embryo inside the egg is going through and to make sure that incubation is successful, it is imperative to continuously monitor the incubation process. The egg must instruct us as to what to do. To get the highest performance in our hatcheries, this is a crucial component.