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Jackie Clay

Our turkey hens have new nest boxes

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Last year we had trouble with hatching turkey poults. Too many hens would try laying and sitting in the same nest box; eggs would get broken and the eggs would chill and no babies were hatched. So this year, we decided to make a nest box for each turkey hen. We have five hens, so on a rainy, cold day, Will started measuring and cutting 2x2s and scraps of OSB to size. A friend of ours had given us some small sheets of corrugated steel roofing she’d found at the dump, thinking we might find some use for it. She was so right! After about three hours of assembly, Will and I had put together some real cute and weather-proof turkey “hooches.” We separated our pair of Bourbon Red turkeys and will soon catch our other turkeys and put them in the goat pasture. The new nests are now down there, covered with branches like little wigwams. Now each hen will have her own nest. If two want the same one, we’ll block one out until she decides to choose another for herself. And hopefully, this year we’ll be having some cute baby turkeys.

This spring and summer is going to be busy for us. On April 21st, Will and I will be manning the Backwoods Home Magazine booth at the Iron Range Earth Fest in Mountain Iron, Minnesota. Then I’ll be flying to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the Preparedness Expo May 18 and 19th, where I’ll join a panel discussion and also hang out at the magazine’s booth with Dave and the bunch. The very next weekend, Will and I will be hosting our first homestead seminar here at our homestead, with a second seminar being scheduled July 13-15th. I’m putting together a flyer on that seminar, so anyone who would like more information, e-mail me at Again, we’re limiting the attendance so everyone will have a personal experience and not be just one of the crowd. Oh, on June 15 and 16th, we’ll join Ilene Duffy and the boys at the MREA Fair in Custer, Wisconsin. If you get a chance to attend any or all of these events, we’ll be happy to meet you (and sign books, if you’d like).

11 Responses to “Our turkey hens have new nest boxes”

  1. Sue Corbin Says:

    Ah, yes. People who understand the real world. No attitude of, “Eww, it’s dirty/messy.” Building turkey nest boxes IN THE HOUSE.

  2. Nancy Says:

    Jackie-LOVE the boxes. But —in your living room! Poor husband needs a work shed! LOL

  3. Michelle Says:

    Great idea…love the hooches! i hope it works for you! I could never get our turkeys to raise a clutch so we ate them. The male just got too mean to get near. these were adopted wild turkeys we raised from chicks (ran over a nest with a mower) so maybe domestic turkeys are easier.

  4. Carol Elkins Says:

    Hi Jackie,

    I’m the gal that indexed your cookbook for Backwoods Home. I live in Pueblo, CO, an hour south of Colorado Springs. I’ll make a point to come see you at the Self-Reliance Expo once I know for sure what the schedule is. Also, you and Will are welcome to my guestroom while you’re here.

    Carol Elkins

  5. Danielle Says:

    Hi Jackie.

    Huge fan! I was wondering, do they ever do any seminars in Michigan??


  6. jackie clay Says:

    Carol Elkins,

    Thanks for the invite, but they’ve already made reservations for me. Poor Will can’t come this time but he will be coming with me to the MREA Fair in Custer, WI. I’ll be glad to meet you in Colorado!! Thanks for the great job indexing the book!


  7. jackie clay Says:

    Sue and Nancy,

    Yep, it’s messy, but it was raining and cold outside and poor Will doesn’t have a workshop….yet. It’s in the some-day planning stages; he sure needs one, doesn’t he. But it’s priorities; storage barn, house, barn THEN shop, hopefully. The guy sure does need…and deserve one!


  8. jackie clay Says:


    No. But you’re only a long day’s drive from our place here in northern Minnesota and we ARE having three day seminars here. We’d be happy to have you join us. Just e-mail for more information.


  9. primo Says:

    i would like to have 2 hooches they look nice can he build 2 for me ?
    i like them a lot thanks

  10. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    Sorry but the hooches were made from scrap roofing from the dump and we don’t have any more. You could probably scrounge alternative roofing in your area and build your own. They are super simple; just a box with a rounded roof. (The roof doesn’t need to be rounded; it could be a shed or gable roof, too; it’s just what worked out for us.) We have a turkey sitting on eggs in one right now and another hen just hatched out nine poults.

  11. Clint Says:

    What was the demensions of the box width, depth & height, I want to
    make something similar since my turkey hens want to lay their eggs outside now, and not use the nest box I made for them in the coop

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