I wanted to share this with all other turkey owners because I am genuinely shocked it worked.
One day one of my young males looked "under the weather." The next day, the dreaded sulfur yellow poop. I panicked. Now I know it is in my soil. I could see the dreaded blackhead spreading through my flock and wiping everyone out. I, of course, immediately separated him, but I didn't really know what else to do. I couldn't find any "fish zole," which is a semi-successful anti-protozoan off label medication (it's meant for fish). So, without any other options, I decided to try the old "folk remedy" of cayenne pepper. This is what I did:
Day 1: Bought high protein, high vitamin/mineral food (I free range my birds and only feed them a whole grain mixture. I figured a crumble would be best in this situation). Mix in one heaping tablespoon of cayenne pepper in to roughly 3lbs of food. I drizzled a little olive oil over the food as I mixed it to get it to stick. It looked... very spicy. But I did a little research on whether or not a bird would refuse food if it was too spicy and found some research indicating birds do not respond to the capsaicin like mammals do. So I went forward. He wasn't eating much so I tried to figure out a way to get cayenne in his water, too. Cayenne doesn't like to mix with water so I came up with the idea of putting hot sauce in his water. Specifically Franks Red Hot, which is just Cayenne, vinegar and garlic, which is everything a turkey needs in this situation!
I offered him this food and water. He didn't seem interested. So I invited another turkey to eat out of the feeder. That got him interested and he went for it! He ate a bit. Then a little later, ate a bit more. He drank some water, and that was it.
Day 2: I was fully expecting to come in to a dead turkey, but no! Alive, and looking a little bit more perky. He had eaten on his own, but not much. Poops are still yellow, but he's not dead! I changed out his water for fresh "Frank's" water, and let him be. I would come in every few hours and peck at the food with my fingers. That got him interested and he would eat a bit. But other than that, left him alone.
Day 3: Still alive and looking better! Repeated day 2 tasks.
Day 4: This is when I noticed his poops were starting to contain a bit of "brown." They were still mostly yellow, but had some other more normal poop colors contained in them. I mixed up some fresh spicy feed and changed out his feed and water to fresh, extra spicy.
Day 5: Poops still mostly yellow but more brown than day 4. He's really starting to look perky. He even gave me a bit of a gobble! Changed out his water for fresh "Franks" water.
Day 6: Poop almost all brown. Dude is looking good! Crying for the other turkeys (something he hadn't done since he first started getting ill). Change out his water again and give him freshly mixed spicy food. Try not to have my heart broken by his sad cries to the other turkeys.
Day 7: Poop all brown. He's gobbling. He even tries to strut for me (it was a sad pathetic attempt but the fact he tried was amazing!). I decide he is strong enough to be able to tolerate a wormer (to get rid of the worm that carried the protozoa in the first place!). I worm him with the appropriate dosage of Valbazen and decide after three more days he can be released (so the wormer has time to take effect).
Dy 8, 9 and 10: Still feeding him the cayenne food and "Frank's" water, and he keeps getting better. Not a hint of sulfur poops, and he is looking vibrant! He wants OUT of his seclusion! On day 10, I let him back out. He was still weak, but SO happy to be back with his flock.
It is now three weeks later and he has regained almost all the condition he lost. I wormed the other turkeys as a precaution and no one else got sick. I am making sure to keep all turkeys wormed on a schedule, but it seems the others are either more resistant or just didn't eat the unlucky earthworm. I also am now going to do a once a month cayenne feeding as a precautionary treatment.
Whether or not my turkey did get blackhead and I treated it or he just got sick with something that mimicked it and he just got better on his own I don't know. I DO know this: since there really isn't any treatment for blackhead out there, I will continue to use cayenne as a preventative treatment and I will ALWAYS have it on hand just in case (since I am assuming it is in my soil now). No matter what, it's a cheap, all natural additive that won't hurt.
Hopefully no one here has to deal with blackhead but if you do, might as well try the cayenne. It may actually work for you!