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Turkey Walking in Circles??

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I was wondering if anyone could help me with a bit of a problem. I have a six month old Beltsville Small White turkey hen who was a looking a bit off this weekend. She has now started to look disoriented and has a bit of a tendency to walk in circles. She's still eating and has good weight. Any ideas what could be going on????

Thanks for any help!
Urban Coyote

"I have an opinion, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
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post #2 of 6

Neurological problem or toxin....sometimes vitamin deficiency can also cause this, but that's less likely if they're on a good turkey/gamebird feed.

Check the pen for moldy food or if free ranged, anything they could get into?  Get it cleaned up asap.  For toxin, it may be too late, but you could try a flush of her system.  Some use epson and others molasses.  I'll see if I can find the mixture for you.

Neurological can usually be seen if she is holding the tail funny.  Does the tail just hang down?  I had a young turkey doing this very behavior and found it had a broken spine and had to be put down.  A red tailed hawk flew over the flight pen and scared them and they piled on top of each other - this little one was on the bottom and I knew she looked funny when she got up, but I thought it was still fear and disoriented.  After a couple days and when the running in circles started, I knew there was damage.  Upon holding her I could feel the lower spine was broken. 

Examine the surroundings and the bird closely and let me know if you find anything else that may help us figure out what's going on.

Jody

Breeds: Lavender, Buff, Black and White Orpington & Tufted Rumpless Araucana (lavender, white and nonstandard colors)

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Breeds: Lavender, Buff, Black and White Orpington & Tufted Rumpless Araucana (lavender, white and nonstandard colors)

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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi Jody,

Thanks a bunch for the info. I have a general purpose poultry vitamin supplement that I will give them tomorrow morning to see if that helps and to cover my basis.  The birds themselves are fed turkey maintenance feed with a treat of molasses horse feed every morning (oats/pellets/corn mixed with molasses). Their food is kept clean and dry inside with their water outside.   

I have eight turkeys that are housed in an 8x8 indoor barn with a 16x8 outdoor run with a sand/gravel bottom. The top of the run is covered with netting and the run itself is made up of chain link fence.

The outdoor run is a bit sloppy from all the rain we've had, but not too bad, and the indoor barn was cleaned just two weeks ago.  The barn is brand new this year too, so there should not be any mold present. The dummies will roost out in the run at night though and I was wondering if she may have caught a chill?

Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to observe the birds a whole lot lately during the day. It's dark when I go to work and dark when I get home. I noticed her odd behavior this weekend when I finally had a chance to see them out and about during the day. She started roosting on the floor this week, so I know something is definitely up.

I have noticed that the birds seem to like to eat their own molted feathers. I caught them at this for the first time a week or so ago. Could this be a warning of some sort?

Is there anything else I can tell you to help solve this problem?

Thanks!
Urban Coyote

P.S: I forgot to mention that the turkeys are housed with a few chickens, but these are the same chickens they were hatched with and grew up with.


Edited by Urban Coyote - 11/22/07 at 9:35am
"I have an opinion, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
www.rosecombs.ca
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"I have an opinion, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
www.rosecombs.ca
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post #4 of 6

Not too concerned with the chickens right now..blackhead would not present like this.

Feather eating is not all that unusual during moult but it could mean a deficiency of some sort.  Definitely try the vitamins as a start.  Also, if they'll eat black oil sunflower seeds...that may help.  Make sure the turkey feed is not medicated (thiamin blockers, like amprolium, can produce neuorological symptoms if they are on it too long).  I would check the bird over for injury as well.  I'm leaning more towards injury, but nutritional issues can cause these types of symptoms.

For your mixed flock, I would recommend switching them all to a Flockraiser feed if possible.  If you have large fowl chickens, get the pellet form, which is guaranteed not medicated.  Our crumbles here are medicated, so you 'd have to ask if they are there as well.  It provides better protein than maintenance feeds for turkeys and chickens.

Jody

Breeds: Lavender, Buff, Black and White Orpington & Tufted Rumpless Araucana (lavender, white and nonstandard colors)

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Breeds: Lavender, Buff, Black and White Orpington & Tufted Rumpless Araucana (lavender, white and nonstandard colors)

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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi Jody,

Just to let you know my turkey did not make it. She died a few days ago. I still don't know what could have been wrong with her. She was in excellent shape with no weight loss and was eating up to the end. I think it much have been a neurological/injury related problem. The rest of the flock looks great though so 'm chalking this one up to experience.

Thanks for your help!
Urban Coyote

"I have an opinion, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
www.rosecombs.ca
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"I have an opinion, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
www.rosecombs.ca
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post #6 of 6

Aww, I'm sorry to hear she didn't make it.  It did sound neurological, but keep an eye on others just in case something is going on.  As soon as you see something suspicious or sooner if you want, I would try to arrange for a necropsy to figure it out.  I hope the others stay well.

Jody

Breeds: Lavender, Buff, Black and White Orpington & Tufted Rumpless Araucana (lavender, white and nonstandard colors)

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Breeds: Lavender, Buff, Black and White Orpington & Tufted Rumpless Araucana (lavender, white and nonstandard colors)

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