Over the past 12 years, we have had small quantities of chickens, ducks, guineas, pheasants, and turkeys. Of all of our little feathered friends, we most loved having the turkeys, which were always purchased as chicks, two per year. Something always happened to one baby, leaving a single turkey pet. They are so social and responsive. They just follow you everywhere, like a dog. I SO enjoyed the turkeys, but every one of them ended up having knee problems by the time they were adolescents. By "knee problems", I mean that the knee would swell, get hot, and not work properly. Sometimes they would be able to limp around, sometimes it was so painful that they would tend to sit a lot. We tried several things, including wrapping the knee, crating the turkey to limit activity, and anti-inflammatory drugs. So we stopped getting turkey babies because it was too hard, after they completely stole our hearts, to put them down. We also didn't have the heart to have them suffer with continued knee problems, or become the victim of a predator. So the kinder resolution was to put them down.
For a few years, we have been without any feathered friends (building a house, etc.). But this year we're ready to start a new little flock. We got 5 little mallard (or rouen) ducks, and I would really love to add a couple of turkeys. But I'm not interested in doing so without being more knowledgeable about whatever we were lacking before.
We always fed everyone layer crumbles, and they were free range.
I believe they were all BBBs, and all came from Orscheln's, over several years. This year they buy from Estes, but I don't know if they always have.
Being adolescent turkeys, I don't believe body weight was an issue. They had a lot of growing left to do, so if body weight was an issue, they would never have been able to handle grown weight.
I've done a little searching, but I may not be searching for the right keywords. So if there is a thread about this, or a website that addresses this, I would very much appreciate a link.
My questions are:
Are leg problems common, or were we missing some kind of nutrition? I think I read somewhere that Niacin should be added, but now I can't remember what I was reading, or if it had anything to do with turkeys.
Is there a different turkey breed that would be less susceptible to leg issues? These are pets only, so I don't care about meat weight, or whatever you would call that. I'm just interested in that fabulous turkey personality.
~ Suzy ~
~ Suzy ~