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Turkey Poults dying!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have 30 turkey poults (blue slate) that I hatched from my own stock that have been slowly dying off over the past few weeks. The poults range in age from 1 month- 2 weeks. They are being fed a medicated turkey starter. They are housed in a very large brooder with ample space and 2 heat lamps. The poults look "sleepy" for a day and die. This brooder was used for about 30 chickens in the weeks prior to the turkeys going in. We bleached out the brooder, could this be blackhead? They are dying FAST as soon as they get "sleepy. Any advice would be m uch appreciated. My adult flock (4 birds) free ranges over 5 acres and have never been sick. The adults are not confined with chickens but they do graze on the same 5 acres.

thank you in advance for any help!

post #2 of 10
What do the droppinga look like? Have you fed this medicated starter (this particular bag) to other birds without incident? Are they eating and drinking with enthusiasm before they go `puny'? Did you hatch out the chickens, get them from a hatchery or from another individual?
post #3 of 10

And where does the water come from?  Does it go through a softener? 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 


I had this bag of feed given to me free from the feed store because it was older. I know that sounds like the problem but, we had deaths prior to this bag of feed. Now we have alot more dying soI switched the feed. The free bag did not look moldy, and it smelled fine. These birds I hatched out myself, the parents were purchased from a hatchery over a year ago. My parent birds have never been sick. The droppings look completely normal, with the exception of one poult who had a yellow looking dropping stuck to it before it died. They appear to be eating and drinking well, but they do go off feed/ water (I assume) a day or two before dying. They look sleepy/ drunk with ruffled feathers and closed eyes.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

The water is in a large pan with small rocks in it so they do not drown. We change it some times 3 times or more per day because it does get dirty. Each time we change it it is sprayed so the water looks clear again. They do dirty up their water quite a bit.

post #6 of 10
If the water isn't `salted' (softened), the chickens brooded came from a hatchery, none of your adult turks are sick and the poults exhibit no other symptoms but drop in appetite, lethargy followed by death, the only disease that seems to come close is aflatoxicosis. It might have been the feed.

Blackhead isn't the only disease that will cause yellow droppings:

I'd be tempted to move the poults to another brooder/new bedding (or were they on wire?), disinfected waterer (we keep ours up on bricks above the bedding and just add more bricks as the poults get bigger) and add poultry vitamins to water. What brand of food %protein are you using?

If another poult dies (hope not!) perform a gross necroscopy - if liver is discolored/spotted that would narrow the list of suspects.

Very best of luck!
Edited by ivan3 - 6/5/12 at 8:11pm
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

I am fairly certain that the issue is the feed. We did have a few deaths prior to the feed switch- but not like this with many dying each day. We have removed all toxic feed and so far- all are healthy. We  had one yesterday who was very sickly that died last night. I will examine its liver and post the findings and pictures. Thank you so much for helping solve my mystery!

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

I just want to provide an update- no more deaths! All remaining poults active and healthy.  We have discarded all of the old feed and are back to a regular, unmedicated gamebird starter. I am now 100%  certain deaths were caused by expired medicated feed. This feed looked and smelled normal.  Thank you, Ivan3, for those articles you posted. Very informative. I  can credit you with saving my poults. I did not think to suspect the feed since it looked smelled normal. Thanks to you, I have 10 remaining poults, all healthy!

post #9 of 10
Well, here's to hoping all survivors are out of the woods, and that you have no further problems.

Have a good weekend!
post #10 of 10

I would not have suspected the feed as being the problem.

I deal with a small family owned feed store that's been around for 80 years they have  enough business that weekly shipments are sold and replenished with fresh.

Of course that doesn't mean that whats coming from the supplier has not been setting in a warehouse for 2 months or that there was some type of contamination that got into the feed during production.


And of course when responsibility if in fact that the food was the cause it would be denied or the finger would be pointed in a different direction and your out the cost of the birds the feed and of course your time and effort and the heart ache of watching your birds die.

I guess most of use can count our lucky stars that we have not had your problem.

Now we will have that thought in our minds and to watch our own flocks for the same thing.


If I had the majority of my flock die for this reason there's a possibility I might just through my hands up in the air and give up who knows.


I hope things go better for you from this point on.

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