15 Turkey chicks died over 3 days


7 Years
May 16, 2012
Hello everyone,

Someone at purelypoultry.com suggested I post here to see if any of you might have some advice for me. I ordered 15 Bourbon Red Turkey chicks from purelypoultry.com. They were all alive when I picked them up from the post office the morning they arrived. I set them in a large (3x4) dog kennel with paper towel bedding, water with electrolytes (bag said it was for poultry and I measured and mixed it) in a dish for chicks, and feed that said it was for meat chickens and turkeys as young as 1-day old. I hung a heat lamp above the middle of the space and placed a thermometer on the paper towels underneath. I adjusted the hight of the lamp until the thermometer read 95 degrees. I put the chicks in the kennel one by one, dipping their beaks in the water as I did so.

Anyway, the next morning one had died. The following morning 3 more had died, followed by 3 more during the day, again the following night, etc. until they were all dead 3 days after picking them up. They were drinking the water, and appeared to be pecking at the feed (though I couldn't really tell if they were eating much of it). They appeared to be happy and healthy until one or two at a time would be on their backs and seemed to have trouble getting up. These ones would be the one's who would die soon after. They weren't piling in the corners and they weren't pecking each other to death. Nothing unusual about them other than that they died.

I'm baffled as to what might have happened. I really would like to order some more, but I don't want to lose them all again. These guys are expensive!

Any thoughts?

Geez, how awful. Maybe call the company and explain what happened, they should be able to help figure out what went wrong (although I think it's really hard to diagnose every case) and maybe give you a refund.

I wonder if they were exposed to something toxic during shipping, or were handled roughly, or experienced temperature extremes?

I'm so sorry you had to go through this.

edited to add: Wait, the company itself told you to look it up on the web? They couldn't help you themselves? That's very weird.
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Thanks. Yea, I thought it was a bit strange that I was directed here by them, but I guess they didn't know what the problem was. Unfortunately, no refund has been mentioned, and only one of the chicks died in the 24 hour window they guarantee.
sounds pretty fishy and they must have had disease, marks comes to mind can you get one vet tested...I would not do any business with that company since they basically told you go jump. Do they guarentee disease free healthy birds cause that isn't what you got...given food water and warmth chicks/turkey too should do fine...not just keel over. I don't know how much you spent but I bet they would have a super big problem if they sent you sick birds
after reading your story again, I am wondering about the electrolyte solution...how old is it, was it really needed, I usually give plain water...no, something for sure killed them...but what
Hi Farmerellis,

the usual way to set temperature is to put the thermometer at the height of their backs. If you're measuring it at the floor, it's possible the poults got too hot.

What were they doing before flipping? Were they tending to stay at the corners or did they all seem to be scattered around? Were they cheeping or panting?

I wouldn't necessarily conclude it's the hatchery or transportation; they sounded fine when you got them. However I don't know much about turkeys, so I hope you listen to a range of opinions. I just find, however, that an enclosed structure like a dog kennel (unless they can come and go, and know how to do it, through a doorway) can get really hot, and when you take the lid off to measure temperature it often gives a falsely low reading because there's a sudden intrusion of much cooler air.

Hope you get to the bottom of it, good luck anyhow,
Thanks for your reply. They were all peeping and I didn't notice any panting. The kennel was a wire one, so it was completely ventilated. They were scattered about and seemed to move freely from under the lamp to outside it.
The hatchery recommended the electrolytes. I got it at the local feed store and checked the bag to make sure it was for poultry. I measured it out and mixed it according to directions.
It was about $150 for the chicks. Unfortunately, I disposed of all of them so I can't test them. That would have been smart, however. I am disappointed in purelypoultry.com for not being more helpful in this, but strictly speaking they don't really have to do anything accept reimburse me for the one chick that died in the 24 hour window. Since they are not offering replacements, I'll order from elsewhere and maybe change the feed and skip the electrolytes and try again.

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