A turkey of questionable origins

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by AshleyRae, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. AshleyRae

    AshleyRae Out Of The Brooder

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    I came home from work tonight and my neighbors surprised me with a Broad Breasted White turkey. I have five pet hens, and I work in a chicken processing plant. However, I don't do much with live birds at work, and I know chickens are not completely the same as turkeys.
    I didn't ask a lot of questions but it's pretty clear she (?) is/was a commercially raised turkey. I have no idea where or from whom it originally came from. They tell me she's a girl, and is about two months old. She's got a great bare spot on her chest, and her feathers are pretty ratty. I'm going to keep her but I'm not sure what I need to look out for, as far as potential health issues. I've got her separate from my girls for now. Any help would be useful, especially about what to look for as far as illness goes (I can only recognize it postmortem). I want to raise her to be a happy confident girl, but she's been through quite an ordeal.
     
  2. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    There are issues with keeping Broad Breasted turkeys as pets that you will want to be aware of. As you know they are breed for fast growth and more meat and are slaughtered before problems usually begin. Leg, lung, and heart issues being the most common. You will want to watch their feed intake so they don't put on too much weight.

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broad_Breasted_White_turkey
    The growing process for these birds has been so well refined, the birds often grow to larger than 50 lbs. Average birds are typically 38-40 lbs. Because of their size, they are prone to health problems associated with being overweight (due to excess muscle), such as heart disease, respiratory failure and joint damage; even if such turkeys are spared from slaughter (such as those involved in the annual turkey pardons), they usually have short lives as a result.[2]
     
  3. AshleyRae

    AshleyRae Out Of The Brooder

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    She won't leave the corner. She just sits there facing the wall. When I go in and pet her and talk to her she gets up to eat a little and drink some water which has vitamin supplements. I'm concerned because I know commercial food is full of antibiotic growth promoters. I'm afraid she might be susceptible to infection since her immune system hasn't had to work much.
    I know external signs of synovitis (in the hock joints) but how can I tell if she's got heart or respiratory problems? How long should I keep her in quarantine? Can she get my other girls sick?
     
  4. AshleyRae

    AshleyRae Out Of The Brooder

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    Also, are turkey eggs good for eating?
     
  5. memphis

    memphis Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes they are good to eat! And especially good to bake with. They are richer than chicken eggs.
     
  6. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    Keep her on a healthy diet and don't let her eat too much fattening foods (like corn) to keep her weight down and she should do fine. Maybe only about a pound of feed per day along with foraging. That may need a little adjustment but you get the idea (not too much food but not starving either). Hot summers are going to be especially difficult so make sure she has plenty of shade and lots of water to keep her cool.

    Watch for signs that she is laying down and looks like she has difficulty breathing and/or difficulty back up. Those can be signs of respiratory distress or heart problems. Broad Breasted (Whites and Bronze) are not meant to live past slaughter age.

    If you find you like raising turkeys and something happens to her or you want to get her a friend then look into Heritage turkey breeds. Heritage breeds are smaller, heartier, and great foragers.
     
  7. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    After some reading it looks like 4-5 weeks is the most suggested for quarantine. If she has an illness or worms she can pass them along to the hens and hence the quarantine to make sure she is healthy first.

    The one trouble you may need to be aware of is blackhead disease. It's usually passed from the chickens to the turkeys. Turkeys and pheasants are more susceptible to blackhead and can die from it but it can be treated. That seems to also depend on where you live. Seems like it is more of a problem in some areas of the country more than others.

    Here is some info so you can at least be prepared... just in case.

    http://www.millerhatcheries.com/Information/Diseases/blackhead_disease.htm
     
  8. AshleyRae

    AshleyRae Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much! I have wanted a turkey ever since I got my chickens. Every spring I see them at the feed store, but I never intended to get one of such dubious health. I will probably go ahead and give them all something for worms, and definitely keep an eye out for blackhead. I really appreciate the advice, because I all ready love her. She makes such sweet little noises when I pet her, and once she gets new feathers I know she'll be beautiful.
     
  9. AshleyRae

    AshleyRae Out Of The Brooder

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  10. AshleyRae

    AshleyRae Out Of The Brooder

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    I went to say goodnight and she was sitting in the darkest corner shaking. Is she just stressed?
     

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