Baby Turkey needs to learn to eat

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by brewmiss96, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. brewmiss96

    brewmiss96 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2008
    Redmond, OR
    I am very happy that Rudy has been alive for over a week now, since the other 3 baby turkeys I got to keep him company have shed their mortal coils [​IMG]. He's got the two Rouens to keep him company but even though he's drinking out of the waterer, and I have seen him peck at the feeder, he seems to want to eat almost exclusively from the food that sticks to the Rouen's bills. I am worried that the only reason he hasn't died like the others is that he has been feeding this way. He has grown, but not as much as I think he should. And the ducks he's with are getting HUGE even at about 2 weeks old.

    Am I worrying too much? Should I just let him be? Or is there an extra measure I can take to help him eat without a duck bill for a platter?

    And should I get him another turkey or will he be okay being the only one?
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Do you know why the other turkeys died? I don't know much about turkeys or ducks, but I think ducks are wet sloppies and it will chill the turkeys.
     
  3. Leslie In North Pole

    Leslie In North Pole Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would worry about having a lone poult with ducklings. Ducklings can handle chills a little more, especially with their quick growth rate and I am sure you have seen them groom each other, they will do the same to your poult, possible chilling it.

    Poults are pretty fragile, as you have noticed. If it is possible, I would set up a separate brooder and find either a couple of companion poults or chicks to brood with Rudy. Ducks and turkeys can co-habitat but don't flock together, Rudy will become lonely when they are older.
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I agree with Leslie.

    If your poult is eating wet food from the duck bills have you tried making it a wet warm mash of the feed? Turkeys are odd creatures especially breeds tampered with to 'improve' the stock.
     
  5. brewmiss96

    brewmiss96 Out Of The Brooder

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    Last night after posting this I sat and made a wet mash on my finger that he gobbled (harhar) up. Then I set up a saucer on a mug to elevate the mash so he could see it better. I kept wetting my finger and he kept eating off of it, but I would put my finger closer and closer to the pile of food on the saucer. I even sprinkled it with water to make it more crumbly. I feel like the lightbulb almost came on with him, because he would peck from my finger and when crumbles would fall off onto the saucer he would peck at those, but as soon as I took my hand away he would start peeping for more food.

    The first poult that died I was so upset I didn't properly investigate it. The middle one I looked over very well and it had a lot of bedding in it's mouth. I am fairly certain that it didn't smother, I honestly think that the reason Rudy's survived is because he watched the ducks eat and then pecks off their bills. I know I observed one of the other chicks try to do this, but even though the ducks are cooperative they don't sit there and let him do it. The last poult that died we tried to nurse it because we knew it wasn't doing well (stumbling around, floppy head, closing eyes, labored breathing earlier on) with a broth of food and then a mash, but it didn't work.

    I tried to put the poults with the chickens to start, but they are more than a week older and were pecking at the poults. And I thought since the ducks eat the same food that it would work out better. I have kept the bedding in the duck/turkey brooder very clean, switching it out every other day. Rudy was the poult that I thought wouldn't make it from the beginning, he looked like he had just come out of the egg, was damp, and he just lay there while the others were fluffy and moving around.

    Sorry for the long typing, and thank you for the help too!
     
  6. Leslie In North Pole

    Leslie In North Pole Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On pecking, colored lights really help lessen this enormously. As to bedding being consumed, I place paper towels on top of other bedding until I am certain that my chicks/ poults/ ducklings and etc. have learned the taste of food and where it is located. In commercial turkey farms, they actually go as far as to dye their poults food for the first week green... apparently turkeys are very strongly attracted to this color just after hatch. (I learned that from an episode of Dirty Jobs.)
     
  7. msitework

    msitework Out Of The Brooder

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    I just dealt with the same problem myself. I spoke with an old farmer and he made a suggestion that he assured me would work, although it's not much fun. He gets those sticky fly traps that don't have any toxins or poison on them, then he picks the flies off with tweasers & feeds them to the poults twice a day for two or three days until they decide they want to eat. I broke pieces of bread up very small & put them in warm milk & gave it to them, some ate it but not like I was hoping. I have 50 heritage turkey poults so as desperation set in I tried the fly thing & it worked like a charm. Once they started eating the flies they got into a feeding frenzy almost and ate the feed also. I also put the vitamins in the water & hung the feeder for them, but the flies is what did it. Now there strong & growing very well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
  8. brewmiss96

    brewmiss96 Out Of The Brooder

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    Redmond, OR
    I wonder if other bugs would work like feeder crickets... it frosted here last week and we don't have many bugs around yet.

    I've gotten him to eat off the saucer while my finger is in the pile of mash... he'll peck for a while and then loose interest, so I stir it up and he comes right back.

    I also tried putting colored marbles in the pile and in the feeder, but it doesn't seem to matter. I will go get some crickets and try that maybe.

    I will try dyeing the food if that doesn't work.

    Oh he's a bronze turkey. I do want to get him a companion, but the next batch comes in early May, do you think a month apart in age is too much?

    And I will definitely get some QuikChik and GroGel from McMurray's, I don't want to loose anymore babies.

    Thank you all for your help!
     

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