baby turkey with deformity...

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by thecityman, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. thecityman

    thecityman Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi folks. If you've seen my other post then you know I'm a releative newbie (I've had a few successful quail and chicken hatches raised to adulthood in the past, but its been a LONG time and I'd still call myself a beginning with a LITTLE experience) Anyway, I recently hatched 6 baby turkeys (they are 3 days old now). 5 of them seem extremely healthy and happy. They are in a brooder box that is 95 degrees on the heated end with the ability for them to go to the other side which is about 87-90 degrees. They have food (medicated chick starter- soon to be gamebird starter) and water and seem to be partaking of both. Now for the sad part...
    One of the babies has a foot/leg that is turned outward. It is not an injury, it was born this way. It is basically unable to stand up at all. It is, however, able to scoot around enough to get food and water, so I think it could probably survive with me closely watching and helping it along. However, what has me concerned is that it CONSTANTLY chirps very loudly...sort of like a lost chick might do. When I say constantly, I'm saying almost 24 hours a day...LOUDly. I believe it may be in pain. Worse yet, its leg joint is starting to get a little sore on it where it is dragging it.

    Look, I know the outlook is probably not good for this little guy. However, I think that since its eating and drinking and is alert, I could probably nurse it along......but what kind of a life will it have??? I'm DEEPLY conflicted by this little guy (or girl). Plus these are rare, wild turkeys (lets please not debate whether I should have even tried to hatch the eggs after the mother was gone-and she WAS gone) so I really want to do everything possible to save it. On the other hand I feel it may be suffering and may have a hard life ahead. I just don't know what to do!

    I guess my question is...and I can't even bring myself to ask it....should I somehow euthanize this baby? I am hoping you tell me know, but if its the right thing to do please tell me. Also...and this is even harder to ask....if you all feel its best that I cull this one....how? What is the most humane way? Surely others have had to cull chicks before???? Or maybe I should just let nature take its course and if it lives, ok, and if it dies then thats what was best. I wouldn't be asking this were it not for how pitiful it looks dragging itself around and chirping so loud all the time. Please know my preference is to try and hand raise and baby and nurse it to maturity, but I just don't know if that is the humane thing to do. PLEASE HELP!!!

    Kevin
     
  2. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    If it can't stand or walk it will have no quality of life, as it grows and gains weight it will only get worse. The way I cull poults/chicks whatever is to pull the head off. Hold the body in one hand and the head in the other and pull. It doesn't take much pressure and it's an instant kill. There will be a little bit of blood from the body but not a whole lot. It's not pleasant but one of the parts about raising animals is culling. Sorry

    Steve
     
  3. thecityman

    thecityman Out Of The Brooder

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    OMG!!! OMG!!! FIrst, I was hoping I'd be told to be patient and try to save this little guy...but deep down I know he's gona have to be culled....he can't really walk at all...but he scoots around pretty well. Second, though, I was REALLY hoping for a better way to euthanize it!!! I could barely even read what you just described, let along imagine picking up that cute, fuzzy little guy and doing THAT! But don't misunderstand me....the reason I came here was for accurate advice, not false hope or empathy....if it has to be done then I will....but I'm at least going to wait (and hope)for some other comments/suggestions....even though I trust yours....I just have to be sure before putting both me and the turkey thru that! But I guess thats better than just letting him freeze or putting him in the yard for something to eat or risking shooting him and getting a bad shot or whatever......but I'd sure like to hear any other suggestions on how to cull....and if we all think thats the proper thing to do. Thanks
     
  4. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Do what you got to do. [​IMG]

    Good luck
    Steve
     
  5. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Carbon dioxide -- said to be very fast and painless. Never tried it myself, got lucky and didn't have to.

    You put the chick in a small inner container, and set that whole thing in an outer container with a small block of dry ice, then pour some water over the dry ice to release CO2 and seal the whole thing up.

    Do it outdoors and DO NOT breath the concentrated CO2 yourself.

    Maybe someone else can comment on this method, whether it works, whether it's fast, etc.
     
  6. longranger

    longranger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sharp heavy duty scissors will cut off the head cleanly and nearly instantly. No suffering for the little one and less emotionally painfull than the equally quick and humane method of manual beheading.
     
  7. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wring it's neck and it will be quick and bloodless unless you overdo it and pop the head or if you have a concrete block sit the bird on the ground and drop the block on it.
     
  8. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cityman -- I had 2 in the same situation two weeks ago. One recovered on about the 5th day and began walking, and is ok now, the other died. I think you should give it just a few more days to see if it can recover.

    How in the heck do turkeys survive in the wild if they're so darned hard to raise in captivity? And, if theyr'e so hard, how the heck is turkey such an abundant food source?

    I guess that 1) wild turkeys must be tougher, and they produce a LOT of babies because most won't make it; 2) domestic turkeys are probably easier for the professionals to raise (think the giant turkey farms that supply Armour, Cargill, and the other large commercial processors) than for us amateurs at home.

    I just know that there seems to be a whole lot more problems and ways for young turkeys to die than chickens, ducks, etc., based upon what I've read in general and here on this forum.

    And, finally, a real question, not just rhetorical -- is there something about domesticated turkey's backgrounds that make them particularly weak or vulnerable as poults? Was the gene pool taken back to Europe in olden times too small or something and the modern breeds (see, I'm assuming they arose back in England and came back here to the US) are just inbred and weak? I obviously don't know a whole lot about turkeys, so thanks for bearing with me here.
     
  9. mangled

    mangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    Get a large bowl with a tight fitting lid. Place about a 1/2 cup of baking soda in a large container inside the bowl, set the chick inside the large bowl, and pour about a 3/4 cup of vinegar over the baking soda. Close the lid on the big bowl and walk away for about 15 minutes.

    The baking soda and vinegar have a chemical reaction that produces carbon monoxide and the chick simply goes to sleep. Quick, painless and a lot easier than pulling or cutting the head off. I can't do that, either.

    Sorry about your chick. It's difficult to lose one.

    Em
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  10. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    And, finally, a real question, not just rhetorical -- is there something about domesticated turkey's backgrounds that make them particularly weak or vulnerable as poults? Was the gene pool taken back to Europe in olden times too small or something and the modern breeds (see, I'm assuming they arose back in England and came back here to the US) are just inbred and weak? I obviously don't know a whole lot about turkeys, so thanks for bearing with me here.

    The difference between domesticated and wild anything is in the wild only the strong survive. A poult that can't keep up won't make it. By keeping weaklings in a domesticated flock only weakens the flock as a whole. There is alot of genetic diversity in the turkeys we know today, inbreeding isn't a problem per say. Inbreeding can be a problem for a small flock owner if they don't use care in breeding.

    Steve​
     

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