BBB - do they get too heavy to walk?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by smartlittleroo, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. smartlittleroo

    smartlittleroo Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a BBB hen and the last few days I have noticed she is reluctant to walk. Two days ago she seemed fine and was getting around (when she walks she kind of waddles, swaying from side to side). Yesterday she did a lot of laying on the ground. This morning she couldn't get up. She is a free-range bird, about 9 months old. I was hoping to keep her to raise chicks, but if this problem is due to weight and not illness (she must weigh a good 20 lbs) maybe it's just her time and she can be Thanksgiving dinner.

    This is the first turkey I raised from a poult. Do BBB turkeys get too big to walk?
     
  2. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They can, but if she is only 20 pounds at 9 months I doubt it. Mine dressed out in the 17 - 18 pound range at 6 months old and I wrote in another post last night that one flew up to perch on a nest box so she was about 4' off of the ground (I had an extra and put her in the chicken house). I have a 1 1/2 year old that has a bit of a waddle but she gets around fine, I would guess her live weight to be at least 30 pounds.

    Has she been perching on anything? She could have hurt herself landing. And at 9 months, 20 pounds would probably be more the weight she would dress out at. She probably weighs more than you think she does. You can try giving her a bit of aspirin and see if that helps or you could go ahead and process her.
     
  3. smartlittleroo

    smartlittleroo Out Of The Brooder

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    She did get up on the back of an outdoor bench the other night (about 3' up) so there is a possibility that she hurt herself getting up there. I noticed a few times before the problem with walking started that she was kind of squatting with her wings down. Could she be on the verge of egg laying and having a problem with that? I really like this bird, she is the sweetest thing. I'd rather eat a store-bought turkey than eat her so whatever insight anyone can offer I really appreciate.

    Thank you so much Frosty for your reply.
     
  4. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Squatting with the wings down can be mating behavior. Feel around her vent and see if you feel anything to make sure she isn't egg bound. And make sure there aren't any eggs under her that she could be trying to sit on. If she could get up on something that high off of the ground, I doubt she got too heavy for her legs. The ones that do that are the ones that folks process at 4 months old and they dress at 30 - 40 pounds.

    Editing to add that she could have hurt herself when she jumped back down from her perch. Feel around, see if anything feels wrong. Otherwise you can give her some aspirin. I think I saw a post on here that might have said how much to give, I'll see if I can find it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  5. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found this site: http://msucares.com/poultry/diseases/solutions.html Looks like the dosage is 25mg/lb body weight. So a 20 pound hen could have 500 mg aspirin per day. You can put tablets in a treat and see if she will just eat them on her own. Then again, you never know with poultry... if you just drop it in front of her she might eat it on it's own.
     
  6. Tiffrz-N-Kidz

    Tiffrz-N-Kidz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If she's squatting on the ground and shaking her wings out to the side she's just looking for a little turkey-nookie.
     
  7. LadyTurkey

    LadyTurkey Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 3 BBB hens, mine waddle kinda like they are pregnant lol I do monitor their food intake, and make sure they have lots of free range time so they get some exercise . So far no problem, they are about 8 months old.
     
  8. Narragansett

    Narragansett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Keep in mind that broad breasted birds are not intended to live that long. Restricted feed intake or not, they are a terminal cross, the intent of which is to provide a meat bird that will be processed at a few months of age. In most cases one cannot prevent the inevitable. Feed restriction will only be able to help to delay things, but there is a limit to how much can be restricted without starving the bird. It will continue to grow if given agequate feed amounts, even if not excessive. Broad breasted hens can be kept in some cases long enough to produce fertile eggs, but they must be mated with a non-broad breasted tom. Broad breasted toms are too large to mount the hens without doing some severe damage, and they cannot balance well enough on the hen to complete the job anyway.
     
  9. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I held over a BBW hen, as a year old she was laying eggs. Then she tried to nest in the weeds and got killed by a family of raccoons. The next year I had an extra hen and a tom, I kept them thinking I could try AI. When they were 1 1/2 years old, I decided that I wasn't going to have time for that project because of my work schedule and lack of help from the family so they went to Thanksgiving dinner. The tom dressed at 38 pounds, I don't remember the hen size, maybe 28 pounds? In 2009 I had an extra BBB hen and tom and thought I could try again now that I am retired. Spring 2010 my heritage toms killed the BBB tom so I just had the one hen. Some things came up so I didn't incubate any eggs, I thought I could try the following spring and breed her to my Regal Red tom. Unfortunately, when she was close to 2 years old a heavy snow load collapsed my building and she broke her leg so I had to put her down. Now I have a BBW hen hatched in spring 2010 and one from this year. Neither has any difficulty getting around, my 6 month old still perches 4 feet off of the ground. Somebody in another group I belong to had a BB tom pass at 9 years old, I believe to heart failure. They took him to schools so kids could interact with a live turkey and he was quite the gentleman. It is very possible to keep a BB turkey alive and thriving. No, they can't fly after they get too big, but they can still have a good life.

    It is true to say that they have to be mated with a heritage tom (or AI), but they can be kept more than long enough to produce fertile eggs. The really critical part (in my opinion) is to keep the growth slow during the rapid growth stage. After that, watch corn intake and encourage foraging and exercise.
     
  10. Narragansett

    Narragansett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    they can be kept more than long enough to produce fertile eggs

    Despite your lack of success in doing so, yes, it is possible, but it is certainly the exception, not the rule.​
     

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