Black head sickness in turkeys???

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by S n M Poultry, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. S n M Poultry

    S n M Poultry Songster

    Aug 31, 2007
    What is it? How do turkeys get it? Can it kill them? Im lost [​IMG]
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Blackhead is a disease picked up by turkeys from chickens. Yes, it is fatal. This is one of the main reasons I do not mix my fowl breeds at all. Chickens only live with chickens. Turkeys with turkeys. Ducks with ducks. Etc.
  3. S n M Poultry

    S n M Poultry Songster

    Aug 31, 2007
    So do you have to keep them away from chickens or can the pen be touching my chicken pen?
  4. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Last summer, my RP hen was infected with Blackhead disease.
    I contacted every vet in a 100 mile radius...and every one said..."put her down, you cant save her"
    Well....littel did they know I was determined to save her.
    I contacted Perdue University, here in Indiana, and was put in touch with a man named Bryan ( cant remember his last name, UGH)
    This is what he wrote to me.

    Debbie: Drug of choice is Flagyl. Use at 60 miligrams per kilogram of body wt for 5 day treatment.One can "google" for various references and run across more specifics on total therapy of an affected pet bird. I think metrondizole is flagyl and is available to practitioners for other species. Nitrarsone at .01875% in the feed is the only clear preventative product in the USA as a Hististat from Aplharma.The propane weed torch for the soil should help in ridding the soil of infective organisims including the intermediate host, the cecal worm.

    So....I was able to talk to the local vet..and was able to cure her. Unfortunately, now, she has a prolaps, and I will have to put her down. Im not sure if the two are related.
    I would say...if possible..keep the turkeys away from the chickens, as the cecal worm in chicken poo wont infect the chickens, but will infect the Turkeys.
    Better safe than sorry.
  5. Critter Crazy

    Critter Crazy Songster

    Apr 19, 2007
    Binghamton, NY
    Here is my Experiance, you can house turkeys with chickens, but they must be on a Strict worming Regime. Also if they are Confined to a run, I wouldnt sugest housing them together. Mine are free range, and did just fine. I also know many people who house them together with no probs. You can also Check with the Local AG department, and they can tell you if there have been any cases of Blackhead In your local area. This is what I did. [​IMG]
  6. Kev

    Kev Crowing

    Jan 13, 2008
    Sun City, California
    Critter crazy hit it spot on & read the link too, to understand exactly what this disease is and how it gets transmitted.

    This disease goes through a host cycle, which includes earthworms and cecal worms. Chickens can get infected but the average chicken does not get ill from it.. instead they live on and so they shed the eggs and parasite into the soil, to be picked up by earthworms and so on to new birds. Turkeys and peafowl have very low resistance to this disease, which means it is fatal for almost all that get infected, if not treated.

    Worming works because it breaks the host cycle by killing the cecal worms.. a creature the disease requires to complete the cycle. No cecals, blackhead can;t get in there and infect the bird.. So if you keep the turkeys(and peafowl) wormed regularly, it's a pretty good preventative. Not 100% fool proof but heck a whole better than never worming at all.

    We're lucky to live in an area that is mostly dry so the chances is already low but still, be a good idea to worm anyways, just to be sure. If you have bought birds from auctions or had any adult or started birds shipped in from other states(page says blackhead is common in mideast and some east areas), the chances of having chicken infected with Blackhead can be pretty high.. so if you have such chickens, best worm everything.

    If you are really concerned, it is best to have them far from each other- remember earthworms can get infected, they could then move to the turkey area and get eaten..

    I've had mine for a couple years and didn't have problems, just tried to keep their pens as dry as possible plus regular worming. I do try to keep them in separate pens if possible, but have kept both together in same pen before (just not turkeys and peacocks together- they don't get along too well)

    p.s. the reason why some people mix them together and "never had any problems" usually are because the black head disease was not on their premises in the first place.. just sheer luck or due to conditions that aren't favorable to earth worms such as the desert areas or regular liming/salting of the pens etc.. So CC's advise to call the Ag office would tell if it;s present in the general area.. but then if they say it;s not present in the general area and you bring in chickens from areas that DO have it.. well, you get the idea.. be careful of false comfort.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2008
  7. [​IMG]I have wanted a 'turkey' for as long as I wanted any other animal that we have on the farm...
    Black head is the main factor of why I don't have one.
    I have been told not to get turkeys seeings how we have chickens. But then the next person I talk to has a 3 year old 'tom' turkey living with there chickens. They do not worm there birds.

    I have seen a few pictures on here where people house there turkeys and chickens together. And I am sure if I looked a little harder I would see more.
    I guess my question is...
    The ones that house the turkeys and birds together...Do you worm your birds??
    The ones that don't house together...why not?? and do you worm your birds even though not housed together.

    We have free range chickens (with access to an outdoor coop and in door coop).
    IF I were to ever have a turkey (or 2 or 3 [​IMG] ) How big would the cage need to be if they can't free range too....
    Just looking for ideas I guess on what others have learned...I don't want to make a costly mistake.
    Thank you for your help, information and time..
  8. Frosty

    Frosty Songster

    Mar 30, 2008
    Earth worms are another major vector for transmission. Check with the local farm service or something and see if blackhead is a problem where you live. It isn't a problem around here, and I run chickens and turkeys together with no problems. And yes, it can be treated with Flagyl.
  9. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    I free range chickens, ducks and turkeys. They all cross territories. Ducks, chickens and turkeys all have separate night housing and runs if I ever need to keep them confined. I have done this in BC and Alberta without issue. I use DE in my feeds and to this day, after over 30 years of poultry I have never had to use a commercial wormer. Lucky? Some may say so. All my relatives have always ranged birds together in the same manner. Personally I would be more concerned if they where penned or otherwise confined together for an extended period of time.

    No doubts others will contribute their experience in this.
  10. ticks

    ticks Pheasant Obsessed

    Apr 1, 2008
    The Sticks, Vermont
    can poults get it from chicks?

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