Blackhead in VA?

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May 9, 2012
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I would really like to raise turkeys but I have chickens. I've heard that blackhead is transmitted through the ground and it depends a lot on your soil/where you are. How bad is blackhead in VA?
 

casportpony

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I would really like to raise turkeys but I have chickens. I've heard that blackhead is transmitted through the ground and it depends a lot on your soil/where you are. How bad is blackhead in VA?


That's news to me, but I'm still learning. If that's true, it's *really* bad here in Gilroy, CA. The local feed store has lost about 90% of their poults this year and 25% of their peachicks, but no necropsies were done on theirs, so it could have been something else. Someone that I met at the feed store was having similar problems. I had two necropsies done on two peachicks and both were positive for blackhead. Managing blackhead has become almost a full time job or me. What's interesting is that it was this time last year that I went through the same thing .
 
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GardienneWings

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Sep 19, 2008
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I am in VA and raise turkeys and peas with my chickens and ducks.

It really isn't a matter of how bad is it in VA as much as is it in the soil on MY farm? It can be bad on one farm and not on the one next door. Also, people think putting turkeys and chickens in separate pens will solve it ...the earth worms that ingest the fungus that causes Blackhead do not stop at the wire between the pens so "separating" the birds does nothing unless they are on opposite sides of a large farm.

I have had a hard time rasing Turkey Poults and Peachicks over the years (necropsies were neg for Blackhead and anything else but I would lose many I tried to raise) and have learned if I get adult birds I'm fine and if I keep my peachickss and turkey poultss off of the ground in wire bottom pens until late Fall they are fine. We have tested the soil, the water, the birds with no explanation found. This year I had so many poults that I turned them out free range with my chickens and did not lose a single one, go figure. However, also this year I lost over 20 peachicks (on wire) one every few days over 3 mos. (neg for Blackhead and again, anything else they tested for). I tried medicating (shots and orally), deworming, changing brand of bedding, changing feed, even buying new waterers and feeders, nothing helped. The tukeys housed with the peas did NOT have any problem and usually both are susceptible to exactly the same things.Write it off as a bad year....

Many deaths are blamed on Blackhead without the tests to prove that was the cause, and many old-timers swear if they lose some turkeys mysteriously it was Blackhead. It IS a problem but it also gets more credit than it is due. Turkeys and peas are HARD to KEEP ALIVE it's really that simple.By the time you know something is wrong it is usually too late.

After 15 years I still have turkeys and peas, so I guess it must be worth the frustration. ;-)

Val
 

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