Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by TimTurkey, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. TimTurkey

    TimTurkey Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2011
    Ashland, OR
    Hi All,
    My 6 week old BBB & BBW poults have some diarheea in the flock; thin and yellowish. Anybody know what causes this? How do I treat it, with or without antibiotics?
  2. Alexander

    Alexander Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2011

    I am not sure but i think that yellow poo is blackhead [​IMG]

    Not sure though.

    I hope for the best!
  3. mochicken

    mochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    NW Missouri
    Are they acting sick or lethargic?

    I did some quick research via Google for you, kinda glad I did because I probably learned as much as you will, this is kinda long and drawn out but it has ALOT of great information in it.

    Sorry if it seems jumbled, I tried my best at HTML coding to keep the titles italic and bold so you can see them over the text and the red wasnt the best color lol, enough excuses for my poor HTML skills lol, here ya go. Hope you get it all worked out and please keep us updated.


    Acute, highly contagious disease of turkeys, characterized by sudden onset, marked depression, anorexia, diarrhea, dehydration, and weight loss.
    Complicated by secondary infections with other viral, bacterial, and protozoal organisms. Environmental stresses may also contribute to severity of disease.

    Infection acquired via direct or indirect contact, or contaminated premises.
    After recovery, turkeys are immune to challenge, but carriers for life.

    Clinical signs:
    Appear cold, chirp constantly, seek heat.
    Morbidity and mortality may reach 100%.
    Cyanosis of the head is common.
    Severe drop in egg production, and eggs may have chalky shells.


    Birds develop foamy yellow diarrhoea and sit huddled up
    They appear depressed and ill
    They stop eating and get very thin
    Increased thirst
    Darkening of the facial region
    The birds can be so ill, that their wattle and comb goes blue (thus the name blackhead)
    If not treated the birds usually die
    Any sulphur coloured foamy droppings should be considered as blackhead, even if the bird is not showing any other signs of the disease
    Blackhead acts as an immune suppressor, which will allow other diseases to have greater effect on your bird’s health
    It may cause stunted growth, poor feed utilization and then death

    Blue skin - Cyanosis

    This is seen in any severe condition of the bloodstream when bacteria (septicaemia) or viruses (viraemia) are circulating.

    In diseases such as Newcastle disease, wattles may sometimes show a bluish discoloration.

    Biotin Deficiency, Including Fatty Liver and Kidney Syndrome
    Biotin deficiency has occured in turkeys and chickens in many countries but is now rare in birds consuming properly formulated feeds. Reduced feed intake and blood sugar can precipitate fatty liver and kidney syndrome.

    Poor growth.
    Leg weakness.
    Scabs around eyes and beak.
    Thickened skin under foot pad, in embryos, webbing between toes.
    Sudden deaths in fatty liver and kidney syndrome.


    Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae (same organism that causes swine disease). Facultatively anaerobic and extracellular.
    Occurs sporadically, most economically important in turkeys.

    Ingestion, through skin breaks, through mucous membranes, and mechanically by insects. Shed in feces.

    Clinical signs:
    Acute septicemia resulting in sudden death (mortality 1-50%). Depression and unsteady gait may be seen prior to death. Rare chronic form with cutaneous lesions and swollen hocks. Vegetative endocarditis may occur in turkeys.
    Suspect in flocks that have been artificially inseminated 4-5 days before an episode of death without clinical signs.


    Pneumovirus (in the family paramyxoviridae).
    Also seen in chickens.
    Secondary E.coli infections can increase mortality.

    Direct contact, and possibly also aerosol and fomite transfer
    Clinical signs:
    Growing – Respiratory signs (rales, sneezing, frothy nasal discharge, foamy conjunctivitis, swelling of infraorbital sinuses, submandibular edema).
    Laying – Reduced feed consumption and decreased egg production.
    Chickens (broilers) – Mild respiratory signs followed by swollen heads.

    Hexamitiasis (Infectious Catarrhal Enteritis)

    Hexamitiasis is an acute infectious disease of turkeys, quail, ducks, chukar partridges and pigeons. Heavy losses have been reported in one outbreak in ring-necked pheasants. Chickens apparently are not affected.

    Hexamitiasis is a problem in every commercial turkey-producing area. It may be a major problem in localized areas during a particular year, followed by one or more years in which incidence is low.

    Hexamitiasis is caused by a one-celled parasite of the genus Hexamita. Hexamita meleagridis is the cause in turkeys; in pigeons it is Hexamita columbae. Experimentally, the Hexamita of turkeys can be transmitted to young quail, chicks and ducklings, and that of quail and partridges can be transmitted to poults. However, poults cannot be infected with the organism isolated from pigeons.

    This disease is found primarily in young birds, and outbreaks seldom occur in poults past ten or eleven weeks. Losses are most severe in birds three to five weeks old. Apparently, resistance develops rapidly with increasing age, regardless of previous exposure.
    The primary infection source is droppings from carrier birds. About a third of recovered birds become carriers. Most outbreaks result from a buildup of organisms through several broods of poults, making exposure of the following brood overwhelming. Indirect transmission may result from fecal material carried from one location to another on shoes or equipment. Free-flying birds also may be carriers.

    Primary symptoms are listlessness and foamy or watery diarrhea with rapid weight loss due to the dehydrating effect. Birds often huddle together near the heat source and cry or "chirp" constantly as though in pain. Convulsions due to lowered blood sugar levels shortly precede death. Affected birds suffer losses in weight and survivors remain stunted.
    Dehydration and emaciation are the principal gross lesions. Muscles are dark and dry. The intestine usually appears to have lost muscle-tone. Intestinal contents are usually thin and watery, or may contain mucus.

    Diagnosis depends upon history, symptoms and microscopic examination of intestinal contents. A definite diagnosis cannot be made unless typical flagellated organisms can be detected in intestinal contents of the duodenum. Most flagellate organisms in the cecae are not disease producers.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  4. TimTurkey

    TimTurkey Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2011
    Ashland, OR
    Thanks for the help, fellow turkey lovers...

    OK, after many hours of research, I now know more than I wanted to about turkey diseases. Go on, ask me anything.

    Gack! It could be blackhead. However, no other symptoms are present (increased thirst, decreased appetite, drowsiness, weakness, dry-ruffled feathers or dark cyanotic head) and their poo is less yellow, more light to medium brown, but not sulfur colored.
    Light brown, mucoid diarrhea (a better match for the color and consistency) is a symptom of Coccidiosis, but there is no blood or fetid odor to the poo. If if is, there is not much I can do about it. FYI, you can give apple cider vinegar as a prophylactic treatment, 1-4 Tbsp/gal of water.

    It could also be some kind of bacterial infection....

    Whatever is causing the diarrhea, the flock appears to be thriving; happy talk, lots of vigor, good appetite and growth (noticeably bigger every day), no piling or dark heads. In fact, they look like they are doing great.

    I am keeping the flock on acidophiles, and starting them on yogurt today [​IMG]

    I will keep you all updated here, or you can get more up to date info on my turkey blog, http://timturkey.com/blog/
  5. TimTurkey

    TimTurkey Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2011
    Ashland, OR
    I just found another source that describes blackhead diarrhea as brown and foamy; a good description of what I am seeing. I am going to try cayenne pepper today (1 rounded tablespoon per 20 liters of food); thanks for the article, farmerlor - https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=134230 post #10
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011

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