Do ALL poults get unbalanced when they are growing feathers or is mine sick?

wlhtx

Songster
7 Years
Jun 14, 2012
496
67
118
East Texas
I'm a total newbie to turkeys. We bought 3 and 2 have died within the last week. They are about 4-6 weeks old and are growing out wing feathers. Before the others died, they were all wobbly and acting like they had a hard time walking. We thought maybe it was the feather-growing thing and/or they were too cold. However, now we're convinced that they might be sick. To be fair, we probably haven't kept them as warm as they should have been. (We've been keeping the heat lamps we have on the new chicks.) The lone survivor is eating and drinking - I have watched her do both today. She did have pasty butt today, which was cleaned off. But she still doesn't act like she can walk. I wouldn't call her "lethargic" exactly. She does sleep a lot, but she mainly just sits there and watches us. Is this a salmonella thing, or do all poults get wobbly? If this IS salmonella, what the heck do I do about that? HELP!
 

flocksalot

Songster
8 Years
Mar 25, 2011
1,803
14
151
Poynette WI
No they should not be wobbly. What are you feeding them? If they are only 4 to 5 weeks they still need some supplemental heating. Are they on the ground or in a brooder? If she's not up and running around she is lethargic. Turkeys are very active normally.

Food should be a turkey or game bird starter and it will be medicated.
Until fully feathered turkeys need supplemental heat.
Turkeys should be kept in a brooder and off soil until they are fully feathered. Some say up to 13 weeks.
Poults do not do well in wet or cold.
 

wlhtx

Songster
7 Years
Jun 14, 2012
496
67
118
East Texas
She is in a brooder. Has ever been on the ground. She gets chick starter for food. I wonder if that's the problem.
 

ivan3

spurredon
12 Years
Jan 27, 2007
4,511
219
291
BOCOMO
wlhtx wrote: To be fair, we probably haven't kept them as warm as they should have been. (We've been keeping the heat lamps we have on the new chicks.) The lone survivor is eating and drinking - I have watched her do both today. She did have pasty butt today, which was cleaned off. But she still doesn't act like she can walk. I wouldn't call her "lethargic" exactly. She does sleep a lot, but she mainly just sits there and watches us. Is this a salmonella thing, or do all poults get wobbly?

Are they wobbly like drunken sailor/vertigo (swaying), or do they seem to have a problem supporting wt. with one leg or the other (falling over/lying down)?
What has been the ~lowest temp./~avg. overall temp in brooder since you got them? Any drafts?
 
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wlhtx

Songster
7 Years
Jun 14, 2012
496
67
118
East Texas
Unfortunately my lone survivor turkey died last night. Bur for my own education and that of others who may read this, I would like to continue the conversation. It was more like she couldn't support her weight. She would stand up to try to walk and would kind of struggle a bit before just laying back down. All of our brooders are kept in our metal (but well insulated) shop building. We do open the big shop door during the day, so - yes - I would imagine there were some drafts. The door was closed at night though. Because the turkeys had their wing feathers, I was sharing one heat lamp between the turkey and some of our older chicks that are also mostly feathered in. So, she did not have a constant heat source. (In hindsight I would do this differently.). We live in Texas, so our temps recently have been pretty mild. I'm not sure what the lowest temp would have been.

I really think now that diet played a large part of this. Would lack of enough protein cause them to act weak, contributing to the walking issues?
 

ivan3

spurredon
12 Years
Jan 27, 2007
4,511
219
291
BOCOMO
Sorry you lost them :( They were Broad Breasted poults? Though not ideal, the Chick Starter would have just been consumed in larger amounts; `impacted' crops at worst - growth rate slowed down - some stress but usually not a killer. Were they sleeping/hanging out during day all piled together? Trying to `fluff-out' down and feathers to stay warm? Poults exposed to low temps during first few weeks have a tendency to develop leg problems (spraddle leg). However, in BB's this can also be the result of genetic propensity and, in all varieties, too high a temp. during second week of incubation has been reported to result in a greater number of leg/hip problems in poults. If disease could have been ruled-out, then I'd guess environmental stress (too low/fluctuating temps). Just want to put in a good word for folding `dog' cages to brood small numbers of chicks/poults. We placed cage on an old bed sheet (folded up over sides - no drafts/no kicked out bedding): With chooks: How poults, that are warm enough, `crash-out':
 

junkprospector

Songster
11 Years
Nov 28, 2008
111
10
123
Boise, ID
This is good info to have. Sorry you lost your turkeys. Mine is about the same age and getting bigger now. I was just wondering if i should take the heat lamp out but i think not after reading this. maybe another 3 weeks or so - depending on fethering...
 

kuntrygirl

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
11 Years
Feb 20, 2008
22,031
784
461
Opelousas, Louisiana
I will just throw this out.............. In the future, if your poults experience unbalance, roll up a towel in the shape of a doughnut and place them in it overnight to start out with. This will allow them to gain strength.

As everyone has stated, heat is VERY important. You may also want to keep some yogurt on hand and allow them to peck and eat on that.

Sorry for your losses.
 

wlhtx

Songster
7 Years
Jun 14, 2012
496
67
118
East Texas
Mine were the white holland turkeys. I'm not sure if that means they were double breasted or not. They really were a sporadic purchase by my husband. (We've always done really well raising chicks and assumed they would be similar.). They did great when the were little. Very curious, very active. They grew out their wing feathers, so we moved them to a slightly larger brooder. At that time, looking back in hindsight, is when we took the heat lamp off of them b a consistent basis and started sharing their lamp with other feathered out chicks (which did fine with the sporadic heating). It was shortly thereafter when they started acting wobbly. From there they dropped like flies. We at first thought that they might have gotten sick, but now I realize it was diet and/or environmental mistakes on our part. I've seen other people refer to "spraddle leg," but I don't know what that looks like exactly. I just know that ours would sometimes huddle together, sometimes sleep apart. And at the end, when they would try to walk around, they would often spread their wings out - almost like a drunk person would, trying to keep their balance. Then the would flop around and really struggle to move over to where the wanted to be.

Here is my last "survivor" the day before she died. With her new best friend, our barn kitty, who was absolutely fascinated with her. (And who never made a move to hurt her.)

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