Early Poult Flip-Over


Cluck of My Life
10 Years
Dec 16, 2009
Elba Twp, MI
Hello all... I am hoping someone has more knowledge about EPF than me. I have just hatched a poult with EPF. He meets all the symptoms, but is otherwise just fine (if he is on his back a while ..like overnight... he is fine, but he must be flipped over by hand.) Is there any cure for EPF or is it something a poult can grow out of or, SADLY, is it a cull situation. Please let me know. I don't want the fella to suffer, but I also don't want to cull something that has a chance.


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 27, 2011
A large number of poults from a line (E) selected long-term for increased egg production were observed, in recent generations, to flip over during the week immediately after hatching. This condition, termed early poult flip-overs (EPF), is characterized by the poults falling on their back and being unable to right themselves without assistance. Poults that flip over more than once appear to lack neurological control, lying on their backs with their legs paddling. If handled, the affected poult moves its head laterally and after several seconds appears to go to sleep. When placed on litter, the poult has no sense of balance and falls to one side or the other and starts paddling its feet. Poults that flip over may also chirp loudly. Observations from previous years indicate that no bacterial infectious agent was associated with the EPF condition. Affected poults have increased mortality relative to normal poults that do not flip over. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effects of inheritance, beak trimming, hatching time, genetic growth potential, and poult hydration on the incidence of EPF. The E line had a greater incidence of EPF than its randombred control line, indicating the possibility of a genetic basis for the condition. However, within the E line, the heritability, based on variation among full-sib families, of the occurrence of EPF (assuming that EPF is an all-or-none trait) was low, being 0.044 and 0.052 in 2 consecutive yr. The heritability of the number of days (out of five) a poult continued to flip over was somewhat higher [0.26+/-0.002 (SE)]. Genetic growth potential may influence incidence of EPF for, when the E line was crossed with a large-bodied experimental line selected for increased 16-wk BW, the frequency of EPF was reduced and BW at 13 d of age was increased in the cross relative to the pure E line even though poult weight was similar at hatching in the two genetic groups. In the E line, later hatching poults within a hatch had a greater incidence of EPF than those hatching earlier. Neither beak trimming with an electronic beak trimmer nor poult hydration influenced EPF.


12 Years
Jan 8, 2008
Some feel it is a cull situation as breeding the poult, if it survives, will only increase the incidence of EPF in your flock. Others, who view their poults as more pets feel it is ok to try and save it. I had one that after a week began flipping. I made it a chick chair out of a butter tub, massaged its tendons, made it shoes, hobbled its legs, fed it by hand, but there was no improvement. I stayed up late one night agonizing over what to do. I decided to cull. I got up the next morning and it was walking. At three weeks it still flips over some and seems to have seizures. It is very small compared to the rest, probably due to lack of food. I keep expecting to find it dead in the morning. I should cull it and put it out of its misery, but I cheer that it is alive every day.

I guess your response depends on 1) what you are raising the turkey for (breeding or pet) and 2) how much effort you are willing to put into saving it (with the recognition that it might still die or have to be culled)


Barefoot Bantams
9 Years
Sep 22, 2010
Upstate South Carolina
As stated above, depends on what you are raising it for.

I have one that did that for several days after he hatched. I just kept flipping him over. Most of the time he would be on his back in the feed dish. He got over it, on his own. He is marked to be a pet only. I do not plan to breed him.


Rest in Peace 1977-2013
9 Years
Jun 10, 2010
Tower City, PA
I had a poult hatch yesterday that must have EPF. He/She can't stay on their feet for more than a second. We tried using a towel wrapped in a circle to support him but he kicks until he is out and on his back again. I don't know if it matters but this poult had a green goo in the shell when it was hatching and the membrane/shell was stuck to his back for a while before we helped him.

A.T. Hagan

Don't Panic
12 Years
Aug 13, 2007
North/Central Florida
I get one of these on occasion with my Midget Whites that seem to meet the definition of EPF. Since I'm breeding for sale and future breeding I always cull those. In fact I cull everything that does not appear to be strong and healthy twenty four hours after hatching.

Decide what your breeding goals are then you'll know what to do in such situations.


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
11 Years
Feb 20, 2008
Opelousas, Louisiana
Thanks Alexander for posting the link.

MissD'uccle, from my experience (literally), they do have a chance. I have not lost one single poult that had the flip over problem from last year. This year, I have not had 1 single poult that had flip over. I'm not in any breeding program, so I don't sell my turkeys to "breeders". My turkeys are just as pets/hobby, so this is why I try to save them. Just follow what I did and your poult should be ok.

I don't think that there is a "cure" for this but like the other turkey experts say, it's in their genes/bloodline. The only thing that we can do is try to "correct" the problem. I was lucky that this only lasted about 4 days for mine and then it was gone.

Good Luck with your poult. Please keep us posted.
Last edited:


not rusty
12 Years
Feb 20, 2007
Shepherd, Texas
I just went through this with a poult, but thought it was because of spraddle leg. I wasn't aware this was an actual condition. I treated it like I would a chick, I hobbled it with some string to help it keep it's legs under itself, and in a day or two, it was able to keep it's balance well enough that I took the string off. It hasn't had a problem since. I've never had one have this problem before.


10 Years
Jun 26, 2009
Elbert County, Colorado
I had 3 flippers this year. I just went down and righted them every few hours. Took 4 days for the last one to stop doing it. I lost a bit of sleep, but they all made it. Now the last one is the biggest one. I only raise to eat though, so I am not worried about genetics.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom