Feather pecking and when to euthanize.

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by CarlisChickens, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. CarlisChickens

    CarlisChickens New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    May 16, 2016
    I had 9 Broad breasted white turkeys, about 9.5 weeks old. Their official home is a 12x12 barn stall with a large feeder and large waterer. They have access to 300 acres and are constantly exploring. Since 2 weeks of age, I've had issues with feather pecking, usually the tail. Since I check on them at least once per day, I've managed to catch the victims early, separate them if needed, and treat with blue spray. I actually thought since they began free ranging, the problem was resolved since they have so many other things to do.

    This morning when I checked on them, one had about 50% of her body dark red and exposed, and her vent showed some signs of cannabilism. She appeared to be doing quite poorly - i.e. wouldn't move, barely peeped when I picked her up, extremely lethargic. She seemed to me to be on her way out. It looked so painful that I did not phone anyone or google anything to see if I could save her or not - I made a fast decision to euthanize her quickly.

    Now I'm just wondering if there are some kind of guidelines on when to euthanize for severe feather pecking, and when to try and rehabilitate. I could have tried to feed her electrolytes and treat her wounds in the house - Im just not sure that would have been very humane with how much raw skin was exposed. Or is it not actually as painful as it looks?

    I'd just like some more information to make a better informed decision for if it happens again. I'm not sure what else I could do management wise to prevent this... they have free access to the recommended feed, always have access to water, and have ample room. It was 30 degrees yesterday and they chose to spend the day in their barn stall because it was shady, but they were all panting. Maybe they were too hot?

    Thanks for the input!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,735
    4,437
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Turkeys don't tolerate pain well. If they are moving about normally or slightly off, they can probably handle it and allowing them to heal is an option. When they are hunched or flat out I would cull. From my experiences turkeys get shocky and give up.

    Heat can cause pecking as well as crowding, but you have plenty of room so I don't know why they are pecking. It could just be one that's the problem and it's leading it. What are you feeding? Sometimes not enough protein and sometimes too much protein can cause pecking.

    I haven't raised BB, so I'm unfamiliar with some of the nuances of keeping them.
     
  3. CarlisChickens

    CarlisChickens New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    May 16, 2016
    Thanks for the reply!

    I'm feeding a 22% grower ration that was recommended by the hatchery. Up until week 6 they were on a 26% medicated grower mash, also recommended by the hatchery.

    It was one of our first really hot days yesterday, so maybe that exacerbated it. Its shaping up to be just as hot today so I'll check on them more often I guess.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,735
    4,437
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Maybe run a box fan on them. It is strange that they did that.
     
  5. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

    12,409
    3,009
    441
    Mar 3, 2011
    The Land of Enchantment
    I would be more concerned with identifying the problem. Is it one bird in particular that does most of the picking? If so, separate that one out and your problem might be solved.
     
  6. CarlisChickens

    CarlisChickens New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    May 16, 2016
    I can't tell, they won't do it if I'm with them because they're distracted by me. I have a feeling its just a bad bird. I was also wondering about salt intake since all the pecking starts at the tail, and I read the preen gland tastes salty?
     
  7. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,339
    1,167
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    Maybe with all the free ranging they aren't eating as much feed and not getting as much nutrients and protein? Never raised turkeys though so idk but I know that can be a problem with chickens. Could try feeding a bit higher protein to make for the overall protein level being reduced a bit. Or try separating the problematic one if it's just one being a problem. Good luck! I'd love to get turkeys some day be no space right now. Are yours for meat I'm guessing? Or something else?
     
  8. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,339
    1,167
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts

    Make get a field camera or cheap webcam or those security cam things with the apps and set it up to see if you can see who's doing it?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by