Injured/sick turkey with bad leg, PLEASE HELP

LittleAmyG

Hatching
Jun 20, 2022
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First, thank you in advance for anyone that takes the time to read this post. About two years ago I started seeing turkeys in my backyard. I admired them from a distance. Sometimes I would see them every day, and other times weeks would go by without seeing them. This past winter there were about eight turkeys that would walk through my yard pretty frequently & would roost in my backyard a few times a week.

Come spring I would see them less and less until about two months ago when they stopped coming all together. Well about a month ago one of the toms (the flock this past winter consisted of six females and two males) started coming back every day. I've never seen one alone for an extended peroid of time so I don't know if this is normal or not.

As a side note, the turkeys have always kept a safe distance from me, and I have avoided feeding them, as everything I've read has advised against it.

Well this tom that started coming back around has a very bad limp and it's getting worse. He seems to get along just fine but will frequently stop and lay down in my lawn to rest his foot (I'm assuming that's what he's doing....also, I'm not sure if they're even called feet so I apologize if I'm using the wrong term here). He also will frequently stand on only his good leg. Whereas before I would go days without seeing the turkeys, now this one tom is at my house every day. He still leaves every afternoon but each morning he's in my backyard for at least two hours. Sometimes he roosts in the trees out back and other times he doesn't.

Yesterday I was able to get a pretty good look at his foot and it is INCREDIBLY swollen. It almost looks like there's a ball in the middle of his foot/ankle. I've attached some photos that I was able to take from about six feet away, so they aren't the best.



I've done some research and think it could be bumblefoot, but I can't get close enough to really see the swelling/injury up close.

He seems a lot tamer than I've ever seen any of the other turkeys before and that concerns me. It also worries me that he's all alone and it appears his foot is very infected. I just don't want him to suffer, but again...he's not a pet so it's not like a can get anywhere near him to put any type of ointment on the wound. Nor would I want to since he's a wild animal and I don't want him to be tame and not be able to live in the wild.

So I guess my question is...is there anything I can do for this poor guy?? Or do I need to just let Mother Nature take its course?? Are there any agencies/non profits that anyone is aware of that can help in a situation like this?? I live in New Hampshire. I'm worried sick about him and don't know where to turn. I'm very worried that the infection will just keep getting worse and he will suffer and be in a lot of pain. Thanks in advance, Amy.
 

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As that appears to be a wild turkey I would let it be. You could call your DNR and ask. Definitely don't handle it or pen it as it's illegal to harbor wild birds.
Thank you, yes he is definitely a wild turkey. I would never handle him or pen him, and as he's wild I don't believe he would even let me get anywhere close to him to do so. I guess I was hoping there's some magical cure. Thank you for the prompt reply.
 
Thank you, yes he is definitely a wild turkey. I would never handle him or pen him, and as he's wild I don't believe he would even let me get anywhere close to him to do so. I guess I was hoping there's some magical cure. Thank you for the prompt reply.
I definitely understand wanting to help him. It could just be a sprain or strain. He still looks spry are mobile so he may improve on his own.
 
I definitely understand wanting to help him. It could just be a sprain or strain. He still looks spry are mobile so he may improve on his own.
Honestly, thank you SO much for saying that. I feel like I'm worrying so much about this guy when he's a wild animal. But over the past month he's hung out in my yard for at least two hours every single day so I've come to care about the fella.
I really hope it is just a sprain/strain and not an infection. As I don't know what the odds are of an infection clearing up on its own. But you're right, he does still look healthy. I don't know what a "sick" turkey looks like so it's nice to hear from someone else that he looks good.
Like I mentioned in my original post, it worries me that he's all alone since I've never seen a turkey by themselves for an extended peroid of time. But that could very well just be me attributing human emotions of loneliness to him when in actuality he's perfectly fine flying solo (see what I did there?? Lol :) :) ).
He doesn't appear to have lost any weight and his coloring is still majestic as ever if that counts for anything.
Thank you again for your thoughtful replies.
 
He's probably hiding out from the other toms as they will want to fight more with him because he has a weakness. He's smart to stay away from the others for a while. He may even have gotten hurt fighting. Turkey fights can go on and on. When he's ready, or breeding season is over he will find other turkeys again.

I got emotionally involved with a stray cat that runs like it's feral. Now all I do is wonder about him. Sometimes it's best not to look around outside. I've been known to name the pigeons, and look for the deer daily. Now I have a fox taking my birds and I'm torn between protecting my birds or letting nature be. It's not always easy for some of us. :)
 
There is a turkey in my town that got hit by a car. Half of her leg got ripped off. Really sad. I figured she wouldn't be able to survive with one leg. Three years later she is still hopping around on one foot and is maintaining a decent weight. She even had chicks last year. There might be hope for your Tom.

I do believe that your wild tom is hiding out from the other turkeys because they attack eachother when they see weakness--nature's way of weeding out the weak. I have raised turkeys for 15 years and chickens for 24 years. I had a rooster with very persistent bumble foot. I took him to the vet a few times. What finally fixed it was an antibiotic injection and me washing his foot twice a day. I also made him a little bootie. My point being, as long as he is still eating and drinking and is maintaining a healthy weight he might get by ok. I hope. I know it is hard to watch a wild animal struggle without being able to help them. You are a good person for watching out for him.
 

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