Injured Turkey: found large old wound

Sethman

In the Brooder
May 19, 2019
10
4
19
I noticed yesterday that one of my Bourbon Red hens was acting strangely. After I caught her I found a rather large wound under one wing. Maybe 4x3 inches. Absolutely no skin. The worse part though is towards the middle on the wound there is a fairly sizable hole maybe 3/4 inch deep by an inch round, you can tell a chunk of muscle is exposed and some of it missing. I didn’t have my phone on me so didn’t get a picture. It looks like it has been this way for several days now the whole wound is completely dried out, think hard and jerky looking especially where the muscle is exposed. Looking back I realize she has been acting not quite herself for at least four days. Like I said she was acting normal enough (eating grains, foraging, drinking water, roosting) for me to not notice but enough that I finally said she’s being weird. Luckily it’s been very cold over the weekend with snow, which was probably very hard for her with a wound, but I think it prevented it from being infected. There isn’t any foul smell or pus that I can find after cleaning it once. I do not know what would have cause this. They are in a rather large run that has both covered and uncovered areas also there are a few ducks in there with them. They mostly ignore one another.

Since I discovered her wound I’ve brought her inside and sprayed vetricyn on it. However at this point since it’s so dried out I don’t know what the next steps should be. She let me wrap her with vet wrap so she couldn’t pick at it anymore. I think she was and was making it worse. Should I cut away some of the dried tissues, just leave it be, continue spraying and wrapping it, spray it with blu Kote as well? I’m also worried that separating her at this point is going to cause more stress than let her rest and heal. I think if I were to treat it, wrap it and put her back out with the other two turkeys they wouldn’t bother her or the wrap. The weather in our area has been pretty horrible and it’s going to rain for the next week. I don’t want her to get soaked and then make the wound worse. Any advice would be appreciated. There isn’t really any vets available for me to take her to, let alone getting a full grown hen turkey there would be quite difficult. I’ll get a picture later today if I can manage to hold her wing up and take one at the same time.
 

R2elk

Magical, perfect creature
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Feb 24, 2013
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Natrona County, Wyoming
I noticed yesterday that one of my Bourbon Red hens was acting strangely. After I caught her I found a rather large wound under one wing. Maybe 4x3 inches. Absolutely no skin. The worse part though is towards the middle on the wound there is a fairly sizable hole maybe 3/4 inch deep by an inch round, you can tell a chunk of muscle is exposed and some of it missing. I didn’t have my phone on me so didn’t get a picture. It looks like it has been this way for several days now the whole wound is completely dried out, think hard and jerky looking especially where the muscle is exposed. Looking back I realize she has been acting not quite herself for at least four days. Like I said she was acting normal enough (eating grains, foraging, drinking water, roosting) for me to not notice but enough that I finally said she’s being weird. Luckily it’s been very cold over the weekend with snow, which was probably very hard for her with a wound, but I think it prevented it from being infected. There isn’t any foul smell or pus that I can find after cleaning it once. I do not know what would have cause this. They are in a rather large run that has both covered and uncovered areas also there are a few ducks in there with them. They mostly ignore one another.

Since I discovered her wound I’ve brought her inside and sprayed vetricyn on it. However at this point since it’s so dried out I don’t know what the next steps should be. She let me wrap her with vet wrap so she couldn’t pick at it anymore. I think she was and was making it worse. Should I cut away some of the dried tissues, just leave it be, continue spraying and wrapping it, spray it with blu Kote as well? I’m also worried that separating her at this point is going to cause more stress than let her rest and heal. I think if I were to treat it, wrap it and put her back out with the other two turkeys they wouldn’t bother her or the wrap. The weather in our area has been pretty horrible and it’s going to rain for the next week. I don’t want her to get soaked and then make the wound worse. Any advice would be appreciated. There isn’t really any vets available for me to take her to, let alone getting a full grown hen turkey there would be quite difficult. I’ll get a picture later today if I can manage to hold her wing up and take one at the same time.
Your description of the wound indicates that it is a breeding wound. These typically happen when there are too few turkey hens that are in with multiple toms. In such cases, one tom will knock another tom off of the hen's back, the tom being knocked off can rip the hen's side as he struggles to keep his balance and position on her back. Another time this can happen is when a tom finds a hen sitting on a nest and takes that as an invitation to breed. The hen's struggles to resist can also cause the tom to slip and rip her side open or even smash the eggs she is sitting on.

You have cleaned the wound and sprayed it with Blu-Kote. Turkeys can be very resilient and heal from severe wounds on their own.

The most important part is to prevent any toms from having access to her. If it was mine, I would not wrap the wound. It would be best to keep her somewhere that she can be dry.
 

SnapdragonQ

Songster
Feb 2, 2020
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R2elk has given you some good advice and she will probably heal from this just fine. I don't think you need to separate her out from the others, but if you do have a tom, I would get him and trim or file his nails and his spurs.
You do not need to take much off as the goal is to make them very blunt. Dog nail trimmers will nip off the tips, or a hoof file for smaller hooves like a goat, work well too.
This happened to one of my hens and I made it a point to trim my tom's nails and spurs regularly and it helped a lot.

While your hen is healing you can use a turkey apron on her, like the ones made for hens who have bald backs from over active roosters. You may need to google around to find them, or if you have/know of someone with a sewing machine they are easy to make. I made several and between having them handy during breeding season and keeping up with the tom's nails/spurs, it didn't happen again.
 

Sethman

In the Brooder
May 19, 2019
10
4
19
R2elk and SnapdragonQ thank you for your responses. I do agree that it could have been a breeding injury. Our turkeys are just turning a year old, we have two hens and one tom. Is that an appropriate ratio? We haven’t seen any over breeding happening as of yet. We don’t think he’s very good at his job yet. I haven’t trimmed his spurs as of yet because they are still rather small, although it could have just as easily have been from one of his toes as well.

I’m not really concerned that she won’t recover, with the behavior she is exhibiting, she seems active and eating well. She’s gobbling all the extra snacks I’m giving her for being a good turkey. I am concerned with the the big hole though. There is muscle tissue exposed that has dried out significantly. I’m worried that skin won’t be able to grow over. I know this process takes quite a while. You think that just continually spraying Blu-Kote until it heals is the best coarse of action? That the tissue that has dried out so much will cause any issues? I’ve had poultry with skin wounds but not quite this severe before. I think that I’m going to keep her in the garage until the rain stops. I also believe I should keep it covered until it starts to heal more. I’ve witnessed her ripping at the dry tissue and don’t want her to make it worse. She doesn’t seem to be bothered by being wrapped up or cooped up in the crate in the garage. I don’t know if the other two turkeys have or will pick at her, I would like to keep that from happening until she is more herself.
 

R2elk

Magical, perfect creature
Premium member
7 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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Natrona County, Wyoming
R2elk and SnapdragonQ thank you for your responses. I do agree that it could have been a breeding injury. Our turkeys are just turning a year old, we have two hens and one tom. Is that an appropriate ratio? We haven’t seen any over breeding happening as of yet. We don’t think he’s very good at his job yet. I haven’t trimmed his spurs as of yet because they are still rather small, although it could have just as easily have been from one of his toes as well.
I try to keep a minimum of 4 to 5 hens for one tom.

The spurs aren't the issue. It is the toenails that can rip a hen wide open.

I would make sure that the tom does not have access to her until after she heals.
 

SnapdragonQ

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Vetericyn, or plain neosporin, will keep the area moist as the tissues heal, but the gentian violet in Blu-Kote (what makes the spray purple) helps cover the visibility of wounds and raw flesh which attracts picking in poultry in general, even on themselves.

4 to 5 hens per tom is about the right amount, but at times I've kept only 2 hens with my tom, however both hens wore aprons and Mr Tom got regular manicures.
Be sure to keep an eye on your other hen as she is now the only one getting all the tom's attention. He's new and clumsy at this and like most birds, she might be very good at hiding some injuries of her own.

Look around the turkey forum and you will probably see threads on similar wounds, with pictures, and will see what those owners did and how well they healed. If that doen't help check out the general injury and emergency subforum.... It's jaw dropping what birds can heal from and there is a lot of good information for different approaches for different kinds of wounds. Without a picture of your turkey's injury it can be hard to give you more specific details.
 

Sethman

In the Brooder
May 19, 2019
10
4
19
Thanks again. The rain stopped late this afternoon. So I cleaned and redressed her injury, I was also able to get a photo. I’ve let her outside to rejoin the others for the night, however it’s going to rain heavily again durning the day, so I think I’ll bring her back inside for the day. The other hen doesn’t have any injuries. I checked her over. I also trimmed the tom’s nails like I would my dogs I checked his spurs and they are still fairly short and rounded on their own.

Thats cleaned the best I could get with some saline. It has some blue still on it from the hen healer. I’m just worried about the black tissue and how deep the hole is. It’s though the skin, fat and into muscle.
31953677-FDDD-4621-90BA-DBD3FD6D168C.jpeg
CAB91433-449E-4C2E-ABD9-E694D55F9508.jpeg
 

SnapdragonQ

Songster
Feb 2, 2020
353
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Hmmm, I might be inclined to use AluShield on a wound like this in addition to other products. It's an aerosol bandage that puts a protective silver coating over wounds without drying as much as BluKote does. It will keep out dirt while still allowing it to breathe and it can be applied over a fine layer of neosporin or moisturizing ointment.

You should be able to find it at farm supply places and maybe bigger walmarts in the pet section. If you find the silver doesn't prevent picking, though it should, you could lay down a good coat of AluShield, wait for it to dry and set, then give it a lighter "cover" spray with Blu-Kote for the color. The AluShield will help the healing and keep the Blu-kote on the surface and the purple color should (should) reduce self picking.

AluShield has terrific staying power and I started using it after my vet introduced it to me.
 

Sethman

In the Brooder
May 19, 2019
10
4
19
Ok I can look for that. She doesn’t mind being wrapped so I might just keep doing that as well until it heals some more.

so just so I have it right.
Layer Neosporin then alushield then a layer of BlueKote
 
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SnapdragonQ

Songster
Feb 2, 2020
353
1,944
133
VA
Yep, you could try initially just the AluShield, but if you want more moisture then do the neosporin first. Thin layer!
The BluKote is only needed if she still picks at it with the AluShield. Think of it as "purple paint" to trick her into not seeing the injury. Feel free to try what you think would work better, but I think the AluShield will be the best overall treatment.
Link is just for more info, you can probably find it locally-

AluShield
 
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