Is my heritage breed turkey too big?

happymom99

Songster
8 Years
Mar 6, 2011
266
33
161
California
Hi there. Today is the third day My 10 month old pet barred black turkey has been unable to stand or walk. Before this happened he was walking and running just fine. I finally got ahold of a vet who was willing to check him out for me but first she wanted me to text her pictures of him. So I did. she called me back and.... 😔

The vet said the problem is he is too big and cannot support his weight. I said I thought that was only a problem with Broad Breasted types, and mine is a heritage type. She said it doesn’t matter and that especially with the males this is a problem for them, even heritage breeds.

This is our first turkey. I’d so appreciate hearing from you who are more experienced and knowledgeable. Is my turkey big? Could that be the issue?

Thank you so much for any feedback.
 

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nchls school

Crowing
Apr 22, 2015
5,467
1,898
326
Tennessee
In the picture the tom's feet are off to the side or pushed out the front suggesting that they hurt. If he went from running/walking one day and the next couldn't do either I'd wonder about the vet's opinion.

Consider a different vet. Or give it some time and see if his feet improve.
Is he overweight for his breed?
 

happymom99

Songster
8 Years
Mar 6, 2011
266
33
161
California
In the picture the tom's feet are off to the side or pushed out the front suggesting that they hurt. If he went from running/walking one day and the next couldn't do either I'd wonder about the vet's opinion.

Consider a different vet. Or give it some time and see if his feet improve.
Is he overweight for his breed?
Thank you so much. I honestly don’t know if he is overweight for his breed. I don’t know what his weight should be.

Thing is, I can’t find another vet to see him. I’ve been trying to find someone to see him since this started- no one in my areas sees birds. The closest I found was an hour away and he is awful in the car. If I have to I will take him there- I have an appt for Monday morning, but I’d rather not put him through that.

The vet who is saying he is just too big is a mobile vet and she can come see him at the house on Sunday.
 
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Nay

Songster
Sep 19, 2017
118
320
146
Fife, Scotland
Hi there. Today is the third day My 10 month old pet barred black turkey has been unable to stand or walk. Before this happened he was walking and running just fine. I finally got ahold of a vet who was willing to check him out for me but first she wanted me to text her pictures of him. So I did. she called me back and.... 😔

The vet said the problem is he is too big and cannot support his weight. I said I thought that was only a problem with Broad Breasted types, and mine is a heritage type. She said it doesn’t matter and that especially with the males this is a problem for them, even heritage breeds.

This is our first turkey. I’d so appreciate hearing from you who are more experienced and knowledgeable. Is my turkey big? Could that be the issue?

Thank you so much for any feedback.
I'm no turkey expert, but how much does he weigh? He looks so much smaller than the Norfolk blacks turkeys around here, they can over 20 lbs dressed weight and look quite a lot bigger than your fellow. So I'm not sure about that.

Have you had a look at the feet and legs? Felt any hot spots? Anything that looks like bumblefoot? Could you take a picture of the bottom of his feet?

I found this thread that looks really useful and might help: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/bumblefoot-in-turkeys-according-to-the-vet.239859/
 
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VictoriaTemple

Songster
Aug 27, 2018
348
749
152
Southern Chester County, PA
Full disclosure, I have no experience with turkeys beyond stuffing and basting, but I just have to say, that vet sounds like she has a crop full of something stinky. Is she an avian vet, or experienced with poultry, or just someone willing to give an opinion? Sorry, maybe I’m being mean, I don’t mean to be.

Based on the examples of turkeys and meat-breed chickens I’ve seen, your tom doesn’t look obese. To have the legs just go out from under him seems very suspicious to me. Is he wheezing, coughing, sneezing, gasping, anything respiratory? Are his eyes watering? His wattles and caruncles look nice and bright, I don’t know about his cute little comb/snood, is it supposed to be light colored? What breed is he, btw? What’s his crop condition? Big and squishy? Small and flat, like he’s not eating anything? What are his poops like? Is he collecting diarrhea around his vent? Is he warm enough? Is his body temp too low or elevated, are his wattles warm or cool to the touch?

The reason I’m asking all these questions is I’m treating my Jersey Giant rooster (my avatar pic) for a respiratory infection, and it happened kind of how you described. Hero came out of the coop on New Years and parked himself next to my feed wagon, and looked me right in the eye and told me “Mom, I need help.” The avian vet helped a little over the phone (I can’t afford him). Preliminary diagnosis of a mycoplasma infection, although it might be salmonella. Treatment plan was simple: immediate quarantine, and keep him warm, breathing, and fed, in that order. After a month in the house with occasional trips outside to the quarantine pen, Hero is on the mend, but definitely still ill.

Heat is the key. If you think he’s sick, get him out of the cold and in front of a heater or heat lamp. If there is any sign at all of respiratory distress or any discharge from the eyes or nostrils, get some VetRx and rub it on his comb/snood, wattles, and breast. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically Vick’s VapoRub for poultry. It’s cheap and remarkably effective, any feed store should have it. Simple high-carb foods got Hero on his feet, things like white bread, rice, and oatmeal. Cornmeal would have been good too. His crop was terribly inflamed, so things that he didn’t have to predigest kept him alive. When he was a little better, I gave him some fodder sprouts- the seeds were softer and packed a bigger nutritional punch than dry seed. Hero loves green, so he graduated to kale and bamboo leaves after that, and started eating his milled feed again. I tried everything, fruit, peanut butter, popcorn, anything to keep him nourished and interested in living. Baby aspirin twice a day helped him breathe until the inflammation went down, once he stopped wheezing he refused to take it, and I didn’t push. He is still in the house, sleeping in my bathtub where it’s quiet and warm. He hates it, but he’s alive, thank God.

I hope your boy gets better soon! The only other thing I can think it might be is a cardiac event or an injury of some kind. You’ll have to check him over carefully for injury. As for a heart problem, it is a fact of life for certain larger fowl, without knowing anything about his breeding I wouldn’t know. I think one of the signs of congestive heart failure is fluid swelling in the chest and legs, kind of like a human with edema. I hope that’s not the problem, I wouldn’t know anything you can do for him then.

Good luck and God bless you, @happymom99. I hope your tom recovers. Btw, you have the most adorable avatar I’ve ever seen! :hugs
 
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happymom99

Songster
8 Years
Mar 6, 2011
266
33
161
California
In the picture the tom's feet are off to the side or pushed out the front suggesting that they hurt. If he went from running/walking one day and the next couldn't do either I'd wonder about the vet's opinion.

Consider a different vet. Or give it some time and see if his feet improve.
Is he overweight for his breed?
Hi there. Thank you. Yes, I am questioning the opinion, but I have no one else to take him to. That is why I’m asking here. I live in So California, outside Los Angeles. Not much livestock,
turkeys, or avian vets here. 😔

as for being overweight, I don’t know. I don’t know what is normal. I weighed him today. He is 48#.
 

happymom99

Songster
8 Years
Mar 6, 2011
266
33
161
California
I'm no turkey expert, but how much does he weigh? He looks so much smaller than the Norfolk blacks turkeys around here, they can over 20 lbs dressed weight and look quite a lot bigger than your fellow. So I'm not sure about that.

Have you had a look at the feet and legs? Felt any hot spots? Anything that looks like bumblefoot? Could you take a picture of the bottom of his feet?

I found this thread that looks really useful and might help: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/bumblefoot-in-turkeys-according-to-the-vet.239859/
Hi there. Thank you so much. Yes, I’ve looked at his legs and feet. No hotspots. Nothing that looks like Bumblefoot. His feet are curling though.

I’m sorry I didn’t get a pic of his feet today, and now it is dark. I will take a pic of his feet tomorrow.

I got his weight. He is 48#. I have no idea what is an appropriate weight for him.
 
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happymom99

Songster
8 Years
Mar 6, 2011
266
33
161
California
Could be a nutrition issue. What are you feeding? Chicken feed doesn't have all they need.
Friend had a BBB that the leg turned out. Vet gave him a shot of selenium and vitamins.
@R2elk knows what vitamin and is a turkey expert. Neither one of us keep turkey as pets, more as livestock
I feed him turkey/game feed, and he also gets into the chicken feed, which is organic lay feed. I’m giving him electrolytes and vitamins now, in his water.

I totally get that you keep them as livestock. I eat turkey and meat myself, but not this guy. He is definitely a pet, and my youngest is especially attached to him. I hope we can save him.

Here is a valentine my youngest wrote for him. He will be heartbroken if we lose him, which if is what happens we will get through and he will be ok. Losing pets is part of life. But I hope we can save him. Papi actually calls to my son at his bedroom window with gobbles, to get him to come out. They’ve become quite close.
 

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