Kidney failure in turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by bunbury, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. bunbury

    bunbury Hatching

    Dec 14, 2011
    We got 2 turkeys (standard bronze) and a doz. chicks in May from Southern States. They are in a coop at night and free range over several acres during the day. Actually, the chickens fly out of the coop and roost in a tree for the night and the turkeys are alone in the indoor/outdoor coop. One turkey had a swelling in his leg and then became lethargic and eventually died. The vet came out and we gave him antibiotics and then he got worse and worse and... So a month later, the other turkey started showing the same lethargy and hide in the corner symptoms. We were just going to kill him so that he didn't have a long drawn out death like the other one. Then we decided that we wanted to know what was wrong and off to the exotic vet we went. They tested for everything, pneumonia and blackhead came back negative, the only positive was kidney failure. They said we were feeding too high a protein. We were feeding chicken layer feed at 16%. So I figure that he must be getting into something else but I can't imagine what. Now the vet says to feed him emu pellets because they are below 12% protein with cracked corn and 1/2 lb of bakery waste with twice daily medication - for the rest of his life.
    They are all just pets. We like the fresh eggs from the chickens though. We thought we would try again with turkeys in the spring and maybe some guineas. But not if we have to go through this every fall.
    Thank you for any ideas
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    That's strange. My two turkeys (a Royal Palm tom and a Blue Slate hen) both ate 16% layer feed and they were just fine. Maybe it was a genetic thing with them.

    Either that, or they were getting into something on the property that they shouldn't have been eating......

    If you try again, I would get the turkeys somewhere else......

  3. flocksalot

    flocksalot Songster

    Mar 25, 2011
    Poynette WI
    Usually you see Kidney failure from to much calcium too soon. I feed mine a Turkey/Duck/Goose feed. Guess I've never even thought of giving them chicken feed.
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007

    Did you ask the vet what led to dx of of compromised renal function?

    Is the `Standard Bronze' an `unimproved' variety, i.e., NOT Commercial Broad Breasted?

    I'd also guess genetic propensity in this particular line.

    Roosters and Toms have slightly different requirements, than do hens, for protein and calcium (but most common `gouty'/renal problems are owing to excess calcium). The amount of protein you describe shouldn't have been a problem.

    An article on gout:

    , owing to the swelling in leg, some other links in post 6 of this thread:
  5. bunbury

    bunbury Hatching

    Dec 14, 2011
    Thank you, I'll look at all that. It is not a 'big breast' type of bird. He looks like our native turkeys and I think his breed is a cross with them a long ago. They did mention gout and calcium but really focused on the protein. As a babies they had game starter and then game something-or-other and then chicken layer. All stuff I've heard other people doing. I can't figure out what they could be eating or drinking that would give them these problems.
    Thank you, again.

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