Leg problems and BBB. Need advice!

Henny Penny04

In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 15, 2011
This is our first year with turkeys, and probably our last. It's been tough. We went with broad breasted because I could get them from the feed store, and didn't want the minimum order from a hatchery. Bad decision. At any rate, here's my problem and maybe you can help me out:
Our healthy turkeys went to the processors this morning. I kept three back because they are limping and favoring a leg. After much reading, I understand that BB turks develop leg problems, much like CX chickens do. Is there anything I can do for these three? One of them hasn't walked in a couple weeks and requires a lot of care to keep healthy and clean. Clearly, it's time to put her down somehow. The other two have developed a pronounced limp over the course of this last week. I didn't know if it was safe to process them, considering they may have inflammation in their bodies. When I feel their hocks, they do feel warm and possibly swollen.

Turkeys are 15 weeks old.
They weigh between 15 and 20lbs
Fed Flockraiser. On grass pasture.
We fought off a respiratory issue a couple weeks ago, resulting in the loss of several turkeys
Eating and drinking normally

Asprin? Tumeric? Vitamins in the water? Has anybody ever seen their turkeys recover enough to process?
Thank you in advance!
I have zero experience with turkeys, and little experience with meat birds. I can tell you one of my Heritage White meat chickens went lame, and I went ahead and ate him. On processing, I discovered he had a broken leg, and his pelvis snapped in my hands as I was separating the thigh. He still made a fine soup.
Process them before they get worse, they are a commercial breed and not for a small family farm ! Buy yourself some heritage turkeys from a local breeder. White Hollands will give you almost the same yield, reproduce naturally, but take longer to mature. BB are hybrids that are not a natural turkey! If you lived closer, you could have a couple of mine!

If I ever do a turkey again, it'll be a heritage, that's for sure. So, there's no way to help with swollen hocks? Are the birds safe to eat? I'm assuming it's structural problems at the root, but there is swelling/inflammation.
We show turkeys and chickens all we ever get are CX and BB. They grow so fast and we feed high protein you have to supplement them for stronger bones. We have our different ways. some give them calcium like cuttle bones etc. I add polyvisol baby liquid vitamins or a poultry drench vitamin to their waters when they are chicks. I don't have leg issues anymore. But if you are just raising them for your personal consumption I have tasted other "Breeds" of Turkey and I am not sure if it was what it was fed or the actual breed but they have a more "flavorful" taste. Turkeys are fun enjoy.
I would definitely process ASAP, they should have been sent to the processor with others. Once they have leg prolems there is no helping them. The best you can do is process and put them in your freezer. Yes they are safe to consume.

Once we move I am coming to get a couple of White Hollands from you for my Project. I can't wait to move so I can have chickens that produce eggs and turkeys that are PRETTY.
I would definitely process ASAP, they should have been sent to the processor with others. Once they have leg prolems there is no helping them. The best you can do is process and put them in your freezer. Yes they are safe to consume.
I completely agree that they need to go to freezer camp. Last year I did BB's and fought really hard for some of them just to survive. Several couldn't stand and two died the day after they went down.

This year I did 12 White Hollands with no problems. But I took in 2 BB's because some FFA kids had two in a 4x4 run and they looked awful when I took them in. Well, they couldn't go in with the Wh's so I put them in with the chickens on straight chicken pellets. Amazingly they did great. Just did the Tom at 40 lbs and the hen at 31 lbs much more healthy than the BBB's last year. I will be willing to do BB's again only this time I will keep them on chicken pellet. It seems to me they don't need the extra proteen. Just judging from my success this year.
I agree with what everyone else has said, the turkeys need to be processed ASAP to minimize pain for them, and they should be safe to eat. I just processed a BBW tom the other day that has been limping on one leg for several weeks. He was overdue to be done, and when I got him plucked, it was pretty obvious that he was hurting badly. There was some bruising around the hock joint, and the joint didn't work properly. My neighbor tells me that if you brine a bird with bruising like this, it will draw out the extra blood.

I loved my BBW's and never fed them grower, just grains, some added protein, and whatever they could forage. But because of the health problems BB's can get, I think I may stick with heritage breeds for a while.

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