My turkey is ill...

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Forestlass, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Forestlass

    Forestlass Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 16, 2011
    Hi, there. This is my first post here, and unfortunately, it's because one of my turkeys is sick.

    I have three turkeys, two of which I hand raised (my first ones, though I've kept chickens and ducks for many years). The two I hand raised are Broad Breasted Bronzes, and the third is a Broad Breasted White. They're about three months old, and just two days ago, my male, Danno, seemed ill. I was worried immediately because he's usually bright and active, so when I noticed his lethargic behavior, droopy wings, and head hanging towards the ground, I was very alarmed. Right away I picked him up and started checking him out. It turns out that he had many tiny bugs (lice? ticks? I haven't been able to correctly ID them), on his head and neck. I removed them (a disgusting number) and have been feeding him scrambled eggs, yoghurt, and his pellet feed by hand since then, 2-3x per day. I do give him water by hand as well, but when I went out to check on him early this morning, he was awake and drinking on his own (very heartening since he wasn't before!). When I first started doing this, he wasn't defecating very often, and when he did, it was very watery and thin, with a slightly yellow color. Now, he's going much more often and the color has changed to brown mixed with white, but it's still diarrhea. I'm noticing a small improvement; he seems livelier, at least, and isn't standing with his beak resting on the ground anymore. But, I was feeding him a little bread about a half hour ago, and his crop seemed a little on the large side, though I didn't look at it after I fed him a few hours earlier. I pressed on it and when whatever was in there began to come back up, I noticed a rather gross smell. It's extremely hot and I'm not sure if it's the smell of all the yoghurt he's been eating mixed with his body heat/his body breaking it down/the external heat, or something more serious like sour crop.

    Regarding the bugs: we've never had a problem with them before, and I've gotten a material to take care of them. I live in Turkey (har, har. Turkeys in Turkey, I know), so finding the alternative names of this pesticide was a little difficult. It's called Propetamphos, or Blotic, Safrotin, and Seraphos. I'm not sure that I want to continue using it now that I've found very clear descriptions of what it is, etc. I prefer using natural methods to treat my animals. If I'm not comfortable handling something because of its toxicity, it's very unfair for me to use it on them. Regardless, the turkeys are clean now and sleeping in a location far from their original one. After the dry season is over and I can light a fire without worrying about burning the whole forest down, I'm going to burn their old sleeping location and make a more permanent one elsewhere.

    I would really love some advice as to what's wrong with him. Though all three are special to me, Danno is my favorite--he was the smaller of the two as a tiny poult (I didn't get Agnes until later) and everyone poked fun at him because he was a little on the strange side. So, please help! I just want him better and flying around the yard again!
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  2. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    Oh, I'm so sorry to hear of your problems.

    It could be a number of things. I don't know if blackhead disease is found in the Old World, its found here in North America in pockets, caused by a protozoan. That is one possibility, although based on the symptoms I'd say probably not the most likely one.

    Sour crop is certainly another possibility.

    Can you buy antibiotics over the counter in Turkey? If so, I'd try to get a broad spectrum antibiotic and treat with that. One sold here called Tylan is a good one, its sold as either an injectible or an oral drug. The injectible would probably be better. Perhaps you can find something equivalent.

    And, of course, supportive care -- water with electrolytes, food if he'll take it. Some people have luck with adding a few tablespoons (1 tablespoon is 15 mililiters) of apple cider vinegar to a quart of water. Cayenne pepper added to the feed seems to help with various issues as well, although I've never tried it.

    Good luck, I hope this goes well. The fact that his droppings are changing back to brownish is a good sign.
  3. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2010
    Aitkin, MN
    Lice or mites in very high numbers can wear a bird down. If you have successfully treated the bugs, keep with the hand feeding until things improve. Do yo have a place where your turkeys can take dust baths? This is one way they fight parasaites by themselves. But you would not be able to pull off the lice by hand, they would be too small and too fast. How big were these bugs? I have never found a tick on a turkey, and we live in tick central, USA.

    I would keep doing what your doing, but try to ID the bug.
  4. Forestlass

    Forestlass Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 16, 2011
    We do actually have a place for them to take dust baths. He had none on his body, just neck and head. These bugs were quite small, but were attached in the same way as ticks. The larger ones, filled with blood, looked just like ticks. I'm thinking it's possible they could be something akin to turkey mites--since they're not really mites, but a larval lone star tick.

    Thank you for the advice.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  5. Forestlass

    Forestlass Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 16, 2011
    @ Denninmi

    Thank you for the advice! I don't know if they have Tylan here. I'm going to check and see what the vet has right away. I certainly hope he gets better...
  6. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Could be ticks (check some of these `bugs' out with a jeweler's loupe/magnifying glass):
    of ticks at work:

    be examining all the turk's VERY closely (if they are mites they tend to hang out around feathers near the butt (fundament) but they are tiny:

    dog/cat tick & flea spray containing Pyrethrin is probably safest alternative to organophosphates (like first product you listed):

    bird nests that have been abandoned can be heavily infested with mites and after dropping to ground. A turk could also get into a nest of ticks and they do transmit disease, along with the blood sucking.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011

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