Mystery Deaths

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by horsekeeper, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. horsekeeper

    horsekeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have lost two mature tom turkeys in the last 3 days. Both were large healthy birds about 1 1/2 years old and I found them just laying there with no marks or signs of illness. They are a small flock of 5 toms and 5 hens, sweetgrass and bourbon reds. Because the smallest tom was getting picked on he lived in on half of the pen with 4 roosters and the other 4 lived on the other side with the 5 hens. Every morning I go out and let the single tom, the roosters, and the hens out in the turkey yard and give them some scratch and whole corn. They all have fresh water and turkey pellets available at all times. After lunch I put the small tom and the roosters in their pen and let the rest out to do turkey things. They are in a 10x10 dog kennel that is reinforced with smaller wire and covered with tarps, so they get lots of fresh air while being protected from the weather.

    This happens very quickly, as the first one passed between morning and noon. I found the small tom this morning laying under the feeder. When I say small, I mean at least 20 pounds.

    There has been no sign of illness and both of them were acting normally energetic and interested in food and water.

    Any ideas what happened? This is a huge loss considering how long I have been feeding them and I am worried about the other three toms. I got them as hatching eggs and poults from local folks who raise turkeys, so they are not hatchery stock.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Snakebite? Could even be a weasel or some other predator, they kill without leaving obvious signs sometimes. Whole corn can be an issue for some birds, blocks them up, but generally you would have seen signs for days before death.

    No diarrhea? No change of poop color?

    If their heads were blackened, blueish, purplish, or darker than usual then cardiac arrest is possible. Could be congenital, hereditary, due to too much fat in the diet, toxic plants or baits being eaten, etc, lots of common causes; heart failure in poultry is common, so is cardiovascular and digestive system (especially liver-based) diseases. The diet that works for some kills others, different individuals have differing needs.

    Best wishes, hope the rest are okay.
     
  3. horsekeeper

    horsekeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the reply, Chooks. None of the above seem to apply and all I can think of is heart attack. Other than the other toms pulling out a little patch of feathers and pecking the face a bit after he died, they both look perfect other than not breathing. I guess I will get busy and process the rest before they just drop over dead.

    They are in a dog kennel that is down to bare dirt and bedded with straw. Their extra run is also down to bare dirt and has no noxious plants to get into. The whole area was new to poultry, so probably not harboring anything that would affect them. They were both acting robust and all are in good flesh and active both in and out of the pen. I feed them a good quality turkey/game bird pellet and throw some scratch and whole corn every morning so they don't get bored. They get an occasional treat and seem like a pretty happy flock.

    The flock had MG last year and I cleared it up with Denagard. This spring I successfully hatched poults from their eggs, so I think they were pretty healthy. The plan is to cull the entire flock for eating and start over fresh in the spring after the soil is rested and renewed to prevent a recurrence of the MG. I'm just disapointed I lost my rather expensive dinners and hope no more keel over before I can make room in the freezer.
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Wild birds bring in disease too, always something to consider. That said, while processing them, if I were you I'd check their organs, some diseases only show in organ examination. If you don't know if what you're seeing is normal or not you can always post photos, lots of knowledgeable people on this forum.

    Best wishes.
     
  5. ChickieMel

    ChickieMel Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2014
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    Hello-- my rio grande turkey (approx 16 weeks old) just dropped dead today with a bloody/bleeding rear end. I've been reading thread after thread and can't find an answer. I had another same turkey drop dead with a bloody/bleeding bottom about a month ago. Any ideas? They are with my chickens and eat layer feed. Many thanks!
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Are they male or female? Some diseases cause bleeding from the rectum but so can many injuries; i.e. female turkeys that fight while in laying season can end up with internal hemorrhage due to broken eggs internally.

    Coccidiosis is another possibility, but several diseases cause bleeding from the rectum; blackhead (histomoniasis) can also do that.

    Do you have an animal with a penis, i.e. a drake or gander? (Or, sorry to have to say it, a kid who's possibly curious? It happens)... Sometimes various animals cause deaths through mating with other species; rabbits, dogs, cats, other species of poultry, etc can all be culprits known to do this.

    If they're male turkeys, and the bleeding was bright red and lots of it, sounds like injury due to possibly mating, or possibly, you may have a cannibal who vent-pecks.

    If the blood was darker, clotted, and there was less of it, that's a milder internal injury most likely not caused by mating or cannibalism.

    Another thing to consider is that liver disease is fairly common among all poultry due to overprocessed diets, causes cardiovascular disease as well; only laying hens should be fed layer pellets generally.

    Best wishes.
     
  7. ChickieMel

    ChickieMel Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2014
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    Many thanks for the reply!
    All answers are "no".... No children, no predators, no male birds, and I am pretty sure it's not coccidiosis. I have a manager who tends to my flock and I'll ask him if the blood was fresh or dark. Thank you!!
     
  8. ChickieMel

    ChickieMel Out Of The Brooder

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    Worms! The chicken expert at the feed store said its most likely worms! Omg
    I'm about to treat with Wazine. :(
    Sad sad sad to be tossing out eggs for a week.....I like being organic but I don't want to lose another bird. :/
     
  9. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Don't use wazine! Go buy a better all around wormer. Safeguard or Valbazen will kill a lot of different worms.
     
  10. ChickieMel

    ChickieMel Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes! I'm currently searching for Valbazen-- I like that it's safe for humans. Many thanks!!
    Starting them on DE til I can get the meds. :)
     

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