Please Help! I'm worried about my pet turkey losing feathers!!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Mrs_Turkey, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. Mrs_Turkey

    Mrs_Turkey New Egg

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    Oct 18, 2011
    I have a 6 yr old beloved pet turkey named Sarah. I've only had the privelage of owning her for 2 of these 6 years but she is my best friend and amazing companion. A couple of months ago she started to lose her feathers on her chest and I assumed she was just molting. however. she is still losing them and it is almost november, and not many have grown back. she acts and looks healthy, but i am very concerned as to why her feathers are not coming back in.

    ALSO: I wish to give her all of the right nutrients and dewormers and such, i'm just not positive about all of what antibiotics or supplements she needs. I give her grit and turkey feed as well as scraps and veggies. How often do turkeys need to be dewormed and what other supplements does she need? I'm just worried about losing her and I will be devastated if I do.
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Well, first of all, let's look at the simple things. Have you checked her out for mites or lice?

    Secondly, what are you feeding her? Turkeys need more protein that chickens. I think they actually need about 24%, so check the labels on your feed bags, or ask your farm store guy or gal what you should buy for her. Feathers are made up mainly of protein, so maybe she just needs more protein in her diet.

    Another simple thing to look at: Is she being pecked? Perhaps there is another turkey or a hen that is pulling her feathers. This can happen, especially if birds don't have enough space. Could that be it?

    Oh, and if the feathers are broken off, and not completely out, the quills will stay in, and the feathers won't grow back until the next molt.

    I sure hope this helps your turkey friend, Sarah!
     
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  3. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Adding to the excellent suggestions above, what kind or turkey is she and does she sleep on a roost or on the ground? Also, is there a chance that she is pacing along a fence and rubbing the feathers off?
     
  4. Mrs_Turkey

    Mrs_Turkey New Egg

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    Oct 18, 2011
    Thank you so much guys, I really do appreciate the help!!

    She is being fed chicken feed, so I'm wondering if that may be what is causing her feathers to break off. She does still have the quills in...I wonder what I should do about keepin her warm for the winter? That concerns me...

    As far as checking for lice/mites, how would I spot them on her white feathers? She is kept alone, so she's not being pecked, and she does pace the fence at times but I do not believe that she really rubs against it..

    She does sleep on the ground, not a roost, and she is either a broad breasted white, or a white holland, not positive which?

    As far as parasites, how often should she be treated and what should I give her for them?

    Thanks again!!!!!
     
  5. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Quote:To look for parasites, you have to really part those feathers and look down to the skin. Good places to look are at the base of the neck and also near the vent. (Hopefully she will cooperate, you might have to have someone hold her for you.) If she has the little critters, then you can powder her down really well with some Seven Dust or Poultry Dust, and then repeat that in exactly 2 weeks. I would also give her coop a thorough cleaning and dusting as well if you find any lice or mites.

    If she's alone, and pacing, she may be rubbing those feathers off. She might need something to do.....something to stimulate her.....I do think turkeys can become bored.....

    Good luck and let us know what you find,
    Sharon
     
  6. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You should be able to tell if she's BB or WH... just feel the breast area. BB are a lot wider than WH. And it isn't uncommon for BB turkeys to lose feathers from sleeping on the ground. Put some extra bedding where she likes to lay. I have had them lose feathers like that before, they made it through a ND winter with no ill effects.
     
  7. Stacyr

    Stacyr Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 31, 2013
    Hi everybody, I have a 16 month old broad breasted bronze turkey who is losing her feathers. It is so bad that you can't even pet her, she can stand in one place and when the wind hits her more feathers fall off. Reading from above I can tell you she is getting a turkey with more protein feed, she is also getting a supplement with oyster shells. She lives with two other broad breasted turkey and they are five months old now, and they're fine. They do sleep on the ground on hay which is about 6 inches deep. She's not doing a whole lot of moving around she seems to stand in one place more than she used to.
     
  8. Hounds51

    Hounds51 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hate to give you bad news, but I think your turkey is probally dying.
    Most broad breasted turkeys usally don't live much past a year, as they were bred for meat production, and thier hearts and joints can't take the weight gain that these fine birds accomplish.
    If I were you I would look into getting some hertage turkeys. They are bred to live longer and they will reproduce offspring for you.
    Dennis
     
  9. PalmRoyal

    PalmRoyal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unfortunately Broad Breasted turkeys are two "Frankenstein's monsters" of the poultry world. The other one, although I don't believe they are quite as bad, are the Cornish X (also called broilers), but they are close. If she is a pet, I would restrict her feed and promote more free ranging. Mine receive a less protein content now (they make up the rest by hunting bugs). However, the damage is already done because of their genetic make up. They grow so fast that it is hard for their bones and organs to carry the same load. Some Broad Breasted White toms at the farm where I got mine are over 70lbs (they are the breeders) and they have the same size organs as my little 15lbs Royal Palm tom. Meaning that their heart, to pump enough oxygen to everything has to work overtime to get it done.

    I would say that the regular 20% feed would be perfectly fine for her, as long as it is restricted (but be careful about her becoming underweight and always adjust your feed accordingly). If she isn't up and moving, go up to her and try to get her up a going for a little bit. Mine have to last me until spring of next year (I know, I am pushing it) and making sure that they have an excellent cardiovascular system is key. Using treats to make her walk around and start to forage is OK at first. The calcium from the oyster shells is more so to help with egg production, but I feel it is always good to add just a little extra to their diet. Has your's laid any eggs? She should be in that age range where she is laying an egg every few days. If she is not, then you may never get eggs from her. She will not be able to be bred (but eggs are tasty by products of owning a pet turkey) with other Broad Breasted turkeys and keeping toms around may actually kill or severely mutilate the hen when he tries to mount her because of his weight. At a local fair, the kids have to take a tom and a hen markey turkey project (the hen is for butterball turkey and the tom is for more like deli meats) and they lost 3 or 4 market pens this year from the toms leaving extremely large gashes in the sides of the hens and from breaking the hen's bones from getting on top (of course this is being taken to the fair board about finally listening to the 4-Hers and not putting their market turkeys together just to save space). So, if one of the other two ends up becoming a tom, I strongly suggest him finding another home.

    Now, the good news. Your turkey is moulting. She will lose her feather and they will regrow much like a chicken, parrot or even a little song bird. Just like how dogs shed all of their fur, a turkey will shed all of its feathers in preparation for the upcoming year (after all, it is supposed to be hot this time of year, so less feathers will help you cool down, and by the time they all grow in, it will be cooling down and nice, unbroken feathers full of fresh fluffy insulation feathers will help them stay warmer). It is perfectly natural for all birds to go through this.
     

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