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Please Help with Baby Turkeys All but two died trying to save them

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by LewisOliver, May 1, 2009.

  1. LewisOliver

    LewisOliver Hatching

    May 1, 2009
    sorry, long post with plenty of typos as I'm stuggling to keep my eyes open as I type this..

    I volunteer at a local farm. Our female turkey hatched 9 babies approx. 6 days ago. They were hatched up in the nesting box/loft within their house which the male and female can access via a ramp as it is high up. The babies had been up there with the mom since they were born... We did not interfere because we assumed the mother would naturally take care of them. They were very active and peeping loudly as recently as late yesterday afternoon which we calculated is the last time anyone heard or saw the babies.

    This morning we were horrifed to find 7 of them dead and 2 remaining..one of which does not look like it is going to live. One of our volunteers, who grew up on a farm and the most experienced of us all, thinks the mother must have accidentally smothered them by sitting on them. It was just so strange that just a few hours before they were OK..and then all at once 7 dead.

    We took the 2 remaining babies and put them in a brooder where they joined a week old baby chicken . We have it properly heated with a lamp. As I mentioned one of the turkey babies doesnt seem to be doing well at all..it is noticably smaller than the other one and very lethargic and seems to drop it's head and lay flat with his eyes closed..to then stirring a bit though very very slowly It will move around and peep much softer than the other baby.who seems much stronger.

    So we left them in the brooder w/ the baby chicken all day until we noticed the baby chicken which is easily 2x bigger than the turkeys was being really rough with the them. He (we think it's a rooster) was trampling them and a few times we saw him knock each of the turkeys in their water dish.. we now have them in a smaller fish tank which we placed inside the brooder so that the baby rooster can't get at them but they can still stay inside the brooder. We put a very small container of water (used a baby food jar lid) and a small cup of moistened crumbles. I saw the stronger baby turkey take a bite of food but not a whole lot..the weaker baby has not eaten on it's own...at least not that I have witnessed.

    I tried feeding both of them with an eyedropper..tried giving them a little bit of water...also tried to get them to eat the crumbles..I then pulverized fresh corn kernels into a paste and tried giving them that off my finger..finally, I tried feeding them baby food (peas and squash). I couldn't get the stronger one to eat at all but wasn't as concerned b/c I did see it eat a tiny bit on it's own a few minute earlier... I might have gotten the weak one to take the slightest amount of water and food when it finally opened it's mouth wide and long enough for me to get some food and water in..however it was not much food at all..I just couldn't get them to eat.

    I even tried to bring them home with me where I planned to keep the movernight...I had borrowed a small fish tank from my neighbor and had a heating lamp on them..The reason I took them home was because I wanted to keep trying them w/ food every now and then but theywould have nothing to do with it..which then I figured the transport to my house (a 3 minute car ride) and my (gently} picking them up might have made them even more nervous .

    When they wouldn't eat for me, I decided it would be better to return them to the brooder back at the farm ..I kept them inside their own little tank and placed it in the brooder in order to keep the rooster separated from them...so now they're hopefully both still alive and back int he brooder.

    Sorry for the long post..just want to know what to do now and whether anyone might have an idea how the 7 babies died.

    Thank you

  2. Did the poults ever leave the nest? if not they starved to death. Try to get them to drink. Baby food is not good for turkeys - do you have any turkey starter or at least chick starter? You can make a mash of that and feed them.

    Steve in NC
  3. ShadyGlade

    ShadyGlade Songster

    Quote:This would be my concern also. Was there food and water in the nest/loft area? Also loud peeping is generally a distress signal in baby poultry. Happy contented babies make little non-shrill sounds. Has the hen ever hatched eggs before? Not all first time mothers take to the job readily. Turkey poults often need to be taught to eat and drink at the start of life so if mom's not their to do it you may have to force feed & water them until they are stronger. Good luck.
  4. farrier!

    farrier! Songster

    Feb 28, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    It does sound like there was no food or water up there for them?
    Mom can protect them but cannot feed them... [​IMG]
  5. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Crowing

    Oct 16, 2008
    my first gut reaction was they starved,

    I would question your "farm boys" knowlege of turkeys.. they are not like robins.. chickens and ducks and geese and turkeys have no way of feeding babies..

    also be careful of how high you keep their heat in the brooder..
    turkeys do not do well with high heat..

    get water into them and maybe add a litle sugar or molasses to the water for some quick nutrition..
  6. LewisOliver

    LewisOliver Hatching

    May 1, 2009
    Oh I feel awful...one of the two remaining chicks died last night. The 1 survivor I was hand feeding..more like force feeding as I had to open it's beak and place the crumbles and corn mash I made. It at least got some of it and I gave it some water..though Iknow you have to be careful with not giving them too much water at once.

    Another volunteer is going to do the same now and then again an hour later. I'm going to go back up there and do the same and will add some sugar to the water.

    We only have 1 heat lamp on the brooder so I dont think it's too warm in there..we have a thermostat inside which reads 75. I hope that's ok?

    I really appreciate all of your help. I wish I came here before the eggs hatched but I assumed the mother would feed them. In hind sight very stupid.

    I hope the remaining baby makes it. Though it didn't seem as perky as it did yesterday.

    Another question, as I am basically force feeding it now..I'm afraid it might choke or be too much..how do I know? I know w/ the water I ve read you have to careful so as not to aspirate their lungs..

    I am so conscientious when it comes to caring for animals..I have rescued injured roosters, ducks taken them to the vet..I can't believe this happened.
  7. farrier!

    farrier! Songster

    Feb 28, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    Try an electrolyte supplement of some type.
    Most cattle ones have sugar too anything might help.

  8. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Southern Illinois
    75 is too cool for newly hatched poults
  9. mooman

    mooman Dirty Egg Eater

    Apr 9, 2008
    Marietta, SC
    First off I comend you for trying your best to save the poults, and for volunteering. I must ask however: What the heck kind of farm is this that doesn't know how to take care of the livestock kept there. Shame on however owns it. If I were you, I would check out every book on poultry at your local library. Become an expert on poultry. Then the next time something like this happens you can be the person with the knowledge to handle the situation. Good luck.

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