Poults commit suicide by water

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by 1-duckling, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. 1-duckling

    1-duckling Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It started with my first hatch around eitht or so years ago. I had a Narragansett hen who hatched a clutch. They were only a couple of days old when I found one drowned in a water bowl with two-inches of water and maybe four-inch side walls. I thought it was a fluke until a couple of days later when I found another one drown. I learned then not to put open water sources in the turkey pen when there's young around. Throughout the years since then I've had several more occasions where the poults manage to get out and find water to drown themselves in be it a bucket in the duck yard or the dog dish.

    Yesterday, a three week old wondered away from mom and ended up in the cow's water trough. It had to go through a fence, across the yard, and then into the cow pen to get there. They have plenty of their own water, changed daily, in chicken style waterers in their pen. It's not that I'm naive on how to stop it from happening. I know the only way to stop this is to pen them in a covered area with poultry fencing that they can't squeeze through. All of my birds are allowed as much space to run as possible so they all have large green pastures to roam. I think they stay healthier and happier this way. The turkey family has 1/2 acre pen with grass and bushes that they eat, run and play in.

    With this said, here is my question for the turkey pros: Why on earth do these young poults fly into 18" high buckets of water or other tall water bodies such as the cow trough which is a good two-foot high? [​IMG]
     
  2. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not a pro at this by any means but I've noticed that my young turkeys like to do that as well. I feel it's a roosting thing. It's a good height for them to fly up too and I'm sure they see the other animals there. Turkeys are really curious and I believe that's what gets them in trouble. I had a guinea keet fall into a bucket of water and I managed to get it just before it drowned. It's still alive but isn't growing as fast as the others but it's healthy and running around. All my buckets of water a very low. I only have 2 buckets for my horses that the turkeys don't bother with since they really haven't adventured into that section yet. My turkeys are about 2 months old.
     
  3. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    They just do.

    So, if you want to have turkeys, you must keep them in such a way that they can't access open water.
     
  4. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Recently a poult fell into the duck/goose pool. It's a kiddie pool. The baby did not panic at all, no fluttering wings or anything. It just walked across the pool with the water about neck deep and jumped out the other side and went on like nothing ever happened. It was rather amusing to see. My guess is that turkeys like water.
     
  5. Kickin' Chickin'

    Kickin' Chickin' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have also noticed that turkeys(at least mine ) have very poor balance. Mine has fallen off of many things(ladder,deck railing,pile of lumber),which to us, is hilarious. Not so much for the turkey. I am very glad that there are no open containers for water or he would have been dead ages ago .
     
  6. 1-duckling

    1-duckling Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Both the wanting to perch and balance theories make sense. They have been using the little bamboo perch I put in their night house that is also about two foot off the ground. So if they go to perch on a ledge, such as the water trough, they could loose balance, slip and fall in.

    To be on the cautious side, this morning I built a escape ramp in the trough from scrap wood and bailing twine so if anything else falls in there they have a chance to escape.

    Thank you for the thoughts about this sad and perplexing issue.
     
  7. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That sounds like a very good idea. Hopefully it won't have to be used. Glad the ideas worked out for you. Good luck with your turkeys. I too am hoping my 2 poults will make it to adulthood. So stressful.
     
  8. weirdturkeyfreak

    weirdturkeyfreak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    turkeys are as only dumb as u make them... because my turkeys are rather smart-- they never drown themselves and
    i have a horse trough that i put my ducks in every once in a while and my turkeys don't kill themselves
    it also depends on the age of the bird... some times they don't know better if they're too young.
    But i've trained my turkey to walk on a harness and leash and i also house trained one
     
  9. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you read a bunch of threads, you will see that turkeys do like to walk in water. Especially on hot days. I think they don't understand the difference between deep water and a puddle and possibly the water surface looks like the ground to them. Once they try to walk in like it's just a puddle, they can't get out because the sides are steep and there is nothing under them like the ground to push off of as they jump up. In nature there aren't that many places where the depth just drops and there is nothing to get a foothold on to get back out.

    I have been fortunate that none of my turkeys ever fell in the trough, the only drowning victim I had fell backwards into a one gallon water fount and got stuck. I did have one chicken chick drown in the ponys water tub. I felt really bad. My condolences on the losses. [​IMG]
     
  10. kfacres

    kfacres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    turkeys are the world's dumbest birds... in our first experience raising them, we found out the hard way... setting the dead horse aside on water... our first batch of poults walked up to the tied up dog... and said eat me. One by one, they approached, dog killed, and the next said.. hey that looks like fun...

    I have found, that the best way to raise young turkets is either with a turkey or chicken mom, and penned up until mature. then allowed to free range... but even then.. they get off chasing a grasshopper, and may or may not return home... Just as our pair of large whites did last week.. gone for 2 days, lucky I found them...
     

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