Problems with turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by L&Schickens, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. L&Schickens

    L&Schickens Songster

    Jun 9, 2008
    Washington State
    "Too much protein" "Not enough protein" "Not enough excursize"

    I have now heard it all. My problem is that my turkeys legs are twisting. 2 have already had to be put down because of it and now 2 more are getting bad. I only got 6 to start with; they are about 2 months old. At this rate I will have none soon. Any ideas?
    I am never buying turkeys again. They are too hard to raise. [​IMG]
  2. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    When i raise my poults (13) at the moment, between a day old and 3 months I've always kept them on chick starter. My grown turkeys and 3 month olds free range during the day. I've done this with peachicks also without trouble. Hope you find out how to help them.[​IMG]
  3. jkcove08

    jkcove08 Songster

    Apr 12, 2007
    What breed are your turkeys? I have hatched and raised turkeys for a few years now and have never had twisted legs. If you have a meat breed then it is due the thier breeding for fast and heavy growth. If not I think someone has some bad genes somewhere. If you bought them all together then they are probably all related and that is why they are all showing signs. I wouldnt give up yet, see if you can find some poults or eggs at a local swap and try again. Jenn
  4. I am going to try and post a link to a google online book that discusses valgus-varus deformity (twisted leg) in turkey.

    Google books

    What breed are your turkeys? I have a heritage breed, but it sounds like they are generally less affected as they grow slower and are not as heavy of a breed.
  5. L&Schickens

    L&Schickens Songster

    Jun 9, 2008
    Washington State
    I believe they are double breasted. 4 were white and 2 are bronze, but one of the bronze is turning white [​IMG]
    They are not at all big, I think. They are not fat either. My ducks grew extremely fast in comparison. They are fully grown already and I got them in March.
    The turkeys are not fat and have a large cage. I have them on chick starter, scratch and some times hard boiled eggs go to them as well as lettuce. I got them at 2 different feed stores on the same day. The bronze pair I got together and the 4 whites I got somewhere else.
    I am so frustrated I could spit!
    Anyway, I hope they at least get big enough to eat. I will get some pictures of them later.
  6. seymojo536

    seymojo536 Songster

    May 16, 2007
    Central Ohio
    It's my opinion that they are not getting enough protein.

    Action plan: No treats, take away the scratch grains, go and buy some gamebird starter (min of 28% protein, 30% if you can get it).

    The BBs are meat creating machines but you have to give them the fuel they need. Of the kids that raise turkeys around here, most of the leg problems I see are directly due to the amount and type of feed they are given.

    Sure it hurts to pay 15-18 dollars for a bag of feed that they eat in a week but that's what it takes. There are no shortcuts in raising poultry.
  7. L&Schickens

    L&Schickens Songster

    Jun 9, 2008
    Washington State
    I wanted to feed them game bird starter and did at first, but when the 2 white ones went down hill the feed store person (Go figure) told me they were eating too much protein and to cut back on feed all together and go with a feed with less protein. So I did that, now I have this leg thing going on again and was told they are too fat, they need more room. So I gave them a lot more room and still am having problems.
    I will go down and get some more game bird starter for them. I am not trying to cut corners, I am just doing what I have been told is what to do.
    Thanks so much.
  8. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio TX
    Quote:I agree with this post. Scratch is absolutely not a good idea for baby poultry.

    Strait chick feed *may* have had enough protein to keep them going, but certainly not enough protein if it's been "watered down" with scratch and non-nutritive treats like lettuce.

    Go to the game-bird starter. If you can't find the starter, go to a grower. Try for no less than 24% protein (availability varies by region), so get what you can.

    Good luck, and *don't be too hard on yourself* you are still learning, and we've all made mistakes as we've gone along.
  9. seymojo536

    seymojo536 Songster

    May 16, 2007
    Central Ohio
    I hear you about the "helpful" feed store people. They may mean well, but sometimes they're like a used car salesman in that what ever they have in stock is exactly what you need.

    You can feed too much protein, but guess what? It is still not an exact science as to how much is too much, we have fed 35% to some of our birds. Did they gain any better than the ones that got 30%? Not enough to justify the cost. And besides the extra protein is excreted so the main downside is the waste of the protein they cannot utilize.

    The type of protein is very important as to the ability of the animal to metabolize the different sources available to the feed producers to use in their formulations. Turkeys seem to be much more sensitive to this than other birds.

    It also isn't just the percent of the protein but the ratio of amino acids( most important is the lysine to methionine) that matters. Here's a good reference for you.

    Also the physical structure of the feed makes a difference as to how much the turkey eats each time he bellies up to the bar.
    In increasing order it is: whole grains, mash, crumbles, pellets.

    I didn't mean to imply you were cutting corners. Everytime I hear someone is feeding scratch to a young poult I do assume it's because of the price. I promise to stop and think about that before replying next time.

    Don't give up on turkeys, think of this as a very difficult lab experiment and the more times you do it, the better your results will get. Just don't get me started on those darn cornish x broilers. Now those will drive you crazy.
  10. pdpatch

    pdpatch Songster

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    We had a problem with twisted leg. We traced out problems to much calcium,and not enough other vitamins present to process the calcium correctly.

    We were using 24% wild game bird starter/grower. But added calcium and not vitamin supplements to there water. Once we added grass to there diet we had no more birds having trouble.

    The turkeys need a vitamin supplement if there diet is not exactly balanced and minerals are to high. We had two Giant white and one BB Bronze have trouble with the twisted leg.

    The Bourbon Red and Blue Slate never showed any signs of twisted leg problems.


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