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Question about keeping Turkeys with Chickens?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by jlgoinggreen, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. jlgoinggreen

    jlgoinggreen Songster

    Sep 25, 2009
    South Central PA
    Hi Everyone,
    I've read and heard a lot about turkeys getting diseases and dieing from being put with chicken. What exactly causes this disease? What is the disease called so that I can do research on it?

    My husband just added some brooders to my chicken coop (he did an AWESOME job; I'm so proud [​IMG] ). Our coop is HUGE as it was initially a large shed we converted into a coop. He took one of the walls and added 4 "teenage" brooders along side it. We will be transferring the babies there as they grow out of the baby brooders. We have 6 turkeys that are about 2 months old we'd like to put in one of those brooders. We've had some people tell us that would be fine, but then others tell us they would surely die. [​IMG]

    I figured I would ask here as this site has helped this "newbie" so much as I start my flock of fowls. Any advice for this newbie with turkeys? [​IMG]
  2. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Songster

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    I have heard that too but I guess I have been lucky. I hatch baby chicks or guinea keets with all my turkeys to teach them to eat and drink and the turkeys go into the same brooder and the same growout pens that the chickens, guineas and ducks use.
  3. happydog

    happydog Songster

    Nov 22, 2009
    Western NC
    The disease is called blackhead. I had read about blackhead before I ever got turkeys and I vowed to be a responsible turkey owner and keep them far far away from any chickens.

    When we went to pick up our 6 Royal Palm poults from the breeder he gave us "a little extra" in the box. 3 silver spangled hamburg chicks. They have the same coloring as the RPs. He said he raises them together because they look so pretty together. So I had to make a split second decision, turn down 3 free chickens ([​IMG]) or raise turkeys and chickens together. I figured, they've already been together all their lives...

    I'm hoping by adding DE to their feed it'll kill the worms that carry it. I read somewhere (probably on here) that you can cure it with cayenne pepper. I'm growing a few in my garden just in case.
  4. slc

    slc Songster

    Sep 10, 2008
    Upper Michigan
    You can keep some "fish-zole" (Metronidazole) medication on hand to use as a last resort if any turkeys get sick.
  5. With Histomoniasis - AKA Blackhead it has to be present in the soil or in the host birds for them to get it. We have been raising them together for a long time and haven't had any problems.

  6. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    Quote:How common, really, is this disease? Something that is very common and will hit you if you don't use precautions, or something this is quite rare and unlikely to be a problem for most people?

    And, as a side question, why is it so hard to find medicated feed to prevent blackhead? I couldn't get it locally, I had to mail order for it from Blue Seal Feeds in New England/Mid-Atlantic states, and the shipping, predictably, was a lot more than the cost of the feed.
  7. That's a tough question on how common it is, there are very few confirmed cases in the US every year but if you read on an online forum every other bird has it. It has to be in your flock or in the soil for them to catch it. It's not a given by any means that they will get it from living together. We raise our birds together and I don't worry about it. We have never lost a bird from it. You can check with your local Ag agent and see if there has been any reported cases in your area.

    There is no blackhead preventative or cure, it can only be treated. All the treaments I have ever read about was just to held them reach slaughter weight before dying..... that's a scary thought.

  8. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    Quote:Yeah, the second part is scary when you think of it, like the video of the downer cows being put into the food chain that made the news last year.

    I did find a preventative food specifically for blackhead -- drug is called Nitarsone, the food is called Turkey Grower Medicated HS from Blue Seal Feeds:

    "Turkey Grower – HS Medicated
    A pelleted feed containing Nitarsone for the prevention of blackhead in turkeys. Nitarsone should be fed continuously as long as there is a danger of infection. Do not feed to ducks, geese, or dogs. Read directions before using. Withdraw 5 days before slaughter."

    Here is a link to their website:


    I'm going to use it and see what happens. I also bought a big bottle of Fishzole just to have on hand in case. Hopefully I'll never need it.
  9. Smart move to be prepared. I'll check out the link later. It's feeding time at the zoo. lol

  10. valewife

    valewife In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2009
    Hi, if I may jump in,
    I'm treating a poult right now with blackhead symptoms. My vet (not a poultry vet but willing to research and learn) said the only way to diagnose blackhead is in a necropsy, and that the Histomonas protozoan does not show in a fecal. Don't understand that, but it explains the clear fecals on my sick bird.
    Anyway after one day on Metronidazole, my poult turned the corner, began eating, appears recovered (knocking on wood).
    I'll finish the 5 day course of tx and watch the others very closely.

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