Question: Congestive Heart Failure in BB White Tom (approx. age 10 mo)

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by ursusarctosana, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. ursusarctosana

    ursusarctosana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would like some insight regarding my turkey. While he outlasted the female, who had to be culled due to a collapsed cloaca, there are signs that he is in the advanced stages of congestive heart failure. His breast has been extended and, if tapped, has sounded hollow or fluid-filled for a couple of months. He has always breathed heavily, but last week I noticed he makes a gargling sound when breathing. There are no signs of a cold such as watery eyes, listlessness, sneezing (other than to clear phlegm from his nostrils), or runny nose and no signs of illness in any other bird (all chickens) within the coop. The first thing I thought was congestive heart failure. Yesterday I noticed tiny blood spatters on his back. Today I realized this is probably from the buildup of blood in his lungs and resulted from sneezing or shaking his head.

    Currently, Ataturk weighs 50 lbs.

    [​IMG]

    He is a sweet turkey and, had I known earlier about what the meat production industry has done to these animals, I would have chosen a wild or heritage breed as a pet. But, so it goes. He has lived a good, happy life which probably accounts for the fact that he has lived to nearly one year in a stress-free environment without overcrowding and other horribly conditions.

    We gave the hen, Turkle, to the mother-in-law when we had to cull her. It was reported to us that her meat was tough. My question is whether or not Ataturk will be any good as a meat bird when he dies? I'm thinking not and that we should bury him out in the country, but I would like to know what the general consensus is regarding this matter. I would also like to know from others whether or not my diagnosis of congestive heart failure sounds accurate.

    Thank you for your time and knowledge.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  2. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

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    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  3. KellyHM

    KellyHM Overrun With Chickens

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    Congestive heart failure sounds right, except for the blood. The fluid accumulation in the lungs is usually not bloody, so not sure about that. The meat will probably be tough since he is so old, but if you cut it up and slow cook it (crock pot) it will probably be fine.
     
  4. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    Sorry about my first post. I just re-read and saw that you are already aware about the heritage breeds vs meat breeds. Forgive me for not reading your post more thoroughly.
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    You can probably eat him just fine after culling. However, bloody lungs is not normal, nor is consistent discharge. If he is sick, I'd be safe and not eat him. I don't know much about a disease called blackhead, but maybe you can google it as he is being kept with chickens. In some areas it is a disease worth noting as chickens are carriers and it can be transmitted to turkeys for which it is deadily. However, it is not wide spread, so chances are you don't have to worry. Your county extension agent, or local agriculural school would probably be able to tell you if it is an issue or not.

    If you do cull to eat, just remember to age the bird for at least a few days before trying to cook. Else they will be tough. 10 months should be ok, since they don't move much anyways.

    All broad breasted types are selectively bred over many years to develop fast growth and to be ready for the table at about 4 months old. It is a common misconception that any test tube engineering went on or that hormones are used. It's pure selective breeding. Keeping them any longer than their market time often ends up as you have seen with your pair. Commercially, the breeders are kept on a restricted diet and are artificially inseminated to get eggs for incubation.

    Good luck.
     
  6. ursusarctosana

    ursusarctosana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, I loved the turkeys, but this spring I'm going to raise two female Toulouse geese. I think I'll have a better time with them. My female turkey was excellent at letting me know when the Cooper's hawk was around, or a cat was prowling along the fence, etc. I think the geese will do the same and be healthier. I'd like the geese to imprint on me like the turkeys did. I'm still happy I had the turkeys. They were sweet and they lived as long as possible in a calm environment where they interacted with humans and were treated with dignity.
     
  7. ursusarctosana

    ursusarctosana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here are some signs of congestive heart failure:

    * Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
    * Reduced ability to exercise
    * Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
    * Swelling of your abdomen (ascites)
     
  8. ursusarctosana

    ursusarctosana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We've decided we're going to bury Ataturk in the country. I don't think anyone is willing to eat him. Maybe we'll even do a turkey dance. [​IMG] Thank you everyone for your comments.
     
  9. ursusarctosana

    ursusarctosana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ataturk is unable to eat now and his breathing is worse. I'm taking him to a veterinary clinic this afternoon to be euthanized. Poor guy! He is a sweet, gentle, wonderful turkey, and I gave him the best life I could.

    I won't keep broad-breasted turkeys again. It's too sad.[​IMG]
     
  10. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Quote:Sorry for your loss, I'm sure you will miss him..... turkeys have a special place on our farm.

    Steve in NC
     

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