Sick turkey? Kind of long...

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by shelleyd2008, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I have a young turkey hen that is 3-4 months old. All her life she has been raised with some chicken chicks. They have been outside for at least 3 months, on the porch in a brooder box for a while, and recently in an open pen outside. The pen is the same one that I raised my other turkeys in until they got too big to roost in it; it is raised off the ground with a solid (tin) floor. The top (completely) and sides (1'-2' from floor) are covered, leaving the front and back open.

    Last week we had a bad thunderstorm roll through, and most of the chicks in the pen got wet. The turkey did not. So we decided to move them all into a chicken coop that is completely closed so the chicks could dry off and not get cold. The chicks are not 'babies', they are between 2-4 months old. But still, I didn't want them to get chilled.

    The coop was used by my dad's RIR for a while, though there hasn't been any chickens living in it for at least a year if not 1 1/2 years. Recently it has been used to keep dogs in on occasion, once last winter when a dog had pups in December, off and on when a dog breaks its chain to confine the dog until we get another chain, and most recently to house a dog that was sick. That dog eventually died, we're not sure from what. I think she had distemper, though none of the other dogs have shown signs of that. Dad thinks she had Lyme disease.

    The floor of this coop had some pine shavings, dirt, and fabric on it. The fabric was from a pillow or blanket that the dog tore up. I'm sure there was dog poop in there too since I hadn't cleaned it out.

    Wednesday the little turkey was fine; Thursday morning she was laying on the floor of the coop. I was a bit alarmed, but she looked okay, just resting. Thursday evening I went to check their water and found the turkey (posturing? Prostrating?) on the floor with her head pulled back against her back and her tail pulled up as far as it would go. I expected her to die that night, but she did not. I immediately removed her and all the chicks from that building and put them back in the (now dry) open pen. She tried to walk some, but she was very unsteady, using her wings to catch herself. Her head was also wobbly.

    Friday she was not posturing any longer, but she was also not attempting to get up. If she ended up on her back, that's where she stayed. When she did try to get up her head was so wobbly that she would just turn her neck and rest her head on her back. Around noon I mixed a vitamin/electrolyte solution and fed it to her by syringe. I also put a bit of Tylan in the mixture to see if that would help. She was very very hot like she had a fever. I know birds are normally about 1 degree hotter than we are, but she felt much hotter than that. I removed her from the pen and put her in a tractor by herself after giving her the vit/electrolytes.

    Yesterday, she was standing in the tractor, so she is feeling better, but her head was still wobbly. Today (Sunday) she is still standing, 'taller' than she was yesterday. But I still don't think she is eating or drinking. I saw what I think are droppings in the tractor today, and they are completely white. Probably from not having eaten for 4 days.
    I was thinking about mixing some feed (Dumor chick start 24% unmedicated), thin enough that I could feed her with the syringe. I spoke with a friend of mine that said if her gut is acting up the feed might do more harm than good?

    I really don't know what the deal is with this poor girl, though she does seem to be getting better. The only thing I can think is that she's eaten something in that small coop that's made her sick. Within 2 days I lost 2 of the chicks in there as well, one the day before and one the day I found her. Both of them also looked fine the last time I had seen them. The one that died on the day she started acting up was perfectly fine that morning, and dead when I went out to check water around 5.

    Another bit of background, approximately 2-3 days before the turkey started acting up, I had put probiotics in the water. I'm sure that the probiotics didn't make her sick, but I wonder if the probiotics aided something taking hold on her?

    Any thoughts or tips are greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Jan 27, 2007
    BOCOMO
    shelleyd2008 wrote:

    Wednesday the little turkey was fine; Thursday morning she was laying on the floor of the coop. I was a bit alarmed, but she looked okay, just resting. Thursday evening I went to check their water and found the turkey (posturing? Prostrating?) on the floor with her head pulled back against her back and her tail pulled up as far as it would go. I expected her to die that night, but she did not. I immediately removed her and all the chicks from that building and put them back in the (now dry) open pen. She tried to walk some, but she was very unsteady, using her wings to catch herself. Her head was also wobbly.

    What you described (bolded) sounds like opisthotonos (`star gazing'). Sudden onset after heavy rain would make me wonder if this wasn't a mold toxin (Fusarium/Aspergillus). Since she is now in a clean, dry area and still alive is hopeful. I'd try either scrambled or crushed hard boiled eggs, Meal worms, cut up grapes (mashed up mealworms can be mixed with a bit of water for syringe feeding).

    All areas that haven't been stripped, cleaned and dried out need to be. Any standing water where they range eliminated.

    If you want a good reference to keep handy for future problems I'd suggest downloading: Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications (right click on the top icon where it mentions `read book in PDF format' and SAVE TARGET AS, this will download the entire book - and it is searchable - for such things as opisthotonos, for instance). Though the main focus is on `companion birds' there is a good chapter on gallinaceous types as well. http://www.avianmedicine.net/ampa.html

    Keep
    us updated, Good Luck!​
     

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