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Sick turkey? Wobbly (W/ Picture)

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by greenacresinNE, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. greenacresinNE

    greenacresinNE In the Brooder

    May 10, 2010
    Papillion, NE
    I have a young Slate (tom, I think) who is eating, drinking and growing, but is very "wobbly" when he walks. His legs will shake and he has a very exaggerated "goose-step" gait. He lays down a lot (he'll walk a few steps and then lay down). He does run for short distances when startled. This has been going on at least a few weeks, so I am not sure if he is sick, or possibly had a head injury or some sort of neurological problem. I can't really show whats going on with a still picture, but I included one (he's the one laying down). The rest of the turkeys (including his hatch-mates) are fine. Any suggestions, Turkey-experts?
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011

  2. Frosty

    Frosty Songster

    Mar 30, 2008
    I really don't know... I have a chicken doing that (actually, earlier this month he could hardly walk at all, now he kicks his feet up when he walks). I suspect in my roosters case that it's possibly Marek's disease. Reading about that I found one site that say turkeys 'rarely' get it. It can cause nerve enlargement with transient lameness in chickens. I believe there are a few other virus' that can cause similar symptoms that do affect turkeys and peafowl but not 100% sure on that. If it is a virus, all you can do are treat secondary symptoms. Maybe some baby aspirin in case it's painful and to help with any inflammation?

    I wish I could help!
  3. saoagn

    saoagn In the Brooder

    Oct 25, 2011
    Hmm, I wish I could help you, but I can't..
  4. greenacresinNE

    greenacresinNE In the Brooder

    May 10, 2010
    Papillion, NE
    Well, I appreciate your input. I don't think it's "turkey Marek's" because he isn't getting worse. I had a chicken with it and she did not do well. Nearly all of my poultry are vaccinated for it. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens to him. So far he is still eating and drinking, and no one is picking on him.
  5. rfwombat

    rfwombat In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2009
    Humboldt County
    It could be early onset blackhead so check his stool. He looks like one of my turkeys did when he started to get it; feathers aren't quite as nice as they should be and laying down most of the day.

    If you see any sort of yellowish tinge to his stool then mix a teaspoon of cayenne pepper with a half cup of water and shoot a about 5 ccs down his throat every other day for a week. Also take about a tablespoon of cayenne pepper for ten pounds of feed and mix into their feed to dose all the birds as a preventative. Even if you don't see yellowish stool, you may want to do this as a wormer. And it seems to give the birds a boost to their immune systems.

    Or he may just be outgrowing his legs. My ducklings all go through a period of about a week where their bodies have put on too much mass and they have to run a few steps, then rest, run a few more steps then rest again. If he's a tom and he's getting a lot of protein, he may just be bulking up too fast. He's at the age where he's should be starting to put on mass.
  6. greenacresinNE

    greenacresinNE In the Brooder

    May 10, 2010
    Papillion, NE
    Thanks rfwombat -- I "cayenned" them recently when the adults poop got a little loose, so I'll do it again. It is amazing how quickly it resolved after I added it to their feed. I am hoping it isn't blackhead, but he does run with the chickens. So far, he isn't getting worse. Hopefully it is just growing pains because his is in his teenage growth spurt.
  7. junglebird

    junglebird Songster

    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Is he getting enough protein? You could also look into rickets (lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate). Blackhead kills quickly, so, unless he's recovering from it, I doubt it's that.

  8. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Another possibility are fungal toxins (maybe mild exposure): http://en.engormix.com/MA-mycotoxins/articles/performance-turkey-poults-fed-t857/p0.htm

    Aflatoxin sensibility varies among species. Turkey and geese are the most sensitive birds to aflatoxins (Arafa et al., 1981). Turkeys poisoned with aflatoxins generally develop inappetance, reduced spontaneous activity, unsteady gait, recumbence, anemia, and death. At necropsy, body condition is generally good, but there is generalized congestion and edema. Liver and kidney are congested, enlarged, and firm (Hoerr, 2003).

    What is their regular feed? Do they range? If so, do they have access to areas under wild bird feeders/damp or old corn, etc.?

    I'd separate from others.

    Give three drops of Polyvisol Enfamil (no iron formulation) a day x1wk and then taper off (if it is a vitamin deficiency).​
  9. greenacresinNE

    greenacresinNE In the Brooder

    May 10, 2010
    Papillion, NE
    Hey, thanks for the advice. I have some Polyvisol drops, so I'll start those and you might have something with the protein deficiency too -- I had them on gamebird starter earlier, but they are all eating layer feed now. They do free range everyday on 10 acres, but he has been like this for over a month, and hasn't gotten worse so I don't think it is a toxin exposure. The other turkey poults are fine, but he still has wobbly legs and lays down a lot. I haven't seen him fly like the others either. I'll start with the drops, and then maybe I'll have to figure out how to get him more protein (since everyone is in the same coop, it is hard to feed him separately). Thanks again for your advice.

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