Turkey can't stand up PLEASE HELP!

georgieboy11

Songster
Jan 12, 2018
123
175
127
Indiana
I have a pet broad-breasted white turkey who is just under a year old and he all of a sudden is not able to stand I think he is too heavy for his legs. He is kept at my grandma's house with chickens and I didn't know but she had been feeding him too much. Is there anything at all we can do now to help him? Is there any way I can get him to lose weight even if he can't stand? We all love him dearly and iI would be absolutely heartbroken to lose him. I am now aware of the broad-breasted turkey issue and how they are meant to grow fast to eat but I wasn't aware when I got him and we all fell in love with him
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
Staff member
Premium member
Jul 16, 2015
37,336
57,801
1,312
central Wisconsin
You could try severely restricting feed, and only feeding a ration, nothing else fattening. You could also try making a sling, but he's probably a really big boy. Unfortunately just because you love him doesn't mean he will be long lived. Most die from heart attacks or not being able to use their leg. They are bred to be butchered unfortunately. His quality of life may get bad, and sometimes butchering is the best for them to ease their pain. Next time find some heritage. They definitely live better lives that are much longer and have the same personality. Sorry I can't be more helpful. Restrict his diet, do some therapy on his legs and see how it goes for a while. Those broad breasted varieties are heart breakers.
 

cassie

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 19, 2009
6,018
2,135
401
I am truly sorry but I don't think there is much you can do at this point besides butcher him. If you want a pet turkey get a heritage breed, not one of the commercial turkeys bred for fast gain, but then you know that now. People try to make pets out of these turkeys and the Cornish X meat chickens. They both have wonderful dispositions but it rarely works out well for either the bird or the people involved. Either the legs give out or they keel over from heart issues. People have kept them alive for longer than expected by forcing them to exercise and severely limiting their feed. Personally, I don't think that is fair to the birds either. Maybe someone else has some constructive suggestions other than a cookbook. I sure can't think of any.
 

georgieboy11

Songster
Jan 12, 2018
123
175
127
Indiana
I am truly sorry but I don't think there is much you can do at this point besides butcher him. If you want a pet turkey get a heritage breed, not one of the commercial turkeys bred for fast gain, but then you know that now. People try to make pets out of these turkeys and the Cornish X meat chickens. They both have wonderful dispositions but it rarely works out well for either the bird or the people involved. Either the legs give out or they keel over from heart issues. People have kept them alive for longer than expected by forcing them to exercise and severely limiting their feed. Personally, I don't think that is fair to the birds either. Maybe someone else has some constructive suggestions other than a cookbook. I sure can't think of any.
Thank you for your advice. I don't think it is fair to the birds either and I frankly wish broad breasted turkeys were never created but there is not much I can do about it. I never would have got him if I knew all the health complications and suffering he would go through as a pet but at the same time, I know by now he probably would have been slaughtered and definitely would not have had such a good life so I can't say I regret getting him. When I got him I didn't know what broad breasted turkeys were and I didn't find out until he had already become like my baby. I can't imagine ever eating him or butchering him I just could never do that, to me it's like imagining eating my dog. If I have to I will take him to be euthanized and bury him.
 

georgieboy11

Songster
Jan 12, 2018
123
175
127
Indiana
You could try severely restricting feed, and only feeding a ration, nothing else fattening. You could also try making a sling, but he's probably a really big boy. Unfortunately just because you love him doesn't mean he will be long lived. Most die from heart attacks or not being able to use their leg. They are bred to be butchered unfortunately. His quality of life may get bad, and sometimes butchering is the best for them to ease their pain. Next time find some heritage. They definitely live better lives that are much longer and have the same personality. Sorry I can't be more helpful. Restrict his diet, do some therapy on his legs and see how it goes for a while. Those broad breasted varieties are heart breakers.
Thank you for your advice I feel awful but I think I will try restricting his feed and see if he can lose a pound or two and hopefully be a happy turkey again for as long as he can. Next time I will definitely get a heritage breed.
 

cassie

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 19, 2009
6,018
2,135
401
Thank you for your advice. I don't think it is fair to the birds either and I frankly wish broad breasted turkeys were never created but there is not much I can do about it. I never would have got him if I knew all the health complications and suffering he would go through as a pet but at the same time, I know by now he probably would have been slaughtered and definitely would not have had such a good life so I can't say I regret getting him. When I got him I didn't know what broad breasted turkeys were and I didn't find out until he had already become like my baby. I can't imagine ever eating him or butchering him I just could never do that, to me it's like imagining eating my dog. If I have to I will take him to be euthanized and bury him.
I am sorry about your turkey, but unlike you, I am not sorry the broadbreasted turkeys and the Cornish X were developed. They are fine for what they were bred for. Unfortunately, being a pet is not one of them. Too may times people buy these birds and nobody tells the unsuspecting buyer anything about them.

Turkeys do make great pets. I had a bronze tom turkey for a long time. This was in the late 60's, so the broadbreasted turkeys then were not the broadbreasted turkeys of today. He grew to be about 50 pounds but he never had any trouble getting around. Most of the time he was running loose in the yard.
 

Noellereagan

Songster
Jun 20, 2018
697
1,491
222
Big Bend, Wisconsin
I have seven BBB turkeys and they are beloved pets and will never be butchered. I take them for a run/ walk twice daily to keep them in shape. So if he gets better you could try this. I also lowered roosts to 20” to avoid the common leg injury getting down. I don’t restrict feed but I’m only at a 15% crumple. I add B12 to their water for healthy skeletal development too. I supplement their diet with pasture, and fresh produce twice daily. They’re doing well. Thank goodness. I wish you the best of luck. I would also try to get him well if I was in your shoes rather than cull. I really hope it turns out good. Nothing is impossible.
 

R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
6 Years
Feb 24, 2013
11,867
37,151
1,131
Natrona County, Wyoming
I have seven BBB turkeys and they are beloved pets and will never be butchered. I take them for a run/ walk twice daily to keep them in shape. So if he gets better you could try this. I also lowered roosts to 20” to avoid the common leg injury getting down. I don’t restrict feed but I’m only at a 15% crumple. I add B12 to their water for healthy skeletal development too. I supplement their diet with pasture, and fresh produce twice daily. They’re doing well. Thank goodness. I wish you the best of luck. I would also try to get him well if I was in your shoes rather than cull. I really hope it turns out good. Nothing is impossible.
I would recommend vitamin B complex which contains all the B vitamins such as thiamine and niacin rather than just B12.
 

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