Turkey Hen Not Eating and Broody for a VERY long time.


5 Years
Jun 28, 2014
This is a long post.
1. 3 BB Turkey hens age 3 were moved from a smaller coop to a larger coop before starting to lay eggs;
In the smaller coop, 2 birds had highest pecking order and would share sitting
on the nest. Head hen was always over responsible, and would have to feed/water her on nest for
several days before she would join the others at meal, for dusting and potty. But the head hen never just stopped eating.
2. New coop has 4 48 inch boxes for large birds-much more space.Seemed content until laying started,
then fighting began, especially with the lower order hen; the fighting was so bad -t the little hen
would kill the lead hen-it wasn't just feet-but the face and neck-nasty. Bloody.
Fighting also started at meal times. The lowest order hen never like to brood and
would randomly sit on anyone's nest. Lead hen didn't like it. Also lead hen started to be more difficult --pecking
others at mealtime. But, notice she was consuming less food. We moved her and eggs to other side of coop, and
she stopped eating--so started hand feeding her, and she sat for such a long time that we removed her eggs. Latter part of March and all of April she sits. An still she sits. The flock is a family.
She wouldn't eat pellets and still isn't eating on her own except for
small amount peas, kale and blueberries. Have tried leaving food in a bowl such as sunflowers and grains, but after one time
eating it--she stopped eating it. She needs much encouragement to get the kale...etc.
3. Birds are dewormed regularly-and mite/lice spray too, and put her on antibiotic for 14 days, and then because she ate very little with hand feeding (yes we feel lucky that we do not have to tube feed)--she just takes food into the back of her mouth. Prior to going to the vet, asked the vet if I should not hand feed the hen for the visit, he said "no,"--when he saw the hen, he said that he couldn't see anything wrong, but told us to admin corid and he gave her prescription for diazapam because he said that she had been through many changes and he said it would increase her appetite. We tried the diazepam and well, it made her unsteady--and she felt like she couldn't go down steps from coop--when she would leave. We had notice prior that she seemed slower. She also wasn't fighting the feeding so what was the point of giving it to her. He stools got loose--so the vet put her on metronidazole for 5 days. It stopped being watery. --, We took her to the vet because she wasn't eating and wasn't very active. All she wants to do is sit--and acts like she has eggs--even though we had to remove them--which we thought would work and didn't. She makes nesting sounds and arranges the flakes. The vet said that he could not see anything wrong with the hen--I requested blood chems and he said, that since she had eaten, the values would be wrong, and told me that he was sorry that he had told me to feed her. Sigh. It takes us 1 1/2 hours to get to this vet--stressful for any turkey. This was 11 days ago. Her behavior hasn't changed. She seems quiet and sad, and flutters her wings like a baby bird sometimes. We put a golf ball in front of her to see what behavior she would display, and she rolled it under her chest like an egg. She still thinks she is sitting. She is broody. She is territorial--and when, we bring all of them to pasture to dust or potty--she chases them, and then exhausted, sits down in the middle of the yard and pants. Am wondering, however--it has been a very long time since she laid her eggs--the other hens are on the other side of the coop now, and she can hear their communication--she used to share this responsibility. Am sure that it has an impact on her. Yesterday, may have made a mistake--but am concerned about her not eating, and disparately wanting to improve her mood (also am concerned that she is ill--and no one is doing anything about it--not the vet--I give the vet updates and the vet gets fecal photos!). So why would she not eat? We hand feed her mash - pellets 3/4 cup daily. She isn't loosing weight-nor is she having respiratory problems. Baffled and scared for the hen. If it wasn't for our feeding, the hen wouldn't be alive enjoying a moment in sun or a dust bath. The mistake was to give her another hens egg-she being so very broody--she looked at me with grateful eyes. Will she ever eat independently again? Knowing they are social creatures, I integrate her with the others, and When in the yard with another hen, play the game of giving the middle hen a blueberry, and then she will eat 1/2 too or offer peas. When all 3 hens are together, the lowest pecking order hen--shows anger, and the other hen comes to aid and does not allow her to be hurt. Am at a loss to know what is wrong with her. Any thoughts on the matter, would be appreciated. She would die on her nest for her egg, but I am unable to acquire a diagnosis by the vet. Birds are so easily stressed.
Frustrated that the vet didn't diagnose while at the office. Fear for her. I have had other kinds of birds, and went to bird specialists--and they never told me that the birds had to fast-how are poultry chems different?
4. The middle hen is also broody, but she is eating egg, grains, sunflowers, fruits and veggies, thus am less concerned. And the lowest ranked hen, eat the pellets and grains and sunflowers as treats. She is less broody. Please someone respond so that I may trouble shoot. She has no canker, no external wounds--her crop isn't hard. I feed her mash with grip and vitamins. The vet thinks that she is just broody? The coop and surroundings in never wet nor soiled-no mites or mice.
My hens will occasionally fight this time of year as pecking order changes based on hens being broody. They won't eat while sitting on the nest. I generally block their chosen sitting site to break mine. I've had a few stubborn broodies that I have left sitting, they generally break after 2 months.

I'm surprised you have BB that are 3 years old and still alive as they generally don't live long.

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