Turkey Issue


7 Years
Aug 7, 2012
I'm wondering if anybody might have some insight into what could be going on with a young Narragansett turkey that I have.
So, to start out, one of my hens hatched a clutch of 11 poults about 3 months ago. She had not layed all the eggs at the same time so they hatched out at a rate of about 1 a day for about a week and a half. I removed them from her as they hatched so i could raise them more safely as the adults free ranged and also so she would continue to sit on the other eggs. Unfortunately, the feed I bought the poults happen to be contaminated and we lost 5 of them (different long story but may be related).
When the poults were about 6 weeks old I gave them to my brother because we were in the process of trying to move and I wasn't sure if i would have appropriate accommodations for the little guys. After about 2 weeks he started letting them free range in his yard and some open fields next to his house (I'm sure they also venture a bit into the surrounding woods). There are wild turkeys that come into his yard and the field, and he also has some young chickens that i gave him that also free range in the same areas. I took one of the 2 males of the clutch back around a month ago because my tom had been killed by some not very nice neighbors (I also lost the mother of the clutch to my roommate who was not paying attention while she was sunning herself in the driveway). He has been very healthy and growing fast; no problems.
About 2 weeks ago my brother contacted me saying that one of the young female turkeys was acting strangely, was lethargic, had diarrhea, wasn't roosting, and over the course of 4 or 5 days had stopped eating and drinking. The other 4 were completely fine. I gave him a dewormer (Ivermectin) to give to her and he also got some electrolytes to give her as well. I ended up picking her up later that night because he was going out of town, and I knew something would pick her off sleeping on the ground if she didn't succumb to the sickness itself. I started her on antibiotics (Tylan at first because of the diarrhea, and then Penicillin when the Tylan didn't seem to help), electrolytes, and a probiotic. I also got her to eat some scrambled eggs the next day by opening her mouth, dropping little bits in, and letting her swallow them. I would feed her as much as she would take until she started spitting it out. By the following day she was acting very hungry for the eggs and was snapping at my thumb when i would go to open her mouth, but wouldn't take anything from my hand or a bowl. The diarrhea had also cleared up at this point. I happen to put her down after feeding her in the afternoon to see if she wanted to walk around a bit (she'd been staying in a large dog crate in part of my garage) and realized that she was mostly blind. You could wave your hands all around her face and she had no idea anything was happening. I don't know when the blindness started, but when i asked my brother's girlfriend she did say she had been bumping into things when she started to not feel well. I figured that explained why she wasn't roosting with the others either. Later that day she starting feeling better and began eating and drinking on her own by using her beak to find the bowls in her cage.
At this point though i guess my question would be if any one has any idea what could have caused her blindness/sickness? She seems to see a little on some days and less to none on others. The amount she seems able to see also varies throughout the day. Sometimes she has no reaction to something and other times it seems she can see a bit (mostly behind her and the closer it is the less she can see it). Otherwise she seems mostly healthy--i say mostly because she definitely doesn't seem 100% and now the white part of her stool has turned yellowish. She doesn't have diarrhea but it seems sometimes her food isn't digested completely either. I would like to know what could be wrong with her, and if there is a chance she may regain her sight since she does see a little sometimes?
If anyone has any ideas please let me know, and thanks in advance for reading my short novel here!
What is the regular feed, at present? Have you tried a poultry vitamin addition to water (or polyvisol enfamil without iron - three drops a day for a week and taper off)? Has she had access to grit since return?
Check vision further. Grab a moth/tear off one wing/drop it on ground (in front/on either side of front of hen) observe response. If she can see, at some angle, the moth and grab it, then get some live meal worms and she if she'll go for that.

Also, might want to skim this list to compare: http://msucares.com/poultry/diseases/diseases.html
I think my brother was feeding them Dumor brand food which i do not like because I have had issues with it before. Currently she is getting Purina Flock Raiser mixed with Farmers' Helper UltraKibble for chicks. As far as the moth, she can't see anything that close up. She appears to mostly be able to see things behind her and slightly above her. Actually, yesterday she was walking around and saw the garden hose on the ground as she came up to it, but when she went to step over it she raised her leg up really high like the hose was gigantic almost falling over trying to step over it. As soon as something gets in front of her face she seems to lose all sight of it.
Only reason I suggested the vitamins was on the off chance that this was feed/nutrient related deficiency. If she's eating the ultra kibble (if they haven't changed formulation) this should help in gaining strength. If vision isn't too impaired she'll eventually compensate (though still an easier mark for preds). So long as she seems to be getting adequate food and water and no clearly unusual droppings or other obvious symptoms just keep her safe and observe.

Our first two Slate toms were partially blind - couldn't grab a peach held directly in front of them (though they could manage to zero in from the sides), they lived for 4 & 6 yrs. Their problem was genetic (bred for show and little else - lot of breeding in-and-in).

good luck!

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