Turkey looking a bit thin??

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by MESOFRUFFEH, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. MESOFRUFFEH

    MESOFRUFFEH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is my first turkey to raise in about 18 years, so please bear with me while I re-learn some turkey stuff lol. I have a turkey who I am assuming is a tom, his name is Todd, after my beloved childhood turkey. He is very friendly and has been raised with my chickens. He is about 15ish weeks old now. He has been eating a combination of starter/grower and game bird food (HiSpirit Gamebird). Here recently I have been unable to make the trip to get the HiSpirit Gamebird feed so he has been eating Flock Raiser crumbles with the rest of my pullets. The problem is, he seems very thin. Maybe he is just in that lanky stage that all "teenage" animals seem to go thru, but to me he just seems so thin! He free ranges with the rest of the flock and I see him eating tons of bugs, but also spends a considerable time at the feeder. I think he eats plenty, but just does not seem to be filling out. We should have a new enclosure finished this weekend and I planned on separating him and making sure that he is eating plenty. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Unfortunately the only pics I have of him are when he was all puffed up strutting around. His feathers all look terrible too. I put him out to free range once he got bigger because I felt like the pen he was in was causing his feather damage. It has a lot of room in it, but there are a lot 1x2's that I stood up to support the top of the pen (roof is netting covered in black plastic) so water does not gather and collapse the roof. I thought that was tearing up his tailfeathers always brushing up against them, maybe it wasn't but I figured he would be happier out free ranging and having more room.

    We did have an incident that scared me a little a few weeks back. He was acting very lethargic, laying down with his eyes closed looking like he did not feel good. I gave him some nutri-drench 2x a day for about 3 days and he perked right back up after the first dose and has been fine ever since.

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    Are there any supplements I can give him that can be bought at Atwoods or Tractor Supply that would help with this problem? Anyting I should be watching for?? Anything I need to do differently?? I just remember my turkey before had the meatiest breast ever, and poor Todd has 0 breast meat, he looks and feels like a big ol lanky flamingo or something! He just looks so pitiful!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Is he a heritage or a broad breasted? Your first Todd was probably a broad breasted. Heritage will feel thin at that age. At 15 weeks he should get about 20-22% protein. You can feed him a scrambled egg a day to up his daily protein intake if you can't find feed high enough in protein. He should also be going through baby molts, so his ratty feathers should be replaced. How far away from the wall is the roost he's using, he could be rubbing them on the wall at night.
     
  3. MESOFRUFFEH

    MESOFRUFFEH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really have no idea if he is heritage or broad breasted. They were not labeled as one or the other when I purchased him. I will take some pics when I get home of him not all puffed up and see what you think. Every time I have seen him on the roost, he was facing the wall with tailfeathers out in the open, but even if he had turned around I don't think his tailfeathers would rub on the wall because the roost is slanted away from the wall and where he roosts its about 2 feet out. I think it was just him being so large and there being a lot of poles in the enclosure that everytime he turned around he was probably brushing up against one. The pen he is in is my grow out pen so its really designed for smaller birds. I am hoping now that he is not in that enclosure anymore that he will lose these ol ratty feathers and the new ones that grow in will not get so torn up.

    A few weeks ago when he was acting very lethargic, I got really nervous about blackhead, but his poops seemed to be totally normal. They are dark greenish brown most of the time, I have not seen any sulfur colored poops. He has a little bump that I noticed next to his eye, looks almost like a blister, about the size of a pencil eraser. It's not one of his caruncles either. I am wondering if he got pecked, or if he perhaps got stung by something, it has been there for about a week now. Or perhaps he has something else going on, I have no idea!

    He always seems pale to me, even when he becomes flushed while strutting around, the best way I can describe him is "anemic" looking. I do not remember much about my original Todd in his younger days, I just remember him once he was fully grown in all his wondrous glory lol, so I do not really have much to compare to as far as previous experiences. I was around 10 years old when I got him and don't even remember where we got him from. I just know the new Todd looks like he is too skinny for as big as he is.

    I will try the scrambled eggs daily, Lord knows we have PLENTY of eggs right now!! I think the Flock Raiser said it was 20%. Should I keep him on that alone, or would it hurt to add in some of the gamecock feed? According to Atwoods website, it only contains 14% protein which sounds to be a bit too low for him right now. As I remember the old Todd used to eat something that looked just like the HiSpirit Gamebird that I was feeding.... and smelled like it too, like licorice!
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I would just feed the flockraiser, and add in some scrambled eggs and maybe a bit of cracked corn and black oil sunflower seeds for a bit of extra fat, about a handful a day. I can't comment on what must of been wrong with him to feel sick, but it could have set him back a bit.

    Turkeys show their emotions on their heads. White tends to me they are passive or scared, red and blues usually means they are excited. He would probably do better with another turkey or two for company.

    As far as blackhead, you either have it in your area or you don't, most often you won't know until you try raising some turkeys. My turkeys poop changes consistency and color based on their diet. Higher protein will make them looser, more greens can turn the poop green. I don't tend to get concerned with how the poop looks because of everything that can affect it, but I don't have to worry about blackhead. I would get concerned if I saw blood in it.

    The spot could be a peck or bite as you stated, or even fowl pox that sometimes shows up in the fall as black scabs around the head. So if more show up that's a possibility.

    His tail feathers should grow back in eventually and he will start to sexually mature and start showing his head colors more.
     
  5. MESOFRUFFEH

    MESOFRUFFEH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    East Texas
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    Here is the spot by his eye

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    Here is a profile view (bantam for scale?)

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    Please excuse his messiness he really likes to lay down in the mud.

    Does he seem like he is about the right size? He has always seemed thin to me since he got bigger. Maybe is is just heritage and not broad breasted??

    Would it be okay to put him on some game bird grower/finisher? I'm not sure what to do with him right now. I am about to put all of our chickens up in their pens for a few weeks (they have been free ranging for ages) because we built a new coop and I want them to get used to the new coop location. I'm going to separate based on age and size, but I'm not sure who to put him with. A few days after I brought him home I had a silkie pullet with a wing injury and I put her in with Todd and they have been together ever since. They have really bonded. I am thinking about putting him with the bantams so he can be with her, but they will all be on laying feed. I just bought layer feed yesterday because I'm out of the Flock Raiser. They didn't have any at the store I was at so I just got Todd the game bird grower, so I hope that was ok.my other option would be to put him in with my "handicapped" chickens. One with a bum leg and one that's mostly blind.

    I will have to see about getting him a turkey pal, they can be hard to find andaround here. Thank you for all your help!
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Unfortunately I think he looks like a broad breasted, he's thick of bone, and his breast feathers are worn off from laying down. I would feel his chest to see how sharp his keep bone is, if he feels like one you buy in a store, all round in his chest that would seal it.

    His eye bump doesn't look like anything to worry about. It could be a big bite or an infected follicle.

    He doesn't look underweight to me, he just looks to missing a lot of feathers which happens a lot with broad breasted. I wouldn't feed him layer except in emergencies, the game bird is fine. Broad breasted don't often live long, it can help to keep they lighter in weight.
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
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    These are mine from this year, they are about the same age as yours. Mine look lighter than yours, mine are a heritage variety.
     
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  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    What number is he:
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  9. MESOFRUFFEH

    MESOFRUFFEH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 15, 2015
    East Texas
    I hate to say it but he feels more like a 1 or 2, somewhere in between. He always seems to be eating too!! I put him in an enclosure with my two handicapped hens, but will likely be moving them in the next few days since they need to really be on layer feed and I don't want to offer layer in Todd's pen because he WILL eat it all. He is right next to the coop (sides are made of chain link) so he can still somewhat interact with the other chickens. I hate to put him all by his lonesome :( I suppose I could put a rooster in with him for a buddy, i do have plenty of those! I have a silkie rooster he has been raised with and gets along with well, so that is an option.

    I have another question.... have any of you had luck getting turkeys to use poultry nipples, more specifically horizontal ones? I keep putting Todd with my handicapped chickens because one of them is visually challenged and can't really figure out poultry nipples, so I always keep a pan of water out for her. I have never seen Todd drink out of a poultry nipple, he always drinks from her water. He really likes to stand in his water too, so usually it has to be dumped and refilled daily. I know turkeys are not the brightest crayons in the box, so I didn't know if anyone had any tips. As hot as it is, I do not want to remove anyone's pan of water without first making sure they can use the nipples.
     
  10. MESOFRUFFEH

    MESOFRUFFEH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 15, 2015
    East Texas
    I can definitely see where Todd's legs are much thicker than these guys. Thanks for the pics, you have some really beautiful birds! My first Todd lived a pretty long life, and sadly was eaten by a stray dog (despite being locked in a metal building! it was a very large building and the dog got locked in too, I was devastated!). But I just remember him being SO much bigger. Granted as a kid things always seem bigger than they are. One day when this Todd passes, I want to get a heritage variety instead, so that hopefully he will have a bit happier and healthier life. Poor Todd, he isn't even full grown yet and not even all that big but acts as if standing for more than 30 seconds is a work out lol!

    I really do not want a lot of turkeys, maybe just a pair. I just love to watch the toms strut about. Something about it makes me smile, plus they have such cute personalities!
     

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