Turkey poults dying... but only the dark colors?!

Do you think this is a color related genetic issue?

  • Yes

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  • Definitely Seems like it

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  • Maybe

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  • Maybe not

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    1

ExoticRescue

Chirping
May 31, 2016
21
15
64
Okeechobee, Fl
I'm hoping someone can help me. I have 4 turkeys, 2 Toms: one black and one slate, 2 hens: one chocolate and one narragansett colored. These colors are my best guess and not fact by any means so here's some pics of my adults.
20170524_154634.jpg


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We have had a successful first breeding season, however, I did not start hatching any dark colors until recently. The first 2 blacks that hatched were one day apart, both splay leg, and were gaping by day 2. I was able to keep the second one alive longer by syringe feeding a chick food/water mix but he still ended up gaping and dying. Then, I hatched what appears to be a chocolate, again splay legged. Last night, 3 poults hatched, only one black. No splay legs but he can't stand. It's like his legs aren't strong enough to hold him up and I'm wondering if that's what caused the splay legs in the other 3.

Pics of one black baby, chocolate baby, and the 3 that hatched last night.
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So I'm super curious about the dark color mystery but more than that, my heart sinks now when I see a dark one in the hatcher because none have lived. Is it just me or is it weird that I've only had a problem with the dark colors?

I've hatched 25 or more narragansett, slate, white, and other colors with no problems until these dark colors. Is it something to do with a genetic color combo I don't know about? I tried researching but couldn't find anything. Hoping someone knows about genetics and colors and give me more info, like are there two of these I shouldn't be breeding together?

Here's some of the other babies I've hatched this year, all lighter colors or lighter colored down at hatch anyway, or mottled with dark but none dark colored at birth. Which I was surprised with considering the colors of my adults.
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ANY INPUT is appreciated!!!
Thanks in advance for your help.
 
Last edited:

wynn4578

Songster
Apr 6, 2015
412
151
131
Oklahoma
Splay leg is usually caused by

A temps too high during incubation
B humidity too high during incubation
C slick walking surface for newly hatched chicks.

My point, recalibrate your incubator and eliminate it as a possibility.
 

ExoticRescue

Chirping
May 31, 2016
21
15
64
Okeechobee, Fl
Splay leg is usually caused by

A temps too high during incubation
B humidity too high during incubation
C slick walking surface for newly hatched chicks.

My point, recalibrate your incubator and eliminate it as a possibility.
I have a cabinet incubator and use a Styrofoam incubator as a hatcher with the mesh wire flooring. I am currently incubating quail, chickens, guineas, and turkeys with no problems except the dark colored turkeys.

In the past 5 days I've hatched 7 turkeys, 8 guineas, and 4 chickens, only the one black turkey has an issue. His little legs look like they are set too wide. He really doesn't seem to have any strength in them. I hobbled him and put him with the guinea babies so he had friends that won't trample him.

I'm pretty anal about my incubator settings and even have incubator cameras so I can check on them when I'm out back or not at home but they both run steady.
 

wynn4578

Songster
Apr 6, 2015
412
151
131
Oklahoma
If the answer to the above was no/ or possibly even if it was yes, how is the diet for the parents. Are they receiving the proper nutrition/vitamins?
 

ExoticRescue

Chirping
May 31, 2016
21
15
64
Okeechobee, Fl
If the answer to the above was no/ or possibly even if it was yes, how is the diet for the parents. Are they receiving the proper nutrition/vitamins?
All 4 turkeys are together so I can not say which pairing is producing these babies. Next season I will separate the adults into pairs to gain more knowledge. I just hate locking them up.

The adults free range 5 acres, have a feeding station that I fill with Purina Flock Raiser, 20% protein, as the ducks, guineas, and chickens also use the feeding station, it is the easiest thing to feed for everyone.

I know they eat bugs and stuff in the yard, and I find it comical and usually laugh when I see them or the other fowl chasing them. I run a rescue for exotic animals so I breed my own superworms, mealworms, and discoid roaches because we have many animals here that benefit from bugs as a source of protein and easily digestible nutrition. Plus I know what my bugs are eating so I know how healthy they are.

So they get bugs for snacks 2 or 3 times a week. We also have our own garden so they get things from watermelon to squash, whatever is producing, in the feeding station as well.

Is there anything they're missing out on?
Thank you so much for your genuine concern and help. I know it may not be possible for me to save this current baby but knowing someone is giving this some thought and trying to help is making me feel better. Thanks so much! :)
 

wynn4578

Songster
Apr 6, 2015
412
151
131
Oklahoma
Ire sounds genetic. I wouldn't imagine if your flock free ranges, gets bugs and veggies on a regular basis that it would be nutritional. Sounds like they are well fed.

I know I've read somewhere about a possible genetic link in chickens that have been substantially line breed but I don't know if it were ever proven or disproven. Best you may be able to do is separate and link see if you can link it to a specific bird. I'll try to find an article covering the possible genetic link in chickens but I'm not sure if I'll have much luck. It was a few years ago that I read about it.
 

R2elk

Magical, perfect creature
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Feb 24, 2013
18,994
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Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
All 4 turkeys are together so I can not say which pairing is producing these babies. Next season I will separate the adults into pairs to gain more knowledge. I just hate locking them up.
My guess is that the pairing that is producing the dark poults are too closely related and is bringing out bad traits.

You have one too many toms. I try to keep 4 to 5 hens for one tom. Turkeys do not do well as pairs. You are lucky that your hens have not gotten injured. Normally when 2 toms are kept with 2 hens, the results are low fertility and injured or dead hens. Usually when one tom mounts a hen the other tom will knock that tom off of the hen's back often causing the hen to become injured as the tom scrambles and claws at the hen trying to remain mounted.
 

ExoticRescue

Chirping
May 31, 2016
21
15
64
Okeechobee, Fl
My guess is that the pairing that is producing the dark poults are too closely related and is bringing out bad traits.

You have one too many toms. I try to keep 4 to 5 hens for one tom. Turkeys do not do well as pairs. You are lucky that your hens have not gotten injured. Normally when 2 toms are kept with 2 hens, the results are low fertility and injured or dead hens. Usually when one tom mounts a hen the other tom will knock that tom off of the hen's back often causing the hen to become injured as the tom scrambles and claws at the hen trying to remain mounted.
My one Tom is obviously dominant so I think that's why I've been fortunate so far. Was hoping to trade out some babies with someone or a few people to get some unrelated females so we'd have a few more.

Thank you for your input, I appreciate it.
 

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