Turkey poults dying! Gasping and laying on back. Whats wrong?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by NapoleanGoose, May 26, 2010.

  1. NapoleanGoose

    NapoleanGoose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2010
    Bishop CA
    I bought 15 turkeys from Porter's and they arrived Friday. One was dead in the box, but I expected as much as I have had turkeys shipped before and it seems that one never does well in the box. They gave me three extra, and so I still had 17. The one that had died was a Pencilled Palm. Alright, so I take them home and give them food, water, and heat. (I'll elaborate on what below) By that night 2 are dead, through the weekend 2 others die. Yesterday, Tuesday, another died. In all 3 Bourbons, 2 Pencilled palms, and an unmarked poult I think is a red-pencilled palm. I called porter's twice and talked to them, but I felt like they were just assuring me it wasn't their problem. They gave me some tips but I was following their instructions on the paper that came with the box, putting sugar in the water, and such. It could be trauma from the shipping, maybe they were shook or handled badly, but would they still be dying 5 days later? I've raised turkeys before just never this many, always 2-3 whites or bronzes. All of these died within an hour of showing symptoms (laying on back, gasping, closing eyes). Each one I've brought inside and warmed up alone, given water, feed, ect. But all die no matter what I do. I know that Porter's isn't liable and won't replace them, but I just want to know whats wrong and am I going to loose more?

    They are about 5 days old since getting here, some look a day or two older, but generally they are the same. I have them in a large 6x8 brooder in my garage, it is framed with wood and covered with chicken wire on all the sides. I would keep them in a tub but they peck each other far to much and it is crowded, so I put them in here. I put some sides up on the garage door side incase there is a draft. They have a 150 w bulb, but plenty of room to get away from it. They seem very comfortable and play and run around. They have turkey starter, and a gallon waterer with karo syrup in it. There are a couple of shiney things on the ground to keep them distracted from pecking. Marker dots on the paper towels, some bright colored chicken scratch spread in some of the corners, a big stuffed goose plushy they sit on, and some jingly toys when they aren't being played with by the gosling in the other pen. I've used this brooder for all my birds and all have been fine so far? Before putting them in it I cleaned it out completely, bleached the bottom, wiped it off, and then put three layers of paper towels in along the entire brooder. I'm not sure exactly how high the light is, I adjust it to how they are behaving, I would guess a little less then a foot. I get their water from the tap, and we get our water from a well. It doesn't have a softer (porter's asked that) so it shouldn't be too salty.

    Any idea on what is wrong with them? Or if I am doing something wrong?

    Thank you,
    Sierra
     
  2. chicks4kids

    chicks4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Northern Indiana
    It's sounds to me like way too much stress in shipping. I have been told by "old school" farmers to give them antibiotics, yes antibiotics, for at least 2 weeks after you get them. They are much more fragile than a chicken (in my opinion) and need the added boost. I also give them vitamins and electrolytes for the first 2 weeks at least as well. Dying 5 days after shipping to me just means that they were struggling and fighting to live...just couldn't do it.

    Before I had turkeys, I never knew how fragile they were. And they are much harder than chickens when they're poults. Good luck!
     
  3. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Jan 27, 2007
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    NapoleanGoose Wrote: I have them in a large 6x8 brooder in my garage, it is framed with wood and covered with chicken wire on all the sides. I would keep them in a tub but they peck each other far to much and it is crowded, so I put them in here. I put some sides up on the garage door side incase there is a draft. They have a 150 w bulb, but plenty of room to get away from it. They seem very comfortable and play and run around.

    What is the temp. in the garage at night? The temp. in the brooder at floor level, in indirectly lit corner and directly under light, at night? My GP's used to take me fishing up past Bishop, in June, and it was generally pretty brisk after sundown. I'd agree with chicks4kids assessment on shipping stress (from low elevation/warm/humid to high, dry and cool - wonder if they spent much time on dock/in truck), and on the supportive measures.

    We brooded ours (5) in the house, in a folding pet cage, that we placed in the middle of a sheet spread on floor and then draped sheet up and over all four sides and as much of the top as was necessary to maintain a steady temp., the air temp., under our improvised roosts (off floor and only indirectly lit by a 150w heat lamp, was 90-95 for first two weeks) - shot of setup with our chooks in it:
    [​IMG]

    More on turkey brooders: http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/turkeymanual/ALBCturkey-2.pdf

    All of these died within an hour of showing symptoms (laying on back, gasping, closing eyes).

    The only other thing that comes to mind ("laying on back") is EPF (early poult flip over). Did the behavior match this?

    ... were observed to have flipped over during the week after hatching. In this condition, poults flip onto their back and cannot turn over or easily right themselves without assistance. Poults that flip over more than once appear to lack neurological control. The poults lie on their back or side with their legs paddling. If picked up and held poult moves its head laterally and after several seconds appears to go to sleep. When placed back down on litter,
    the poult has no sense of balance and falls to one side or the other and legs began paddling its feet. Poults that flip over may also chirp loudly, indicating distress. This condition has been termed “early poult flip-over” (EPF).

    The mortality of the birds that flipped over was 37.8% (17 of 45) compared with an overall mortality for this particular hatch of 7.7% (45 of 582). Of poults that flipped over more than once, 10 of 12 died (83.3%).

    From: http://ps.fass.org/cgi/content/abstract/78/2/178 (this was observed in a specific strain of commercial variety, you've lost individuals from different varieties - just taking a long shot).

    Best of luck to you and your survivors!​
     
  4. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    As you are in CA, you can certainly take advantage of these guys:
    http://www.cahfs.ucdavis.edu/
    free help/necropsy- find out if it is infectious/contagious

    It could certainly be related to shipping stress, but as they are more fragile than chicks- making sure each and every one gets a sip of water when it arrives, and giving them electrolytes in their water for the first day is a good idea. Check your temps- do you have a thermometer? Watching to see that they all get the concept of the waterers- they can survive a few days without eating (yolk remnants) but they DO need to drink immediately on arrival & often after that.
     
  5. NapoleanGoose

    NapoleanGoose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2010
    Bishop CA
    Thank you all for the replies,

    Yes, Ivan3, that's a perfect description of their behavior. Is this something I need to make sure the breeder knows about? Is it genetic to his flock? I used a thermometer and it measured almost 100 degrees directly under the light. Most of the poults are not directly under the light though but to the side. But if I raise it at all they crowd and are cold, so I have left it this height.

    I may try stretching a sheet over, or blocking the sides of the brooder better with something (I like your idea of cardboard), but I don't want to start a fire so I'll consult my mom on it.

    I dipped all their beaks on arrival though it took them a day or two to really know where the food was when they wanted it, so I spread cooked egg yolk in their pen, which they went right for.


    Thanks,
    Sierra
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  6. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    NapoleanGoose wrote: Yes, Ivan3, that's a perfect description of their behavior. Is this something I need to make sure the breeder knows about?

    It appears to be genetic, in specific lines of specific varieties. It could well be someithing else (not stress or EPF). I would've already checked on the UC Davis protocols for shipping the casualties to the Vet Lab (only way to rule out most everything else, if nothing else) as mypicklebird suggested.

    I'd definitely be contacting Kevin Porter.

    Reason I even brought up the brooder info. was your location (SNM) and your mentioning that three sides of brooder consisted of chicken wire, alone? Sounded drafty.

    Hope the rest of the flock does well. Post some shots in the Other Poultry/Turkeys subject line when you can.

    Hang in there and update with any changes!

    ed: clarity​
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  7. NapoleanGoose

    NapoleanGoose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2010
    Bishop CA
    I'm going to see about sending the body to them then. I have one frozen. \\:

    Thank you everyone, for your help, the birds have stabilized with 7 dead and 11 alive. There have been no deaths for a week.

    Sierra
     

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