Turkey poults dying

Farmer Viola

6 Years
May 23, 2013
I ordered midget white turkey poults from Mcmurray hatchery. They were shipped on Tuesday and supposed to arrive Thursday, but they didn't. After talking to the hatchery on Thursday and Friday, it was determined that they were shipped to the wrong place. They went from Idaho to Florida, and were then put back on the plane to me in Oregon. The hatchery scheduled me to receive a duplicate batch of turkeys in the future because they said they would all be dead on arrival. They arrived Saturday and 3 of 15 were dead. We immediately dipped their beaks in booster water (vitamins, electrolytes, and probiotics) with marbles in it to prevent drowning. We have continued to dip their beaks multiple times a day to be sure they are drinking. They have 28% unmedicated turkey starter feed in a shiny metal feeder, we watch them eat and their poop looks normal. They are in a tall box without drafts, under an eco glow brooder.

We have continued to lose 1-3 turkey poults a day. They will all look lively, running around, eating and drinking. Then suddenly they will lay down and die within hours. Offering them water, they don't want to drink. They will gasp for air, almost like they aspirated water but there are marbles making their dish very shallow. They slowly get weaker and then die after only a few hours of showing any symptoms. Before that they were all up and running around.

I have heard that turkey poults are very fragile, and mine are no exception. It just breaks my heart to watch them die. My question is, is this shipping stress related? They spent 5 days in the mail and went across the country twice. They arrived Saturday and today is Tuesday; we have 7 left of 16, 3 were DOA so we started with 13 and have lost 6. I don't think it is disease because they are indoors where no chickens have ever lived, in a brooder box unused by chickens. They are warm and draft free. I see them eating and drinking. Why would they just drop dead?
Switch to clear water with just a little sugar in it. Change it twice a day (mix up only a cup or so at a time).

I presume there is room for them to be away from the brooder if they choose to do so?
Is the sugar water for electrolytes? I switched out their water for sugar water last night and refrshed it this morning.

Yes, there is room to get out of the ego glow brooder. The ecoglow itself is angled with one side lower than the other to give a gradient of heat options. It is the larger size 50 chick brooder.
The sugar water is not a replacement for electrolytes. It's a quick energy boost for chicks and poults that have had a rough trip. I generally provide the sugar water (with a beak dip) for the first hour until the chicks are active, then switch to a broiler starter vitamin in the water. Nothing wrong with electrolytes either, but I've had great success with my regimen on all manner of shipped babies.

The sugar water should not be strong, just enough to be like sweetened iced tea rather than sweet tea.
Okay, thank you! So far none have died today. Also i miscounted and there are 8, not 7. Here is a picture of their setup
That looks nice and cozy!

One thing I always do is check the date on chick starter. I only use it if it's less than a few months old, as chick starter is pretty high in oils and they go rancid quickly. I never hold over a bag for the next season, instead I will feed the starter until it's gone and buy fresh for next time. Early in the season, February-March in my area, I need to check the 50# bags as well to ensure they are not holdover from last season. If for some reason I end up with a little extra and the meat birds don't eat it, the layers like it sprinkled on their mash.

I go through about 200# of gamebird starter and 1000# of grower every season, so stale isn't much of an issue around here, but when I hatched or bought only a few chicks or poults at a time it was a real issue.
Last night one poults started acting lethargic, with his wings hanging down. My husband gave him some NutriDrench vitamins which he took about 10 drinks of. My husband has been having to care for the poults mostly because I just had a baby! He also gave him water a few hours apart. His poop was just white, so we think he is not eating food.

This morning the poult was still alive! Husband saw him drink water, and peck at the food dish, but not actually eat. Also gave sugar water again (it was previously removed). And nutriDrench again.
Hope your turks are doing well, I was devastated when I had similar happen with shipped chicks. 20 of 26 were DOA. It's very hard.
But the sugar water works miracles. It's why many of my birds are alive today, including the ones a couple inches from me now in the brooder. :)
thank you! wow, 20 of 26 DOA would be absolutely awful :(

sorry I have not updated here in a while, life here is very busy :) the weak poult I posted about is still alive! he is smaller than the others though, and not quite as rowdy. he does not act as lethargic anymore, and is continuing to eat and drink on his own.

the replacement shipment of poults arrived this week and they ALL lived! they do not have the same kind of symptoms at all compared to the first batch. we are monitoring them closely but so far all seems to be well. I think that the 5 day trip had a lot to do with it..

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