Turkey with leg problems, please help!


10 Years
Feb 23, 2009
Carleton Mi.
We have 2 BBW turkeys 13 weeks old. Yesterday one was laying around a lot. When it gets up it hobbles very slowly to the feeder or waterer then lays back down to eat or drink. It is pooping fine, will eat or drink if it will go the food and water. Today I noticed it's ankle area looks swollen in both feet. Not raised scales just swollen. Both of these turkeys are in with the chickens and both roost with them. I don't know if it hurt it's self jumping down from the roost, but I am thinking that is what happened. I am giving it a baby asprin in the morning and the night. It doesn't seem to be helping. It is mostly laying around. I picked it up to put back into the coop. I hope it stays there. What else should I do? I know with the meat breads they sometimes can have leg problems, but what else can I do for it?
how high are the roosts?
sounds like she's injuring herself jumping down.

check the bottoms of the feet for any sore, scab, or swelling or heat..
post back if you find anything..(Bumblefoot, which can cause an infection..staph and can spread)
are the ankles hot?
check close for peck marks or signs of sores on ankles.

confine the turk in small area with soft bedding, food and water so she can rest the legs..
If, when she's hobbling around, she is walking as if in pain, but otherwise normal locomotion (no twisting of legs/curled toes) she'll probably be ok. Definitely soft bedding and no inteference from the flock.

The aspirin dosage might be a little low depending on the wt. You could also try rubbing the joints with DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) if available (used to be in health food stores).

You'll find calculations for aspirin here (good formulary to download and keep on hand):

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Thank you for the help. I will check closer for any open sores. I havn't noticed any at this point but he is laying on his feet most of the time. Still eating and drinking. But boy does he have a hard time walking to the feed and water. I am keeping him in the coop and I keep turning all the wood chips for a soft place to lay. Maybe I should up the baby asprin to 3 times a day. He is pretty big. If he doesn't get better should we look into slaughtering early? We were waiting 3 to 4 more weeks to get a bigger bird but I don't want a bird suffering so we can have a big Thanksgiving turkey. He is sleeping on the ground with the sikies at night.
Figure 5mg. per kilo of bird three times a day.

30lb. tom ~ 3 81mg. baby/cardiac dose aspirin a day (actual calculated dose 68mg x3 per day).. This is a little high, but acceptable. You can just crush 81mg. aspirin, make 4 equal piles and (if you can get him to eat grapes) daub it up and feed it to him three of the piles. 15lb. just half the dose. 10lb. 23mg. TID (one of 4 piles). The aspirin might not do anything for him at all if the process is not inflammatory. Definitely check for abcesses on ankles (put a lot of wt. them when they hunker down). If he is drinking water regularly just dissolve a 325mg. Aspirin in a pint of water.
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Ok that helps about the asprin. No heat or sores on feet or ankles. The swelling looks like it is going down some. The roost he likes is 2.5' high. He stayed in all day I would find him either near the water or near the food. Tonight when I went to lock them up for the night guess who was up on the roost. Mr. turkey. I got my husband to help me get him back on the ground and he said let him be he must be feeling better or he wouldn't have gotten up there. So we left him. The last 3 nights he has stayed on the floor. So I will see how he is in the morning. If he is still on the roost I will help him off so he doesn't make it worse again.
The issue is that they're Broad Breasted Whites, bred to be meat birds (read as "grow fast, slaughter soon"). (I like them as pets, too - which is sort of like shooting myself in the foot...we have three adults now and two poults).

If you want them to last you'll need to reduce their food intake. 12 hours with, 12 without works for us. We're raising ours on non-medicated game starter. It helps if they are allowed to free-range and eat a lot of grasses (provide them with grit appropriate to their age). You'll want to slow down their growth a bit if you want to keep them as pets. It's very difficult to do.

Avoid the traditional turkey-growing food. Again: grow fast, slaughter soon.

Make sure since he's not moving that he has access to food and water.
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Well I helped him off the roost this morning and the swelling still looks like it is down. He is getting around better too this evening. He gets to the food and water and is standing to eat and drink today instead of laying down to eat and drink. I hope he keep getting better.
That's good news! Yeah just slow down his rate of growth - that's the main thing. They're tricky, but it can be done.

I'm glad to hear that he's alright!

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