why are my turkeys dying

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by moonhaus, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. moonhaus

    moonhaus In the Brooder

    Jan 22, 2013
    Hello all

    I'm hoping that your collective wisdom will help me figure out what is going on with my turkey flock.

    I've got a small flock of bourbon red and blue slate birds, mixed genders that are about 11 weeks old. they have been doing great so far, and a few weeks ago, I moved them into a stall in the barn while their pen was being built.

    Last week, I noticed one bird who was weak, and I couldn't get him him to eat or drink. I culled him, watched for other symptoms. A few days later, there were two dead birds in the cage and then a couple days later, there were 4.

    I have had problems with coccydia in the past with my chickens, so I put the poults on a dose of corid just in case - no help.

    None of the other birds have exhibited signs of weakness, and they are all eating. Every time I observe them, they are active and eating eagerly.

    I took one of the dead ones to my local university for necropsy but the process is long and I'm afraid I'm going to lose my whole flock before they can tell me what's going on.
    i've lost 8 in the past week, and have only 25 left.

    If anyone can give me some insight on this problem I would appreciate it so much

  2. junkprospector

    junkprospector Songster

    Nov 28, 2008
    Boise, ID
    Necropsy was my first thought - so good move on that one.

    Parasite control:
    While you're waiting for results, you could maybe get some cayene pepper in their food and water to clear out parasites from their digestive tract.

    Bacterial Control:
    Another possibility is a antibacterial medication, Tetracycline seems to work pretty well.

    Environmental Control:
    You could also ensure that their housing is good - not too cold at night, etc. I don't know what your temperatures drop to at night, but turkeys are pretty suceptable to cold. To check if they are getting too cold at night, You could place a heat lamp in their housing - if they are all huddled around the heat lamp - its a pretty good indication that some supplemental heat is needed.

    Just my thoughts - other, way more experienced turkey raisers will offer some advice i'm sure...
    1 person likes this.
  3. Fat Man

    Fat Man In the Brooder

    Aug 14, 2010
    When I got my 3 Bourbon Reds I lost 2 in the first week. I did my own necropsy and discovered they starved. Their digestive tract was empty. Make sure they are finding the food in the new enclosure, perhaps put something colorful there.
  4. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

  5. moonhaus

    moonhaus In the Brooder

    Jan 22, 2013
    thanks guys, for you help,

    turns out it was a parasite called histomas, I think gotten from being in a pen that had previously held a few adult chickens - which is the kind of thing you do if you have never done this before ;)

    Anyway, the only medication recommended for this is available only by prescription and the birds that survive it will be immune. I'm going to wait it out, hope for the best, and implement a stricter biosecurity plan.

    They are out of that pen now, and in a pasture pen. All seem to be eating normally, I've dosed the food with cayenne and diomataceous earth, and haven't lost any in the past three days. I'm hoping that the rest will survive it and I'll have stronger breeding stock for next season.

    thanks a lot for your suggestions. it is continuously amazing to me, considering the explosion of backyard flocks, how few avian vets there are around here. I live near a huge university with an extensive vet program, and no one seems to know whats going on

    Luckily I have Backyard Chickens :)

  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    That's usually what gets them, I know, I lost 4 before I figured out a treatment plan.

  7. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    Sorry about your loss.
  8. adni02

    adni02 Chirping

    Feb 4, 2013
    Good tips
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    Treatment for blackhead is no less than 30mg/kg of metronidazole once a day for 5 days and a wormer like Fenbendazole (Safeguard or Panacur, liquid or paste). It's true that metronidazole (Flagyl) is a prescription drug, but it can be purchased for tropical fish under the name of fish-zole (250mg tablets) or for pigeons as Meditrich (100mg tablets).

    It will be interesting to see if your final report shows any secondary infections like e. Coli. For that you would need an antibiotic like Baytril or Clavamox.

  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

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