Turkey CHICKS dying, what is the problem?

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We received thru mail order 19 turkey chicks. that was 6 days ago, and now we have 12. we gave them water right away, as soon as they were out of their box, and put marbles in the water, so they could see it. Fed them high-protein turkey starter food, it was very hot here, but gets a little cool at night, inland WA state, but had a box for them and put a red light/heat lamp at night. Slowly they've been dying. Does anyone have any suggestions? WE also tried sugar water. thanks, we'd like to keep these alive! thanks. we paid for 15 turkeys, BTW and the 4 that were cockerals are doing fine, so far!

-- Gloria Geary (mistymt@theofficenet.com), August 01, 2000


what kind of bedding are you useing? we use sand. is the temp. changing to much between day and night get a gage and keep it even.are they showing signs of anything? listless,crowding are dirty bottoms?

-- renee oneill (oneillsr@home.com), August 01, 2000.

I've never done turkeys before but have done chickens. Maybe it's just plain too hot? Keep a thermometer where you can gauge how hot it is getting. Drastic changes in temp isn't good but neither is too hot. Can they get out from under the heating lamp if they choose to? Do they have sufficient shade, enough room per bird? Can you give them something for the stress caused by the heat, like brewers yeast (which is vitamin B)?

-- Pat (pmikul@pcpros.net), August 01, 2000.

I have noticed that my turkeys are more suseptable to heat than the chickens. Do you have a place where they can be outside with shade during the day? The suggestion about a place to get away from the heat lamp at night was good. We made a temp. box for our chickens out of straw bales with a plywood cover, the heat lamp was in there and turned on only at night, they had plenty of room and did well. GL!

-- Tina (clia88@newmexico.com), August 02, 2000.

Gloria, how are the poults doing? Do you have any idea when the poults are dying? Too much heat sounds like the number one reason. Can you put them in a bigger area so they can move away from the heat as they need to? Are they trampling each other to death? That's common with turkeys. Do they have good ventilation? Is your feed good? Can you provide them with a little alfalfa meal or finely chopped untreated grass? Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), August 03, 2000.

Make sure that the feed is fresh and not moist from humidity or anything. Turkey poults are very suseptible to mold, it will kill them quicker than anything. We feed ours game bird feed and they thrive on it. As others have said, keep them out of drafts (I put towels around the cage to keep drafts out) but open during the day. Too much heat will kill them. If they are outside, make sure they have shade. No fowl like full sun for very long. I use newspaper (no color pages)as bedding and change it every day. They must be kept clean. And they need fresh water always. They need space to move to get away from the heat lamp. Hope this helps.

-- Mary Beierle (barnwood@preferred.com), August 07, 2000.

How are they dying? Are they going down on their sides and getting limp? If so feed them a little mashed boiled egg yolk. I bought 9 from a very reputable hatchery and they started dying on me. After three had died I called the hatchery. They said it could be from not getting enough protein and to feed them some mashed cooked egg yolk. I had another one down at the time and I thought it was almost dead. I boiled an egg and mashed the yolk, and warmed a little milk. Armed with egg yolk, milk and a straw I headed for the brooder. I forced the beak open with my fingers and placed a little egg yolk inside, then took the straw and placed it in the warm milk. Putting my finger over the top of the straw to hold in the milk, I gave the turkey a drop or two at a time to help it swallow the yolk. I finally got two or three bites down it and put it in a box with light by itself. I figured it would die. An hour later I went to check on it and it was up running around. After this I always feed some mashed egg yolk to my turkey poults about twice a week. I also give the adult turkeys egg yolk about once a week. No more dying poults.

-- valerie rowe (vrowe1@netzero.net), February 10, 2002.


Turkey poults are very susceptible to respiratory infections, like aspergillous. We used to hatch out lots of turkey babies, and they would do good for a day or two, then start dying. sometimes they would die three weeks after hatching. So we took a couple dead babies up to the goldkist hatchery and the guy there helped us out by performing an autopsy which showed lung infection. Seems that turkeys can't handle molds very well and will die from that. So we increased the changing of litter, kept it dryer, and yes, turn that temp down some so they don't pant. Give them plenty of room to run about too. We ended up only brooding them one day in the house, then put them outside in a pen which is 5 feet off the ground and the droppings could fall through the bottom. We added a medication (sulfer I believe) to their drinking water for the first two weeks, and fed a high protein turkey starter. No more dead turkeys. But the outside pen was wrapped with a tarp and a heat lamp was installed so they could huddle under if cold. The fresh air and no poop to stir up fixed the problem. Turkeys are kinda hard to get started, but once they are on their way, they are really resistant to about anything. I have six now wandering about the farm that have no shelter provided (they roost on the horse's board fence) even when snowing and icing. But they have never been sick and forage quite well. We feed them oats, corn, and they eat bugs like crazy. Also,the hens lay their eggs and hatch out babies - but this year we need new toms. Old toms over three years old don't seem to produce fertile eggs. The moms raise babies quite well (they really aren't a stupid as people make them out to be). Ours are Royal Palms, and bourban reds, and the bronze (not broad breasted bronze, just the regular guys). Maybe that accounts for it. The bourbans and Royals hatch better than the bronze though. Good luck with your birds.

-- Cindy (colawson@mindspring.com), February 10, 2002.

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