young turkeys keep dying

Brewster, MN(Zone 4b)

There is a tame turkey from the neighbors that seems more comfortable at my house when she has babies. These are a domesticated type that looks just like a wild turkey. She'll arrive with six to eight healthy babies and settle in for the rest of the summer. There are plenty of water dishes around the yard. The only other fowl I have are guineas and they are all healthy. At the point that the young turks are about a quarter grown they seem to look dumpy for a day or two, then just disappear. I throw a bit of cracked corn and some wheat out for whomever wants it every day. By the end of summer she is lucky to go home with one baby. This happens year after year. There is quite a bit of black nightshade around this year. Wondered of that could be killing them. Any other ideas? I get attached to them and hate to see them die off like that.

(Zone 6b)

Not a fun mystery. Hope someone here can help you out.

I am guessing they are not locked up at night. They would be pretty easy prey. So no body is found? They just disapear. Wow.

Brewster, MN(Zone 4b)

Like I said they look dumpy for a day or two, trail far behind the Mom and then I suppose die off in the tall grass somewhere. I have no reason to believe they are being preyed upon. The Mom never goes into a building and although rather calm around the yard she is far from tame. They roost high up in a tree at night. My best guess is the kids are eating something that doesn't affect the Mother or some disease takes them. Just would like to understand what's happening.

Richmond, TX

Coccidiosis is a frequent problem in young birds. Could that be getting the turkey babies? Adult birds are more resistant.

(Zone 6b)

Some of my chickens have had coccidia. I lost a couple of birds from it. I had to buy some powder to put in the water. Amprol 128 is what I have for it. You put 1/2-1 tsp of it in a gallon of water. I'm also using Safeguard goat wormer for my chickens, and Ivermectin too.

The chickens didn't seem to like the Ivermectin in the water too well. Still, it seems they really need it.

What one wormer doesn't kill, the other one does.

Mites and lice are also another big problem in poultry. Have had my problems with those too. They can kill them.

(Zone 6b)

Ivermectin also kills the mites and lice. The bantam chickens only need four drops of it.

I suspect Porkpal is probably right, but worms and lice can also kill them.

(Zone 6b)

According to this website, yes, the black nightshade could kill them.

Notice it says, "the immature berries".

So, maybe that is what is going on. That is your suspicion from the start, and sounds like you might be right. I don't even know what a black nightshade plant looks like, but apparently you are right in suspecting it is the problem.

So maybe about the time the plant starts forming the little berries, is the time these babies die.

Would account for why it happens every year at a certain time too.

I wish you and your baby turkeys the best.

This message was edited Sep 7, 2013 10:08 AM

Brewster, MN(Zone 4b)

Thank you folks, you've given me lots to think about. The nightshade is horrible this year. If I remember correctly my Mom used to make pies with them but I think it was only after a good frost. I could be wrong on that timing but I know we ate them at some point.
Will do more research and see what I find. Thanks again!!!

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