Raising Turkeys - Is Keeping Turkeys With Chickens a Good Idea?
You might have started
raising turkeys and you are thinking of
turkeys with chickens, would that be a good move?
Most professional turkey growers are not open to that idea. Turkeys
are highly susceptible to the Blackhead organisms. 100% mortality
results if they contract the disease and they have not been protected
with proper medication. A lot of chicken carry Blackhead organisms but
these organisms have no apparent effect on them. One of the cardinal
rules of turkey growers is avoid the practice of keeping turkeys with
What is Blackhead disease? And why is
keeping turkeys with chickens
not the best move a turkey grower could ever do?
Histomonas melagridis is a type of protozoan parasite present in
turkeys, and are sometimes found in chickens and game birds, that act
together with facultative bacteria thereby producing the condition
called Blackhead. With an incubation period of 15-20 days, the
parasite is ingested in the Heterakis worms' ova or as larva in
earthworms or feces. Turkey transmission is deemed rapid despite the
fact that it is not easy to infect birds orally. Recent studies show
that infection may readily occur via cloaca or posterior opening when
birds are on contaminated litter.
Symptoms of the disease in turkeys are depression, loss of appetite,
poor growth, sulfur yellow feces and cyanosis of head. Nitro-imidazoles
and nitro furans have been used as treatment to Blackhead disease.
There are some herbal products based on essential oils, like Herban,
have been successfully used. There are several drugs available and are
used by professional growers, though these drugs are not sold in small
quantities or in some locations that are easily accessible to small
The best way to prevent Blackhead disease is to avoid keeping
with chickens or other fowl animals. You have to maintain good
sanitation in your turkey housings. If possible, use concrete floors.
You have to make sure to do regular worming to better control
Care, sanitation, and isolation are keys to a successful disease
control program in turkeys. Some professional growers say that if
turkeys are not care for properly, they will look for ways to die!
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