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HELP! Wounded turkey

 
pollinator
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Hen turkey.  Survivor of a coyote pack incursion.  Can she be saved?  See pictures.

Edit to add: only other survivor is a tom.  Will he be ok alone for several months or should we eat/sell him if the hen can’t be saved?
0870042C-C290-468E-BF6D-CC57774C8B77.jpeg
Injured turkey wound
Injured turkey wound
A0288911-EE8E-4C0E-BF8C-4F364BE932B9.jpeg
Injured turkey wound
Injured turkey wound
 
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I do chickens not turkeys, but I've found that no matter how bad it looks, if you keep her clean and contained and where no one else will pick on her, the odds are good she'll make it.

Being a mouth wound, cleaning with warm, mildly salty water would help decrease infectious microbe load.

Once it's scabbed over, vaseline helps to keep the scab soft and less "itchy" so the girl won't pick at it herself.

Once she's acting fine and it's scabbed and shows signs of healing, I'd try to put her and Tom together so they aren't lonely, assuming he responds to that arrangement kindly.

Good luck! I've amazed the birds we've had that lived and had good lives.
 
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Andrew, if it was my bird, I would put it out of its misery. That's a deep wound and undoubtedly very painful for the bird. I've had chickens with wounds on their backs heal, but nothing like what I see in the picture. Sorry to see this happen.
 
Andrew Mayflower
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Quick update.  I found a local farmer with a couple hen turkeys they wanted to sell, so I picked them up to keep the tom company, and hopefully they will be able to breed.  The ones I got are Narragansetts, so any babies would a mix of that and Blue Slate.  

I put the wounded hen in a rabbit tractor in the garage with straw under the tractor (to make cleaning up easy as well give some insulation from the concrete).  That will also keep her out of the worst of the weather given how windy it's been lately.  I irrigated the wound as best I could with saline, then gave it a coating with iodine and then Blue Kote yesterday.  This morning did the iodine and Blue Kote again.  She was kind of sprightly! Got out of the rabbit tractor a couple times while trying to treat her, but given I'd put her in the garage it wasn't too hard to catch her again.  

I'll keep her confined like that as long as she's got that open wound.  Assuming it closes up I'll see how her feathers are looking and possibly put her back out with the other turkeys once I think she'll do well enough outside.  

If she takes a turn for the worse though I'll put her down.  But I'm cautiously optimistic.  I have no compunctions over putting her down, I'd just hate to do that if she has a real chance of making it through.  

On a side note, the farm I got the turkeys from has an overabundance of Katahdin ewes (most if not all of which are pregnant).  In a couple months I'll most likely go back to them to get the sheep to start my flock.
 
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I know I had a hen (Chicken) dragged out of the coop in the pouring rain by her head one night, by a possum. Shot the possum, thought the hen was dead. Double checked and she was alive, so I put her in a box with a heat lamp. I had to force her to take water and food because she had so much dried blood on her head she couldn't see. A few weeks later she was fine. She can see out of the one eye she has left, and she walks with a limp.. I would not count the bird out. My old girl will die of old age, she has earned it.
 
Andrew Mayflower
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So far she's still alive.  Wound looks pretty ugly, but I think it's starting to heal.  Keeping her confined in the garage still.  I don't imagine I'll be able to let her back into the flock with the tom and the 2 new hens for at least another week to 10 days.  I feel bad for her as she must be bored and confused, never mind in some degree of pain.  But, she's eating (and pooping), and runs around the rabbit tractor when I try to get ahold of her to treat the wound.
 
Jay Angler
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It may not help, but when I was hoping not to have a small number of incubated ducklings from imprinting on me, I recorded "normal, doing duckie things" by the duck run for about 2 minutes and then I'd play it for the ducklings several times a day. I couldn't leave it on longer as it was just on my cell-phone. Yeah - people laughed at me, but my skin is tough and the ducklings integrated with the help of an injured Drake, so maybe it helped???
So recording your Tom + 2 might give her comfort so long as it doesn't make her more agitated by her trying to get to them. Similarly, if injured girl is making noises, playing them for the other group might help them accept her when she's well enough to integrate.
 
Andrew Mayflower
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She's still kicking!

With her level of healing I'm getting close to wanting to reintroduce her to the tom (and the 2 new hens).  I think I'm going to wait until the coop I picked up from friends is off my trailer and in place in the back yard.  Weather has been quite mild, but we've got some freezing weather coming, and with the loss of feathers and fat layer on her back I'm worried she'll be vulnerable to exposure overnight.  With that coop she'll be sheltered from the wind and will at least have the body heat of the other 3 turkeys to ward off the cold.  I'll be locking them all in the coop overnight for coyote protection.

I need that same friend to come up with his 4x4 pickup so we can drive the coop close to its permanent home as it's too heavy to move otherwise.  Hopefully that will be able to happen this weekend.
 
Jay Angler
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Andrew Mayflower wrote:With her level of healing I'm getting close to wanting to reintroduce her to the tom (and the 2 new hens).  I think I'm going to wait until the coop I picked up from friends is off my trailer and in place in the back yard.

Reintroducing her while moving the birds into their new home which will therefore be "neutral" territory is a good approach from my experience. You may still need to keep a close eye that the two new hens don't attack Wounded Girl.
 
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Andrew Mayflower wrote:She's still kicking!

With her level of healing I'm getting close to wanting to reintroduce her to the tom (and the 2 new hens).  I think I'm going to wait until the coop I picked up from friends is off my trailer and in place in the back yard.  Weather has been quite mild, but we've got some freezing weather coming, and with the loss of feathers and fat layer on her back I'm worried she'll be vulnerable to exposure overnight.  With that coop she'll be sheltered from the wind and will at least have the body heat of the other 3 turkeys to ward off the cold.  I'll be locking them all in the coop overnight for coyote protection.

I need that same friend to come up with his 4x4 pickup so we can drive the coop close to its permanent home as it's too heavy to move otherwise.  Hopefully that will be able to happen this weekend.




It's good to hear that the bird is still living! I was actually wondering how she was doing when I clicked on permies today.  I'd definitely keep an eye on her as long as she has a scab or open(ish) wound. I know chickens will peck each other if something looks unusual.
 
Andrew Mayflower
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She is very antsy to get out of the rabbit tractor in the garage.  Later this morning I'll move her out of the garage, but still in the tractor, to a spot next to where the other 3 turkeys are.  We got the coop moved into position, but still need to add roost bars, and get wood shavings for bedding.  Plus some detail work on the fence in the area I'm going to keep them, including installing a gate, so that the turkeys can't get out (or coyotes in).  Figure a day or two out of the garage but in the tractor, and then move them all up to the new area probably Wednesday, at which point I'll let her out of the tractor.  At that point she'll be 17 days or so out from the attack.  
 
Jay Angler
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Any chance she'd cooperate for a photo op? It would be good to post a picture of what her healing looks like for others to see what a healing wound in poultry looks like.
If she does cooperate, give her a treat from me. I'm not sure what a treat is for a turkey, but my chickens *adore* a kale leaf!
 
Andrew Mayflower
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Jay Angler wrote:Any chance she'd cooperate for a photo op? It would be good to post a picture of what her healing looks like for others to see what a healing wound in poultry looks like.
If she does cooperate, give her a treat from me. I'm not sure what a treat is for a turkey, but my chickens *adore* a kale leaf!



No kale handy, but here a picture.  Been 15 days as of this morning since the attack.  I haven’t put any blue-kote on it for about 10 days.  Still looks pretty ugly, but she’s not showing any signs of infection, and hopefully the others won’t pick on her when I let out of the rabbit tractor.  I figure 2 days separated by the tractor and hopefully, along with a move to the new spot, and they’ll get along ok.

She definitely seems happy to have grass under her.  The tom and 1 immediately came over to see her.  The other hen was a bit more circumspect.
9B965873-D35D-492A-9577-9C86B162AC04.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 9B965873-D35D-492A-9577-9C86B162AC04.jpeg]
 
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No signs of infection? That is gross necrosis.
 
Jay Angler
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Peter Griffith wrote:No signs of infection? That is gross necrosis.

I've seen similar but smaller in chickens and had them survive and thrive, as has a friend of mine. I've seen wounds that would kill a human just slowly heal from the edges in birds. The edges of the wound look just like I've seen in a chicken I still have and you'd never know she ever was so badly wounded. At this point, we sometimes would put raw honey on the edge of the wound to help it soften.
 
Andrew Mayflower
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Peter Griffith wrote:No signs of infection? That is gross necrosis.



There’s no smell and it is healing.  Bad as it looks.  She’s eating and drinking normally, poo is normal and she is quite active.  The color is mostly dye from the blue-kote spray.  
 
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