If you want to keep turkeys for food or profit, then one of the things you need to be concerned about is diseases and how it affects your birds.
Specifically, bumblefoot and knowing whether turkeys can get bumblefoot
This is because as a farmer and someone who really cares about your birds, you need to know what ails them and how to prevent or treat it.
Can turkeys get bumblefoot? Turkeys get bumblefoot and like other birds it can dramatically affect them and in extreme cases can cause death. There are various ways you can notice the signs and the symptoms and also how to treat them.
In this article we will be looking at what bumblefoot it, what causes it, the symptoms and how you can ensure that it never affects your birds.
What is bumblefoot?
Bumblefoot also known as pododermatitis is a very common type of foot infection that affects poultry, turkeys and other birds.
It is quite common and can be easily treated but one thing you need to know is that it’s severity can range in scope and it needs to be treated with urgency and care.
Although bumblefoot affects your birds and starts at the surface, if care is not taken it can quickly spread to the muscle and the bone tissues and if left untreated can cause death.
The most common cause of bumblefoot in turkeys is a staph infection which is usually found is most turkey coops and houses.
This is because turkey coops and houses are always messy and contain a lot of dirt and leftover food.
For the most part, bumblefoot is easily preventable and all it takes is some dedication and proper care.
Signs and symptoms of bumblefoot in turkeys
As the name clearly states, bumblefoot affects the feet of your birds and this makes it very difficult to detect most times.
Basically some of the early signs of bumblefoot in turkeys are limping or hopping with your birds clearly favouring one foot over the other.
Also if you notice a swollen foot or inflamed tissue on the leg, then this is clearly an indication that a staph infection is present.
So you want to make sure that you observe your birds regularly and take notice of any changes in their physical behaviour as this will be the first sign of a problem.
Bumblefoot usually manifests itself in the form of a nasty welt or boil on the surface of the skin which is very painful and can cause discomfort to your birds.
The boil is usually filled with pus and will likely require draining to get it out and cleaning to ensure that it does not get infected.
If you notice that the infected area is beginning to harden or become a black slab, then it means that the infection is getting worse and it needs urgent medical attention.
Bumblefoot can mimic other leg and foot issues, so it is vital to check out the problem up close.
The early warning signs of bumblefoot are hard puffy scabs that may look like small blisters.
Bumblefoot tends to become aggravated rather quickly, so if you suspect bumblefoot, it is crucial to take action immediately.
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How to prevent bumblefoot in turkeys
Prevention is usually the best method to ensure that bumblefoot does not affect your birds and if you ask any vet doctor, they will say the same thing.
The good thing is that the methods are quite simple and just require that you dedicate the time need to ensure that it gets done properly
1. Ensure that their coop is clean
This is without a doubt the best thing you can do to prevent bumblefoot and any disease in particular from affecting your birds.
A clean coop will go a long way in reducing the risk of infections and the growth of bacteria.
I know it can seem like a lost cause trying to keep your bird’s coop clean, but there are simple steps you can take to ensure that it’s always clean
For example, you want to check on it daily and ensure that you get rid of all fecal matter.
The more you allow faeces to gather and collect, the more bacteria grows and when your birds step on the faeces, this can lead to bacteria growth and bumblefoot.
2. Make sure you carry out regular check ups and observation
Another thing you want to do to prevent bumblefoot, is to ensure that you carry out regular check ups and observations on your birds.
This is simply because you want to notice any change in their behaviour and treat it promptly.
The best method is to check their feet regularly as most times bumblefoot will not set in unless an abrasion or infection is not properly treated.
So you want to be very proactive and observe your birds carefully, especially when they are walking about and outside their coop.
If you notice them struggling to walk or limping, then that will indicate that there is an infection or foot issue that can lead to staph.
3. Their diet matters
This might be the most important factor that will help you prevent bumblefoot from ever affecting your birds.
The diet and food that you give to them matters a lot
Turkeys are omnivores and they scavenge a lot of food but their diet ensures that they get the necessary nutrients and minerals that contribute to the development of their skin and feathers.
So the right diet will ensure that your birds are healthy and can always fight off any infection that occurs.
4. Don’t forget grooming
Your birds need to be regularly groomed.
Molting is a common practice amongst turkeys and birds in captivity, but the process is much easier when you take a proactive approach.
Feathers discarded in the coop can be potential hazards for them as the quills of their feathers pose the same threat of foot punctures as a splinter.
Overgrown toenails can easily become infected if a piece of debris becomes lodged in between the nail and the skin.
Trimming your turkey’s talons is another excellent grooming practice that will help keep your turkey’s safe and infection-free.
5. Avoid building high coops
One mistake I see most farmers making is building their coop to high from the ground
What happens is that the recurring force and excess pressure on the foot of your birds while they are in their coop can cause bumblefoot to occur.
As a result, activities like jumping down from their coop can cause foot injuries that might lead to infections in your birds.
So you want to ensure that when building your turkey coops, that they are close to the ground and will not cause injuries to your birds.
How to treat bumblefoot in turkeys
The best way to treat bumblefoot in turkeys is to call a veterinary doctor
Due to its infectious nature, bumblefoot needs to be treated with an antimicrobial, and sometimes with antibiotics.
Often bumblefoot needs to be addressed by a vet who can cut away the infected area in a minor surgical procedure, and in dire cases, amputation of the foot may be required.
But what you can do if you suspect your bird has bumblefoot, firstly is to isolate the bird from the others so that it does infect the others
Use a poultry antimicrobial on the infected area.
Whenever you are dealing with an infection, especially one that affects a sensitive area like the feet, it is a job best left to professionals.
Furthermore, whenever you perform any medical procedures on an open wound without the trained eye of a medical professional, you run the risk of aggravating the problem instead of solving it.
Best to play it safe and call in a veterinary professional.
For short-term treatment, antimicrobial solutions are an excellent way to keep bacteria from growing in and around the open wound.