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turkey toe problems
We have 4 3 year old tom heritage turkeys that we keep for grasshopper control. One of them has developed a huge (Vienna Sausage sized) middle toe. Several months ago he started to limp and had what appeared to be a knot in the middle of his toe--i.e. a swollen joint. The limp would become less, and we would heave a sigh of relief that he had just injured himself and was healing. Then he would begin limping again, sometimes slightly but at times heavily.
The knot has turned into a fat toe--the swelling extends the entire length of the toe now-- and now he is walking fairly normally and does not seem to be favoring the foot at this time. He eats normally and keeps up with the other 3. There don't appear to be any lesions or skin breaks. I have a photo but don't know how to post it or whether this is possible on this forum.
I have read about gout and other nutrition related feed issues leading to foot/leg problems. We feed them mostly all flock pellets (18% protein), game bird chow, and cracked corn along with kitchen parings, but now I have discontinued the game bird feed wondering whether it may have too much protein and be causing problems. They are free range and otherwise have had no health problems.
My husband wonders whether it could be related to frost bite. They don't like their coop and even in the coldest weather (we live in the foothills in southern CO and it can get below 0 degrees) they stay exposed. Last winter they roosted on the top of our garden fence which is 2 x 4's. We didn't realize it but the wire had bent over the top of the fence which means that part of their toes were exposed to metal.
I would appreciate any input. Another bird has a "swollen" appearing knot in the middle of his middle toe and is limping slightly. I am concerned he is experiencing the same malady. We live in the country and none of the local vets work on poultry. Might someone have some idea as to what might be going on? It upsets me that they are experiencing pain, and I worry that something is going on that will affect all of the boys. Many thanks for your input and for allowing me to post my concern. Judy