Blackhead is a critical illness of turkeys. Histomonas meleagridis protozoa trigger the illness, resulting in its technical identify: histomoniasis. Histomonad protozoa happen in practically all poultry environments, besides the place the soil is dry, unfastened, and sandy.
A turkey will get blackhead when histomonads lodge within the hen’s ceca, or blind intestinal pouches. From there they migrate to the liver, inflicting in depth harm.
Indicators of Blackhead in Turkeys
Early indicators of the illness embrace elevated thirst, decreased urge for food and subsequent emaciation, droopy head with eyes closed, droopy wings, and unkempt, ruffled feathers. Broken tissue within the ceca might lead to bloody droppings that originally may seem like coccidiosis.
The time period blackhead is deceptive, as a result of the top of an affected turkey doesn’t actually get black. Nonetheless, diminished oxygen within the blood causes an contaminated hen’s pores and skin, together with its head, to redden. Because the illness progresses, an contaminated turkey’s droppings develop into watery and sulfur-yellow.
Turkeys die from both liver failure or a bacterial an infection following harm attributable to the protozoa. Generally the primary signal of this illness is a useless turkey. The demise fee is 80% to 100%, tending to be highest in younger poults.
The place Does Blackhead Come From?
Histomonads unfold from hen to hen both instantly via cloacal contact throughout mating or via contemporary droppings. Additionally they unfold by way of the most typical parasitic worm in North American poultry — the cecal worm (Heterakis gallinarum).
Turkeys expel cecal worms and their eggs of their droppings. A foraging turkey will get contaminated with blackhead by choosing up cecal worms or eggs containing histomonads. Generally earthworms eat contaminated cecal worm eggs, then infect turkeys that eat the earthworms.
Expelled histomonads that lack the safety of a cecal worm egg rapidly die. However when protected inside a cecal worm egg that in flip is protected inside an earthworm, they might survive within the surroundings for years. Controlling cecal worms is due to this fact the important thing to controlling blackhead-inducing histomonads.
Stopping Blackhead in Turkeys
Worming turkeys repeatedly controls cecal worms. So doesn’t letting turkeys vary with chickens or on land the place any poultry have foraged inside the previous three years.
Turkeys might forage on such land in solely two years, whether it is rototilled and gardened earlier than utilizing it as turkey pasture. That’s as a result of histomonads are vulnerable to the drying that happens after tilling the soil.
Though child turkey poults and chicks might brood collectively, maintain younger rising turkeys away from older turkeys and chickens. Throughout the rising interval, pasture rotation additionally helps. So does periodically transferring feeders, drinkers, and out of doors roosts to keep away from poop concentrations in these areas.
Diagnosing and Treating Blackhead
The one solution to diagnose blackhead in turkeys is thru a necropsy. Optimistic identification is thru analyzing ulcers within the ceca and lesions on the liver of useless turkeys.
No efficient remedy is presently accessible for stopping or treating blackhead. Purpose sufficient to keep away from this critical illness of turkeys via cautious administration.
And that’s in the present day’s information from the Cackle Coop.
Gail Damerow wrote the chapter on protecting turkeys in The Yard Homestead Information to Elevating Farm Animals.