2 November 2001

Incorrect feed is killing many turkey poults

TURKEY poult deaths due to incorrect feeding are occurring on some farms rearing them for the Christmas market resulting in lost income, warn DEFRA agencies.

According to Eric Crutcher of the Vet Medicines Directorate, producers must obtain vet and feed supplier advice before starting to rear turkeys.

"Turkeys over the age of nine weeks are susceptible to the toxic effects of ionophores, which are added to poultry feed to prevent diseases such as dysentery."

A report, in association with the Vet Lab Agency, highlights the dangers of feeding turkeys poultry feeds containing medicines including salinomycin, narasin, lasalocid and monensin.

"Symptoms of ionophore toxicity in turkeys are muscular weakness and gasping for breath, which are similar to the notifiable diseases avian influenza and Newcastle disease," says Mr Crutcher.

He also advises producers to take advice on how to comply with withdrawal periods, so avoiding medicine residues entering the food chain. &#42