Wild Turkey #13-2660

Species Name (EN): 
Species Name (LA): 
Admission Date: 
December 4, 2013
Release Date: 
December 18, 2013
Location of Rescue: 
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Appeared sickly and unable to walk
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On December 4, a Wild Turkey was admitted to the Center as patient #13-2660. The turkey was part of a flock that had been frequenting a property in Charlottesville for several months. In late November, the property owner noticed that the turkey appeared unwell and was having difficulty keeping up with the rest of the flock. A Wildlife Center volunteer assisted with the capture of the bird and transported the turkey to the Center for care.

During the initial exam, the bird was bright and alert with good body condition and mild dehydration. Fluids were administered to increase hydration.

The turkey presented with weakness in both legs; in its crate, the bird was sitting on its hocks rather than perching. Radiographs were unremarkable, confirming that the weakness in the legs is probably not a result of an orthopedic issue. The bird responds to stimulation [i.e. squeezing the toes] and was observed standing in its crate on December 5, indicating that the inability to stand is probably not neurologic damage.

It is possible that the weakness could be caused by toxicity (such as heavy metal toxicity), a viral infection, or parasites. Blood was drawn on December 6 for further diagnostics. The results of the bloodwork should provide better insight into the possible causes of leg weakness.

The staff will continue to monitor the turkey’s appetite, attitude, and ability to stand.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this unique patient…and to the 2,600 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year. Please help!


December 18, 2013

The turkey was moved to a larger flight pen [A1] on December 16. The bird has been doing very well in the outdoor enclosures, flying to higher perches and moving around well.

By December 17 the veterinary staff felt that it was appropriate to find a release site for the patient. The bird’s prior flock had moved on, and the staff needed to locate a new flock in which to release patient #13-2660.

On December 18, a volunteer transported the turkey to a rural area in Augusta County where turkey tracks had been identified the day before.

Here is a photo of the Wild Turkey, who was featured on the Center's Critter Cam for a short time.



December 12, 2013

Bloodwork performed on Wild Turkey #13-2660 on December 6 revealed a slightly elevated white blood cell count, indicating that they turkey may have an infection. However, The bird’s leg weakness has subsided and the turkey has been able to walk well. The bird was moved to an outdoor enclosure [C-Pen] on December 10.

Repeat bloodwork will be performed on December 13 to check the white blood cell levels. The staff will continue to monitor the turkey’s attitude and appetite. Patient #13-2660 is offered a daily turkey meal – a mix of acorns, nuts, bird seed, mealworms, berries and specialized game bird chow.


Veterinary Fellow Dr. Rich Sim with the turkey patient.