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Hi, I'm new to the forum and did try to do a thread search on my question but found little information. I'm hoping someone can offer information. I had 8 bourbon red turkeys in a moveable pen. Over night on Monday something got in and attacked them. Three got the worst of it. It looked like their skin had been peeled away exposing nothing but the flesh underneath. One was on the throat the other two on the breast. No organs were exposed. I separated the injured birds into their own pens and cleaned their wounds with a betadine and water solution. We are an organic practice family farm so antibiotics are not an option. After speaking with a friend who offered to try and stitch their skin closed I decided it wasn't reasonable to not only put the birds through that process but then also have to deal with the possible infection that could occur, and not be able to treat it. So, I decided to process the birds the following day, Wednesday. Not knowing what attacked them and given the 30 hours or so between the time of the injury and processing I'm unsure if they are safe to eat. I cut away all of the damaged area but I've never had this happen before. Can anyone offer advice from their experience? Thank you.
 

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I figure if you cut away the exposed bits you're probably fine.

However, I do want to address the injury and how to care for it. Your friend was absolutely right in that you should have stitched the birds up if they were only skin injuries. Turkeys have a HUGE capacity for healing from that sort of injury, and if you sew them up they most likely would have been fine. Feathers on living birds have antibacterial properties, and on top of that, you probably wouldn't have been able to sew too tightly so that if the injuries needed to drain, they could have.

I have brought more than a few birds into the kitchen, sat them down on the counter and sewed them up with cotton thread. For whatever reason, the birds sit and let you sew them, they don't make a fuss at all and they don't seem really bothered by the procedure. Generally it's been hens with breeding injuries from clumsy toms (breeding injuries can be severe) and I have never yet lost a hen that was treated this way.

Just wanted to let you know that should this same thing happen again, to give those birds a chance before culling.
 

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I have seen multiple stories with pics of chickens healing up fine from losing large patches of skin with no stitching. A close eye, topical antiseptics applied as needed and quiet rest over time was all it took. Stitching can sometimes create an environment for bacteria to grow
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for that info. Two days after I posted this I noticed feathers under my largest Tom that looked strange. I had missed an injury under his wing. Its been over a week now and I'm amazed at how well it's healing. If there ever is a next time, I won't be so quick to panic. Lesson learned. Thank you again!!
 
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