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Joined: 30 Jun 2006
Posts: 17064
Location: Yell County
Post #1  Post subject: Effect of Aflatoxin Laced Feed on Wild Turkeys
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:39 pm 
With the ever increasing use of corn for baiting here in Arkansas I can't help but wonder if aflatoxicosis could be one of the root causes of low turkey numbers or decreased gobbling activity since studies have shown aflatoxin laced feed affects turkey and other birds health and can cause death.

Although there could be more recent studies, here's the turkey related info contained in a short 1997 brief released by the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study group based at the University of Georgia (of which Arkansas is a member) concerning the effects of aflatoxins on deer and wild turkey.

Aflatoxin Tested in Wild Turkeys

SCWDS Briefs, April 1997, 13.1

"Aflatoxins, which are toxic byproducts of the fungus Aspergillus, can produce disease in a wide variety of animals and humans. Experimental studies in poultry and domestic animals have shown that aflatoxins can cause poor feed utilization, depressed weight gain, lowered immune responses, liver damage, blood clotting abnormalities, cancer, and death. Heat and drought damage to corn enhances aflatoxin production in the field, or the fungi can overgrow in grains that become moldy in storage.Accordingly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration monitors and restricts levels of aflatoxins that are allowed in foods such as corn, other cereal grains, and peanuts that are intended for animal or human consumption."

"A few published case reports implicate aflatoxin as a mortality factor in waterfowl; however, aflatoxicosis has not been widely recognized as a threat to wildlife, possibly because the dose of aflatoxins is diluted by other foods eaten under natural conditions. As opposed to natural conditions, exposure to aflatoxins could be increased substantially when contaminated feed is deliberately offered to wildlife as feed or bait."

"Through supplemental funding from the National Wild Turkey Federation, SCWDS recently completed a study that evaluated the response of wild turkeys to various levels of dietary aflatoxin. Four-month-old pen-raised wild turkeys were used; birds of this age were chosen to simulate fall exposure of juvenile wild turkeys to aflatoxins at deer bait piles. Three groups were fed 100, 200, or 400 parts per billion of aflatoxin in the feed over 2 weeks; the fourth group served as a control. Preliminary results indicate that aflatoxin-fed birds had decreased weight gains and feed consumption as compared to control birds. Blood chemistry alterations attributable to liver dysfunction were seen at varying degrees depending on the dose of aflatoxin fed. Decreased liver weights, liver enzyme alterations, slightly altered blood coagulation patterns, and mild histologic changes were indicative of low-level liver damage. Immune function, particularly the cell-mediated portion, also was compromised. The effects were seen in all treatment groups, but statistically significant effects generally were seen only at the highest level (400 parts per billion). This study indicates that short-term, low-level aflatoxin ingestion can have an effect on juvenile wild turkeys and suggests that feeds containing aflatoxin even as low as 100 parts per billion should be avoided for use as wildlife feeds. Based on these results, we contend that feeds used for wildlife should be held to the same standards as for domestic animal and human use. If there is any question on the status of a wildlife feed, aflatoxin assays can be obtained through most state veterinary diagnostic laboratories."

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Joined: 18 Aug 2006
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Location: East side of Lake Erling
Post #2  Post subject: Re: Effect of Aflatoxin Laced Feed on Wild Turkeys
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:40 pm 
It is possible that birds can die from eating bad grain. It is probable that when birds are gathered in numbers unnatural in nature to a place of feeding on unnatural food source that two things will happen. First and foremost it will cause a spreading of disease that would otherwise not happen and second it makes it easier for the predator to take more than his natural share of birds. There are certainly more bad things that happen when man interferes with nature but those two come to mind first for me.

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Joined: 15 Apr 2011
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Location: ne arkansas
Post #3  Post subject: Re: Effect of Aflatoxin Laced Feed on Wild Turkeys
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:42 pm 
I wish the game and fish would outlaw feeding all together. People take it to far and it usually doesn't help the game.

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Post #4  Post subject: Re: Effect of Aflatoxin Laced Feed on Wild Turkeys
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:13 pm 
Coming from Iowa baiting is a new thing to me but I have been around a little corn(haha). I know that mold in corn can cause cattle & horses to get sick, so I would assume that it would do the same for wildlife.

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Joined: 26 Mar 2010
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Location: Vilonia
Post #5  Post subject: Re: Effect of Aflatoxin Laced Feed on Wild Turkeys
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:44 am 
I think that commercial turkey and chicken farms pose a much greater risk to turkeys than corn does.
People use chicken litter from houses for fertilizer and that spreads disease through the wild flocks.

With that said...people who feed corn should feed the right corn in the right way.
Aflatoxin tested corn and don't pile it up on the ground to rot.

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