Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 19, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Market age turkeys were deprived of either feed, water, or both feed and water for up to 54 hours to determine if feed deprivation would cause green liver discoloration. Turkey osteomyelitis complex (TOC) is a significant problem in the turkey industry. TOC is characterized by lesions found in the joints, bones, and soft tissues. The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) established a turkey inspection program to identify turkeys with TO based on green discoloration of the liver. In general, turkeys with TOC will have green livers, however, only 50% of the turkeys with green livers will have TOC. Therefore, the turkey industry in an effort to insure that no turkeys reach the market place with TOC, is compelled to devalue turkeys with green discolored livers which are otherwise healthy. Before turkeys are processed they are taken off of feed to insure that the intestines are empty when processed. It is possible that if turkeys are off of feed for an extended period of time that this might result in the green discoloration of the liver. Bile, the greenish fluid contained in the gall bladder, is released from the gall bladder as stimulated by feed passage through the intestines. If there is no stimulation to release bile into the intestines, as would be the case when feed is withheld from the turkeys, then bile might backup in the liver and turn the liver green. However, these studies did not find any difference in the appearance of the livers of the turkeys that had been deprived of either feed or water, or both feed and water. It remains unknown what causes the green discoloration of the livers of apparently healthy turkeys.
Technical Abstract: Turkey poults at 1 d of age were obtained from a local hatchery (Experiment 1), or at 14 wk of age from a local grower (Experiment 2), and kept in floor pens with feed and water available for ad libitum consumption. When the turkeys reached 16 wk of age (Experiment 1) and 18 wk of age (Experiment 2), the treatments were established within a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement and consist of ad libitum consumption of feed and water (control), or feed, water, or both feed and water withdrawal. In Experiment 1, 1 turkey per pen, 6 turkeys per treatment, were killed every 4 h for 32 h, and in Experiment 2, 10 turkeys per treatment were killed at 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, and 54 h after feed, or water, or both had been withdrawn. The turkeys were bled at sampling times 16 and 32 h in Experiment 1 and at each sampling time in Experiment 2. Serum was collected and hematological and clinical chemistries performed. The turkeys were examined for green liver discoloration and turkey osteomyelitis complex lesions. Withdrawal of feed water, or both feed and water for up to 54 h did not affect the incidence of green liver discoloration in these studies. Serum triglyceride concentrations were the most sensitive blood constituent to either water or feed withdrawal, with reductions (P </= 0.05) occurring at 16 h after feed withdrawal. Hemoconcentration resulted in an increase in hematocrit and hemoglobin levels 30 h after water withdrawal.