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123fish

Beard rot?

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123fish

I was wondering if that is beard rot on the gobbler in the picture that kdawg posted of a bird that I shot this spring in s.w. Minn. The gobbler weighed 23.5 lbs. and had 1" spurs so it was definitely not a jake with blond highlights. wink.gif I have never seen a bird with beard rot so I thought I would ask the pros. Thanks for posting the pic kdawg.

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brittman

Another explanation is the beard broke-off in icy or deep snow winter conditions.

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Kyle Sandberg
turkey.jpg

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123fish

What causes those blond tips on the end of the mini beard?

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DonBo

Another fluke of nature. The lighter tips are not unusual. I have seen that before, always at the very tips which tell me the beard didn't break or wear off, just a short beard on a big bird.

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HateHumminbird

The existence of shorter than usual beards, and lightly colored (even red-colored) beards have been observed for quite some time. Traditionally, this has been described as "beard rot"; caused by anything from fungal infections, mites, and ice-buildiup/breakage.

While "beard-rot" has become the accepted term for this phenomenon, it really doesn't have much to do with rotting as one might think of it in its traditional sense.

While there's a fair body of information (mostly anecdotal) to suggest otherwise, everything I've asked or read of wildlife biologists suggests that "beard rot" is actually caused by an interruption or decrease in melanin production. Melanin gives the beard its black color (hence the buff colored tips) and contributes to the strength of its fibers.

You'll see many of the big supplement companies that are looking to get into the turkey market claim that it's due to poor nutrition, though I haven't seen or read anything to validate that other than advertisements.

Regarding the ice-buildup and breakage, this can happen to birds with the melanin deficiencies as their beards are weaker due to decreased production.

The real question is what causes this interruption or decline in melanin production? Perhaps it is nutrition-related?

Joel

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