One of our young turkeys ended up having an eye problem, and so I brought it into the summer kitchen/brooder barn to try to help.

In the process however, one day I walked in, and it had on its head a big blister. I mean, its whole head was a huge blister.

Whaaat was that?? Looked like a big water blister.

Well, I went and looked it up online, and eventually found out that it wasn’t water, but air, and most likely because the turkey had a ruptured air sac. This site explained it. It also made a crackling sound too when squooshed around.

In investigating further, apparently the avian respiratory system is a lot different than other mammals. Here’s a video I watched on it. Basically if I understand it correctly, it has small lungs and no diaphragm like us, but quite a few sacs in the chest and abdomen which fill up with air as part of a 2-cycle process to flow air in and out and into the lungs and body. Apparently this helps there be the large amount of air, and thus oxygen, required for flight. It was actually quite interesting and amazing to me!

Anyway, if one of the air sac ruptures, the air gets into the body under the skin. Thankfully though, apparently, it can heal, but it was suggested that it was good to release the air using something sterile to poke or cut a hole in the skin to do so.

And so I thought I’d give it a go. Here’s a video of one of the first times, and a few days later. Since this video, I’ve had to perform this procedure multiple times, even under the wing around its abdomen, and have discovered that it helps to pull on the pin (sterilized with rubbing alcohol) to make a bigger hole to help release the air quicker:

Even though I’ve had to repeat it, it does sometimes hold for several days, and I’ve changed to working on its eye only twice a day, to try to give it rest all day and all night, hoping the sacs will indeed completely heal.

We thank the Lord it has worked it seems so far, and we pray God might grant it healing eventually! And what an amazing Creator with the inner workings of a bird’s respiratory system!

— David