The effects of Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) infections on egg production, fertility, and hatchability were studied in captive-reared wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo). Three groups of adult birds, each consisting of four hens and two toms, were exposed to MG by the respiratory route at the beginning of their breeding season. Fourteen control birds received sterile growth medium. Although no mortality of infected or control birds occurred, egg production during the first breeding season after infection was reduced. The mean number of eggs/hen/day produced by infected groups the first breeding season postexposure (PE) was significantly lower than the control value. The mean number of eggs produced daily by the same hens 1 yr later was unaffected by MG infection. The percentage of fertile eggs produced by infected groups was slightly reduced in both the first and second breeding seasons PE. Hatchability of fertile eggs from infected hens was significantly lower than eggs from control hens. Productivity may be impaired if MG infections occur in free-ranging wild turkey populations.
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Experimental Mycoplasma gallisepticum infections in captive-reared wild turkeys