Robert is an Agribusiness Consultant, who studied Agribusiness Management
Turkey Production Farming
Turkey production is common in rural small scale producers, but it can as well be kept on a large scale for commercial purposes. Turkeys are fast growing poultry birds and this make them to be sold at the age of 12 weeks and can be kept on a free range for small scale production. Comparing Turkey egg to chicken egg, Turkey egg weighs more than chicken egg, about 3 times more and Turkeys are known to withstand numerous diseases than chickens. This article will provide in detail on how to keep Turkey as well as management practices.
Common Turkey Breeds
1. Belts Ville White
This breed has white feathers, and is neither small nor large in size. Toms (male Turkey) weighs a range of 10 to 12 kg, while the female Turkey (hens) weighs an average of 7.5 kg.
2. Broad Breasted Bronze
This breed is common and male weighs a range of 15 to 18 kg under good management while the hen can weigh a range of 12 to 13 Kilograms and has bronze colours feathers.
3. White Holland
This breed is more common in European countries, but it can be kept in all climatic conditions. White Holland tom weighs up to 16 kg under good management and this breed is suitable for meat production. It has a medium size body and has snow white feathers.
Turkeys are large in size compared to other poultry birds, so make sure you provide enough floor space to each Turkey to allow freedom of movement. They can be kept best in semi-intensive system, but can also perform better on an intensive system of large scale commercial production. Construct a simple but strong Turkey house which is able to provide shelter and provide a protection to your animal and make sure the house is easy to clean and is kept clean all the time. Make sure the Turkey house has a temperature range of 15 to 18 °C and is well ventilated all the time. In Turkey house, make sure each Turkey has a free space of not less than 0.4 to 0.5 square meters.
Brooding in Turkey is similar to that of chicken or other poultry birds. Turkey should be under the brooding system for a period up to 6 to 8 weeks. Make sure the Turkey brooder has a temperature around 38 °C and this temperature can be reduced by 0.5 each day to 4 to 6th week.
It is more common for a poult (a Turkey chick) to die due to starvation as in most cases, they do not start eating feeds themselves, therefore, a good care has to be given to reduce the number of mortalities. Poult has also a leg weakness problem which has to be monitored more closely. Give broiler starter ratio to poult till 8th weeks to Turkeys meant for meat and this will enable them to be eaten or sold at 16 to 20 weeks. Turkey finisher mash can be given from 16th to 20th week when possible. Provide layer feeds if the breeds are for egg production and this can be from 12th week.
Turkeys are susceptible to similar diseases which attack chickens and other poultry birds, but are known to be a little resistance compared to chickens. Make sure you monitor their condition and call a veterinary officer whenever you notice unusual conditions to your Turkey