Turkey Raising, Part 2 Rearing, Feeding, Marketing

Rearing

Once fully feathered at about 7 weeks of age, the poults may be given outside range of 1500 m2 (0.15 ha) per 100 birds.

Intensively housed birds are brooded and reared in the same shed at a density of 5 birds per square meter and processed by 12 weeks of age.

Feeding

Turkeys are fed mainly a balanced diet of corn and soybean meal mixed with a supplement of vitamins and minerals. Fresh water is available at all times. On average, it takes 84 pounds of feed to raise a 30 pound tom turkey.

A turkey starter diet of between 24% and 28% protein should be fed until 8 weeks of age. Ideally, feed a 28% ration for the first 4 weeks and reduce to 24% for the next 4 weeks. This protein level is reduced to 20% and fed until marketing.

Prepared feeds should be placed in self-feeding-type hoppers to provide unrestricted access at all times.

Marketing

Traditionally, turkeys have been bought at Christmas and Easter as big birds, ranging from 2.5 to 5.0 kg plus in size (dressed weight). This requirement is slowly changing as families buy smaller one-meal birds at other times of the year. Further processing of turkey portions is enabling the processor to attract a larger share of the consumer’s budget. The consumer can now buy over sixty different cuts of turkey and further processed turkey products such as turkey hams, steaks and sausages (smoked and broiled).

More Raising Guides and Tips

  1. Turkeys may be allowed to roam about, and gather in barn at night.
  2. Since turkeys eat plants, those that they should not eat must be fenced.
  3. Besides grass, turkeys should be fed with mixed grated coconut, fruit peels, corn, sorghum, fish and shrimps.
  4. Turkeys in coops (that are elevated from the ground), consume more food than those roaming about. But they should not be allowed to stay in coop always because this will easily wear out the flooring of their house because of their weight.
  5. For 500 turkeys, 15 sacks of feed are normally consumed weekly, but this is reduced if they are allowed to roam.
  6. One way is to have a shelter in the midst of their pasteurland where they will always find food and water.
  7. This shelter must also provide place for sleep and nest. The shelter must be about three (3) meters high, five (5) meters wide and 10 meters long. The four sides are open, and the floor can absorb manure. In one side are nests, and at the other are food and water in separate containers.
  8. The flooring should be three (3) meters longer than the shelter, fenced with about five (5) feet wire where they can mate and spread out their wings, and eat.
  9. If the weather is good, they should be allowed to roam to pick insects and eat grass. So as not to run out of forage or overeat them in a place, they should be transferred from place to place in the field, separated by wire fence.
  10. Feeding is twice a day — in the morning before they are set free, and in the afternoon when they come back.
  11. Feed must contain 24% protein, which is not attained in most commercial feeds. In the U.S., turkeys are given: 24% protein, 2% calcium and 0.9% phosphorus. Here, they are given 16% protein, 24% calcium and 1% phosphorus. Turkeys grow up to five (5) kilos in four months in this diet. Normally, a male turkey weighs 10 kilos and a female 7 kilos within 18 weeks.
  12. They must always be provided with food and clean water. If necessary (which is not often) they are given powdered antibiotic in their food and drink or if necessary, by injection.
  13. The turkey chick cannot see up to age one week after hatching, so they are spoonfed until they can eat by themselves. (In the U.S., these are given milk, which is too expensive for us).
  14. For every 20-25 female turkeys, only one male is needed. So that egg laying will be continuous, the mother turkey is not allowed to sit on her eggs. These are gathered and hatched in the incubator.
  15. Eggs are gathered in April or May, and incubated around July.
  16. They are hatched in the first week of August and are raised from 26-28 weeks. (The raisers set these for Thanksgiving Day or Christmas).
  17. Turkeys molt (shed feathers) once a year. After molting, they lay more eggs. So, the raisers make them molt in preparation for Christmas. Molting is hastened when food is scarce and day is short. So, the feed of layers is reduced and are kept longer in a dark coop and by releasing them much later in the morning.
  18. Turkeys diseases generally, are chicken pox, blackening of the head, birds pest, neck paralysis (cannot swallow”) and external parasite. The blackening of the head is the most serious disease of turkeys. This is acquired from feeds and contaminated water.

Breeders:

Red Ostrich Farm
Phone: 363-8812
Email: [email protected]

Herbest Turkey Farm
Engr. Gil Victor O. Quizon
Antipolo, Rizal
Mobile: 092908968379, 0928-5051501
Nestor or Emma: 0916-7203702, 0918-2486456

Other Farms:
Toper: 0928-5051501
Marc: 0918-6209652

sources: norbest.com, agric.nsw.gov.au, elgu2.ncc.gov.ph

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