Turkey is one of the birds marveled by millions of people around the world, though some of them are usually aggressive, this shouldn’t stop you from making cool money from going into a full-scale turkey rearing business.
In this post, we’ll guide you on how to run a viable turkey rearing business. The economic gain of turkeys is high because they grow as fast as broiler chickens and are ready for sale within a short period.
Remember we discussed chicken farming in one of our previous agro-business guides? We’ll be talking about turkey here because are known for their meat production, unlike chickens that produce both eggs and meat.
How to Start Turkey Rearing Business
Rearing turkey is similar to rearing other types of poultry birds like quails, chickens, and ducks. One unique feature about turkeys are their friendly disposition with humans and raising them is quite fun.
We will be discussing some basic steps for starting commercial turkey rearing.
Carefully Select Turkey Breeds
There are a number of turkey breeds all over the world but not all are suitable for commercial production. For a profitable business, you need to choose the modern breeds that are raised specially for commercial purposes.
These breeds have a maximum feed-to-meat conversion ratio. That is, they eat less and convert this feed to meat in a short period of time. A modern commercial turkey breed is the Broad-breasted White.
This breed reared on pasture on small farmland, is tastier when compared to the meat made from a commercial farm. Other commercial breeds are Standard bronze and White Holland.
10 Turkey breeds
- Beltsville Small White
- Black turkey
- Bourbon Red
- Royal Palm
- White Holland
- Broad-Breasted Whites
We’ll be discussing in detail, the features of the above turkey breeds in our subsequent post and where they are mostly found.
Housing & Fencing
For turkey production, it is preferable to make a permanent house with the necessary facilities to make it comfortable for them.
To ensure the safety of the birds, the fencing should be as high and strong as possible because the turkeys get so strong as they grow.
To make the fence, you can make use of woven wire fencing, metal T-posts or wooden posts, or electric poultry netting.
8 Factors To Consider
- Secure birds from harmful animals and predators.
- Make sure the house is spacious enough. Normally, a 75ft by 75ft spacing is sufficient to take up to 12 birds.
- Do not allow turkeys to graze in the pasture till they are of grazing age.
- Wooden litter is preferable.
- Ensure enough light and air enters the poultry.
- There should be an adequate ventilation system.
- The house should be sanitation-friendly.
- Fencing should be above 4ft tall and of strong materials.
It is important to know how to feed the turkeys to avoid problems and also save cost. Nutritious feed helps the birds stay healthy and productive.
- Protein in meals (about 28%): For their first few weeks of age
- Chick starter: For first 6 weeks
- Grower feed: 6 weeks and above with at least 20% of protein.
Turkey takes a lot of water, as such ensure to give them sufficient clean water. Findings have shown that 12 turkeys should take 2 gallons of water daily.
Management and Care
Keep the turkeys in a clean and healthy environment to avoid health issues.
Do not feed them with polluted or stale feed. Also it is important to acquire the necessary training on turkey farming.
Debeaking of turkey
To control feather picking and injuries among the poults, young ones should be debeaked.
This can be done at day old or 3-5 weeks of age. Remove the beak at about one half the distance from the nostril to the tip of the beak.
This is the removal of the snood or dewbill (the fleshy protuberance near the base of the beak) in order to prevent the head injuries from picking and fighting.
At the day-old, the snood can be removed by finger pressure. At 3 weeks of age it can be cut off close to the head with sharp scissors.
This is also called toe clipping, which is done at day old by removing the tip of the toe just to the inside of the outermost toe pad including the entire toenail
Economic value of turkey business
Turkey poults is between N750-N800, meaning you will need N15,400 to N16,000 to buy a half carton
- A carton contains 40 poults (N30,800)
- A half carton: 20 poults
You can definitely make a fortune from turkey farming business. And I’m going to tell you how.
At the time of this report, turkey is a popular choice during major holidays and celebrations like Ramadan, easter, new year celebrations, birthday ceremonies, house warming, and Christmas, wedding, weddings anniversary.
Turkey could be fried, grilled or make barbecue, all these are in high demand.
A pair of turkey wings is between N2, 000 to N3,000 depending on your location.
Market value of a grown turkey:
It is between N15, 000 to N20, 000. It could sell more depending on the season and its weight.
How to reduce fat when consuming turkey:
Eat your turkey without the skin so you don’t consume the fatty parts of the meat.
Weaknesses of turkey
- There is high mortality of young poults
- You need an additional cost for vaccination if you want them to remain health
- Low egg production
- Care to be taken while rearing Turkeys
In case you don’t know, turkeys get nervous easily most especially when they see strangers as such, if you’re rearing for commercial purposes, try as much as possible to reduce entry of visitors into the turkey’s house.
How long does it take for a turkey to grow to full size?
It is common among the gall form species that the female (hen) is usually smaller in size when compared to the male (tom or stag), and mostly less colourful.
Generally, turkeys have wingspans of about 1.5–1.8 meters (almost 6 feet) and male turkeys have a distinguishing chubby appendage hanging from the beak, called a snood.
The natural lifespan for a turkey is 10 years, and pure breed turkeys take just about 4-5 months to grow to full size. The average hen turkeys take about 16 weeks to fully mature, and weighs an average of 3.6 kg (8lb) to 7.2 kg (16lbs).
The tom turkey needs just about 19 weeks to get to maturity and weighs between 7.2 kg (16lbs) and 10.8 kg (24lbs). Bigger tom turkeys may possibly weigh up to 18.1 kg (40lbs), but need a few more weeks to attain full maturity.
In a hen’s six-month laying cycle, a breeder tom turkey can produce up to 1,500 poults. The commercial turkey breeding hens birth only about 45 live poults (chicks) yearly.
The eggs take about 28 days to hatch. Some pure turkey breeds are preserved by poultry fanciers, the turkeys reared for commercial meat production are specially bred hybrids for that purpose (a cross between two or more different specie).
Now commercial turkey breeding techniques have given rise to hybrid strains that grow a lot faster and convert feed to bodyweight much more effectively than pure breeds of turkey.
Under perfect conditions with a coordinated ration, a modern white hybrid turkey can weigh up to 6 kg by 10 weeks with a feed conversion ratio (the ratio of the quantity of feed eaten to body weight gain) of about 2:1 thereabouts.
Commercial turkeys are bred precisely to have sufficient meat in the thighs and breast. Generally, White feathered turkeys are most preferred since they do not have unpleasant color spots on the skin when plucked out.
On the tom, there is a ‘wattle’ – a skin fold down the neck; beneath this is the carbuncle that changes in color during courtship. In the US, turkey meat is eaten all year round and is also the traditional dish at Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.
In this turkey, breast meat is 73% of carcass yield and 70% carcass value followed by thigh meat (13%). There is only 1% fat in breast meat.
Turkeys are more difficult to raise than broiler chickens, mostly in their early stages. While slaughter weight will be determined by the end use (restaurant, table, or further processing), and in the US this meat is highly-priced.
Toms have sufficient breast meat that they are usually unable to mate, and due to this, the hens are artificially inseminated.
Rapid growth and an emphasis on breast meat, has exerted pressure on their legs which have not fully developed. Hence, there are skeletal disorders, particularly tibia dyschondroplasia (in the leg bone), commonly witnessed in this breed.
Though there are other causative factors connected mainly to nutrition, like inadequate vitamin D3. It is estimated that about 45 – 60 poults are created from each hen yearly.
Lack of proper hatchery hygiene can lead to high infant mortality with symptoms like navel, and yolk sac infection and refusal to eat or drink.
Customarily, turkeys are bought at Easter and Christmas and as big birds, with weights ranging from 2.5 to 5.0 kg plus in size (dressed weight).
Israel possesses the highest turkey meat per capita consumption of 11.25 kg, while in Australia this figure is 0.83 kg.
This tradition is gradually changing as families now buy smaller one-meal birds at other seasons of the year. The processor makes more money by further processing the turkey servings.
The customer will now have various options to buy different portions of turkey and additional processed turkey products like sausages (smoked and broiled), steaks, and turkey hams.
Turkey becomes ready for marketing within 12 to 20 weeks of rearing. It is a lucrative and fun business to do. Learn more before embarking on turkey farming.
Turkey farming business is really very lucrative and enjoyable. If you are thinking about setting up a commercial turkey farming business, then try to learn more about them.
- The Nation