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It's festive season, make money from turkeys

By Grace Chomba

 

Turkey is the protein of choice during the festive season.

It the festive season meaning turkeys will be in high demand.

 Turkey farming profitable as the meat is highly valued. Not bad considering that Turkeys grow fast and become suitable for slaughter within a very short time.

Here is a guideline on how to rear turkeys. 

Housing 

According to an on-line resource, vikaspedia, Turkeys need shelter to provide comfort and protect them from the sun, rain, wind, and predators. In hotter zones, shelters should run from East to West with the chicks’ and parents’ houses separated from one another. 

The distance between the young stock house and the adult house should be 50 to 100 to 3.3 meters from the floor to the roof. 

An overhang of one meter to avoid rainwater splash. The floor should be durable, safe preferably moisture-proof concrete.

The birds are usually nervous and normally panic with the entry of visitors in their houses hence it should be restricted. Shell grit should be provided at the rate of 30 to 40gm per bird to prevent leg weaknesses, according to ecochickspoultry.com

Debeaking 

Young ones should be debeaked to minimize feather picking and cannibalism. It is mainly done at the age of 3-5 weeks of age. The beak is removed about one-half the distance from nostril to the tip of the beak. 

Desnooding 

According to vikaspedia, the snood or dewbill is the fleshly protuberance near the base of the beak. Its removal prevents head injuries from picking and fighting. At a day old, it is removed by finger pressure. At 3 weeks old, it can be cut off close to the head with sharp scissors, says the website.

Toe clipping 

Clipping is done at day old by removing the tip of the toe just to the inside of the outer most toe pad. 

Feeding 

Methods of feeding are mash feeding, pellet feeding, and green feeding. Greens can be fed up to 50 per cent of the total diet on a dry mash basis. Fresh Lucerne is first-class green feed for turkeys. 

The males and females need to be reared separately since energy, protein, vitamin and mineral requirements for both sexes vary. Changes in the diet should be done gradually. 

Breeding 

Strut is a mating behaviour of adult male, where it spreads the wings and make peculiar sounds. In natural mating, the male to female ratio is 1:5 for medium type turkeys and 1:3 for large types. Adult males are only available for mating after the first year due to reduced fertility. Due to males developing an affinity towards a particular female, the adult males are changed after 15 days, according to vikaspedia.in

Artificial insemination is used to maintain high fertility from turkey flock throughout the season. 

Incubation 

This period lasts 28 days in turkey. Naturally, turkeys are good brooders and the broody hen can hatch 10-15 eggs with a hatchability rate of 60 to 80 per cent. In Artificial incubation, eggs are hatched with the help of incubators. 

Brooding 

Turkey brooding period is 0 to 4 weeks and in winter, it can extend up to 5 to 6 weeks. Day-old brooding is done using infrared bulbs or gas brooder. Naturally, young ones are reluctant to feed and drink due to bad eyesight and nervousness hence they have to be force-fed.

Diseases control 

Common symptoms of the infected flock are depression, loss of weight, blindness, sudden deaths, swollen snoods, lowered fertility and hatchability.

 However, they can be controlled by strict and proper sanitation, vaccination, elimination of infected breeder flock, decontamination of the farm, litter management and avoiding feed spoilage.

 

 

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