Turkey Rearing Requirements
Turkey rearing is fairly easy compared to other birds and advantageous as they are highly resistant to diseases and they exhibit a low mortality rate once they have grown past their infancy stage (0 – 4 weeks) also known as brooding. They could be raised in a free-range setting, that is letting them out from their cage to an open surrounding area and there is the semi-intensive, where they are kept in a cage/room throughout the rearing process. The first system is very economical as they could fend for themselves most of their dietary needs but the latter system enables them to grow faster and bigger because of the attention they will get.
Key Fundamental Subject Matters In Turkey Rearing
Provide ample shade around the surrounding of your turkey rearing area, and make sure if they are in their cages roll the covers up so that the cage will be well ventilated. Install a hot filament bulb in the coop, hanging from the roof to provide heat during cold nights.
Debeaking And Toe Clipping
Cutting of the beak and clipping of their toe is essential to prevent them from injuring each other. Consult a veterinary.
They require vaccination at least twice times from 0 – 10 weeks. A veterinarian will best explain what your turkey needs. Deworming should be done at least once a month, the deworming drug is usually mixed with their water.
Turkey tends to be easily frightened by a person’s presence which may result in a stampede when inside a cage. They may injure themselves by trampling, so when handling them it is best done in low light.
Shelter For Turkey Rearing
Turkeys are kept in low-cost rearing pens/cages called coops. They could be made of iron or wood and covered with corrugated zinc sheets. The height should be up to 2.5 to 3 meters from the floor to the roof with a meter long overhang to prevent rain from splashing into the coop.
Floor Space – The required space for a fully grown turkey is at least one square meter per bird. So for ten birds, they will need a minimum of 10 square meters. Avoid overcrowding the birds to prevent trampling and to ensure that each bird had enough to eat.
Floor Covering – Sawdust, wood shavings and other similar materials should be used for the floor covering. It should be about 2 inches thick and gradually increased to 4 inches and it should be raked regularly to prevent caking.
Feed and Feeding
What turkey eats is similar to what chickens eat. Mostly grains and occasionally even feeds on greens and vegetables. Their diet requires about 25% proteins and a good amount (1%) of calcium because of their large size. When it comes to consumption of water they require an around-the-clock supply of clean water, and the water troughs should be filled even more regularly during the hot season. They feed on 150 grams of feed every day per bird, which is like half a mudu of millet for each turkey.
The total feed consumption of the Toms is estimated at about 20 kg from 4-16 weeks.
The total feed consumption for the Hens is estimated at about 15 kg from 4-16 weeks.
You can feed them with hybrid feeds or feed them a mix of both common and hybrid feeds. They also eat leftovers, a little bit of fruits and vegetables are also recommended to meet their dietary needs most especially onions. Some points to consider when feeding your turkey birds for optimum results are;
- They should be fed during the cooler parts of the day, morning, or afternoon.
- Always provide them with clean water.
- Water troughs should always be full at all times.
- Provide more waterers during the summer/hot season.
- Avoid pouring the feed on the floor but in feeders.
- When change is made from one diet to another take precaution to withdraw gradually from their former diet by mixing it with the new diet when feeding them.