Turkeys are very interesting birds. Apart from the fact that they taste very good (especially during Thanksgiving!), they have many amazing facts and benefits. And if you decide to start a turkey farm, you’ll be glad you did.
This article will give you information on turkeys, including how you can start a business by raising them. So keep reading to get enlightened.
So, what is a group of turkeys called?
A group of turkeys is called a rafter or flock. However, rafter mostly describes a group of domesticated turkeys in poultry. On the other hand, a flock describes a group of wild turkeys (as they can fly). Turkeys are social birds and are always in groups, even in the wild.
Though there are wild breeds of turkeys, it’s more popular to raise turkeys on a farm than hunt in the wild. Commercial production of turkeys is mostly for their meat and eggs.
This post boasts useful tips about the animal turkey. So, keep reading!
How To Start A Turkey Farm
The following steps will help you start a turkey farm, even as a beginner.
Step#1: Find a purpose for starting the farm
You have to know the purpose of starting the turkey farm before you begin. That’s because you can raise turkeys as a business or as pets. You have to know if you’re capable of selling them or their products in the market.
Knowing your purpose for starting the farm will also help you determine what you need to help your business grow. And that includes marketing and sales. If you have prior experience raising other domestic birds like ducks and chickens, a turkey farm won’t be too hard to start.
Furthermore, determining the purpose will help you when taking other steps in starting your farm.
Step#2: Choose a land
The next step after your decision for the farm is to buy land if you don’t have one. When choosing a land, you have to make sure it has enough space for the number of birds you want to start with.
The farming type you choose will also determine how large the land should be. For instance, you’ll need a large spacious land if you want it to be free-range farming. But you can still decide to choose a large land if you intend to plant crops on the part of the turkey farm.
Step#3: Adequate infrastructure
The infrastructure you need for turkey farming depends on the type of farming you choose. Intensive farming requires more equipment than free-range farming.
For free-range farming, you have to provide enough feeders for your birds. It’ll be best if you also make sure the farm is safe from predators. Create fencing that is very strong and high. That should keep them in and protect them.
On the other hand, intensive farming requires you to create a housing structure. You need a permanent structure like a chicken house. It should contain all the necessary facilities.
When building the housing structure or fencing, ensure that the space is large enough for the number of birds. Additionally, there should be proper ventilation in the area. The flow of light in the house must be right. Remember that a clean and spacious area will help prevent diseases and flu.
Make sure the fencing is about four feet high. It’s best not to allow your turkeys to graze till they are old enough. Put in various security measures to protect the birds from thieves and intruders.
Step#4: Select breeds
Now that your structure is ready, it’s time to select the best turkey breeds. It’s important to note that not all turkey breeds are good for commercial meat production. So, it’s advisable to use modern breeds if you desire to go into commercial turkey farming.
Modern breeds tend to have more meat than bones. They can convert the feed they eat to meat within a short period. There are also appropriate breeds for egg production. So it’s best to research and get suggestions from experts when choosing your turkey breeds.
Some modern breeds include Broad-breasted White, White Holland, and Standard Bronze and White.
Step#5: Proper feeding
You have to consider how to feed the turkeys before you start the farm. The feed you purchase must be nutritious, so the poults (baby turkeys) can grow well. Learn to feed them properly as that will help reduce the feeding cost in the long run.
The poults that are a few weeks old should be fed primarily protein-rich feed. You can feed them chick starters feed that contains about 28% protein within that period. After that, they’ll be ready for grower feed, which should contain not less than 20% protein.
Turkeys require more proteins than other poultry birds like chickens. Clean water should go along with the feed. You’ll require about 65 liters of water per hundred birds each day.
Ensure you use poultry drinkers and feeders for their feeding, and keep equipment clean always.
Step#6: Disease prevention and farm maintenance
Turkeys are prone to diseases and health problems like other poultry birds. So, you have to learn about such diseases and how to prevent them.
However, keep to simple practices like spacious housing, adequate ventilation, right feeding, and clean water. They’ll help prevent some health problems and diseases. Don’t make the mistake of raising your turkeys in the same space as other poultry birds.
You have to keep your farm clean at all times and keep out predators.
Step#7: Develop marketing strategies
The reason for starting the turkey farm in the first place is to make money from it, and that’s why marketing is important. Study your market and know their preferences. Then try as much as possible to meet such preferences.
Good market research will help you in selecting the right breed. It’ll also help you understand your potential customer’s needs. That way, you can create your marketing strategies easily. It’ll help if you keep trying out strategies till you find the one that works best for you.
You have to constantly find new marketing strategies, as some strategies may become ineffective over time. You can start marketing and selling your turkeys from 12 to 20 weeks if you do commercial production.
Benefits Of Turkey Farming Business
Easy to raise turkeys:
Turkeys are easy to raise compared to other livestock. It’s also easy to start turkey farming, even as a beginner. It’s a similar process to raising other poultry birds. So if you can raise ducks or chickens, you’ll easily be able to raise turkeys.
Even if it seems too hard for you to do, many people are doing the business. You can get any farmer to help you learn the business. The market is so huge that you don’t have to worry about the number of people already doing the business.
It’s not capital intensive:
You don’t need a huge capital to start turkey farming. You can start with the capital you have. You can use vacant land or even your backyard to start and then expand over time.
Products demand is high:
Turkey products like meat and eggs are in high demand. That’s because their meat is popular and is known to be healthy. It’s a must-have for Thanksgiving, and thousands of turkeys are slaughtered for the occasion.
Apart from the meat, the eggs are in high demand and are expensive because of their high protein content. Turkey eggs have a very high protein content than other poultry eggs.
It’s very profitable:
The main consideration for starting any business is its profitability. And that’s why turkey farming is a good business for anyone. You’ll be able to make good profits from the business. When you go into commercial production, you’ll get a high return in a short time.
But it’s important to learn how to run the business properly before you begin, as it’ll prevent losses.
Factors That Affect Turkey Performance
Your ability to manage the litter effectively can affect the performance of the rafter. You may be aware that wet litter can lead to low leg quality and respiratory problems. However, it can also lead to many diseases, as it’s a perfect habitat for microorganisms.
Effective litter management will help prevent microorganisms from multiplying. It’ll also prevent and control diseases, protect their footpads, and improve the housing condition.
You can prevent wet litter by implementing proper drinker management to avoid spillage or wastage. Good ventilation and appropriate temperature will reduce humidity and prevent wet litter.
Turkeys need to consume lots of water, which is related to their feed intake. They can consume water up to two and a half times their feed intake during their growing phase. For the mid-growth phase, they can consume up to two times their feed intake.
Irregular or excessive changes in water consumption can lead to health problems. It can also impact the overall performance of the rafter.
If you’re running a commercial turkey production, use water meters to keep records of their daily water consumption. That will help you keep track of any irregularities in water consumption. The water should be clean and of good quality as well as adequate.
Constantly sanitize the drinkers and treat water lines. You should also keep track of their consumption levels, as it may be difficult to track performance issues arising from their water consumption.
You refer to a group of wild turkeys as a flock of turkeys and domestic turkeys as a rafter of turkeys. The domestic ones are mostly consumed, as they’re easier to access than hunting wild ones.
Now that you know turkey farming is profitable, ensure you run your turkey farm efficiently. Be sure to choose the right breeds and do your research well before you commence. And you are on your way to owning a commercial turkey production farm.