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Turkey farming is very popular in western countries and the major turkey producing countries are United States of America, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The Annual per capita consumption of turkey meat in the above said countries ranges from 4-8 kg per year. Turkey population touched 259 millions in 1992(Singh, 1996). The estimated world turkey meat production in 2004 is 4.94 million tones.
History and thanksgiving holiday:
Turkey (Meleagris Gallopavo) is a large gallinaceous bird of the family Meleagridae that is native of North America, domesticated in Europe and are now important source of food in many parts of the world. Columbus took specimens to Spain in 1948. Reports on turkey were there in Germany in 1530 and in England by 1541.
The basic plumage color is black and not bronze. The females have black breast feathers with white tips, which help in sex determination as early as 12 weeks of age.
Board breasted white:
This is a cross between Board breasted bronze and White Holland with white feathers. This variety was developed at the Cornell University. White plumage turkeys seems to be suitable Indian-Agro climatic conditions as they have better heat tolerance and also good and clean in appearance after dressing.
Beltsville small white:
Breeds of turkeys in the World:
It has been dominated by three breeding companies offering 4 parental heavy type breeds (Big six, Hybrid large white, Nicholar 900 & 700) and 5 medium heavy types (BUT-8, BUT-9, Big-9, hybrid super medium & Nicolas 300). In addition to Poland the regional breeders have introduced two medium varieties, Benkova and Jancowski in 1995. In Europe, medium type turkeys available are, Gaubin(France), and Kvama(Poland).
Tom Adult male turkey
Hem Adult female turkey
Poult Young one of turkey
Snood or Dew bill The fleshy protuberance near the base of the beck Caruncles The fleshy protuberance on the head and neck usually pink or thred in color which appear from about 5 week of age Dewlap A large flap skin seen immediately below the chim Bread A tuft of hair attached to the skin of the upper chest region Strut Mating behavior of male turkey Shooting the red The development of caruncles and this is supposed to indicate (Similar to an ulcer) the most difficult time in the life of young turkey
Poults should be debeaked to control feather picking and cannibalism. Debeaking can be done at day old or 3-5 weeks of age. Remove the beak at about one half the distance from nostril to the tip of the beak.
Removal of the snood or dewbill is to prevent the head injuries from picking and fighting. At the day old the snood can be removed by shumbnail or finger pressure. At 3 weeks of age it can be cut off close to the head with sharp scissors.
Detoeing or 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 including the entire toenail.
turkey will start to lay from the 30 week of age and its production period is 24 weeks from the point of lay. Under proper feeding and artificial lightening management turkey hens lay as much as 60-100 eggs annually. Nearly 70 percent of the eggs will be laid in the afternoon. The turkey eggs are tinted and weigh about 85 gms. Egg is noticeably pointed at one end with strong shell. The protein, lipid carbohydrate and mineral content of turkey egg are 13.1%, 11.8%,1.7% and 0.8% respectively. The cholesterol is 15.67-23.97 mg/gm of yolk.
Turkey meat has nutritional and sensorial properties which make it almost ideal raw material for rational and curative nutrition. People prefer turkey meat because of its leanest nature. The protein, fat, energy value of turkey meat are 24%,6.6%, 162 Calories per 100 gm of meat. Mineral like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium, zinc and sodium are present. It is also rich in essential amino acids and vitamins like niacin, vitamin B6 and B12. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and essential fatty acids and low in cholesterol.
Starve out problem is one of the major factors for early mortality in poults. So special care has to be taken for supplying feed and water. In force feeding, milk should be fed at the rate of 100ml per liter of water and one boiled egg have to be given at the rate of one per 10 poults up to fifteen days and that will compensate the protein and energy requirements of the poults.
Poults can be attracted to the feed by gentle tapping of the container with the fingers. Colored marbles or pebbles placed in feeders and waterers will also attract poults towards them. Since turkeys are fond of greens, some chopped green leaves should also be added to the feed to improve the feed intake. Also colored egg fillers can be used for the first 2 days as feeders.
The common litter materials used for brooding are wood shavings saw dust, paddy husk, chopped saw etc. The thickness of the litter material should be 2 inch at the beginning and may be increased to 3-4 inch in course of time by gradual addition. The litter should be raked at frequent intervals to prevent caking.
Turkeys can be reared under free range or intensive system.
Free range system of rearing:
• It reduces the feed cost by fifty percent.
• Low investment.
• Cost benefit ratio is high.
In the free range system, in one acre of fenced land we can rear 200-250 adult turkeys. Shelter should be provided during night at the rate of 3-4 sq.ft. per bird. They should be protected from predators during scavenging. Planting of trees is desirable for providing shade and cooler environment. The range should be rotated which will help to reduce incidence of parasite infestation.
Free range feeding:
Since turkeys are very good scavengers, it can consume earthworms, small insects, snails, kitchen waste and termites, which are rich in protein and that will reduce the feed cost by fifty percent. Apart from this leguminous fodder like Lucerne, Desmanthus, Stylo etc., can be fed. To avoid leg weakness and lameness in free ranging birds, calcium should be supplemented at the rate of 250gm per week per bird in the form of oyster shell. Ten percent of feed can be substituted with vegetable waste to reduce the cost of feed.
Turkeys in the free range system are highly susceptible for internal (round worms) and external parasites (fowl mite). Hence once a month deworming and dipping is essential to improve the growth of the birds.
Intensive system of rearing:
• Improved production efficiency.
• Better management and disease control.
• Housing protects turkeys form sun, rain, wind, predators and provides comfort. • In hotter parts of the country the long axis of the house should run from East to West. • The distance between two houses should be at least 20 meters and the young stock house should be at least 50 to 100 meters away from the adult house. • The width of the open house should not exceed 9 meters. • The height of the house may vary from 2.6 to 3.3 meters from the floor to roof. • An overhang of one meter should be provided to avoid the rainwater splash. • The floor of the houses should be cheap, durable and safe preferably concrete with moisture proof.
When turkeys are reared under deep litter system, the general managemental conditions are similar to that of chicken but care should be taken to provide adequate floor, waterer and feeder space to accommodate the large bird.
Marketing of turkeys:
The meat of turkey has nutritional and sensorial properties which make it almost ideal raw material for rational and curative nutrition. The turkey can produce 30gm of digestible protein from 100gm feed. The dressing percentage of turkey is 80-87%, which is highest of all farm species.
Common diseases of turkey
Blue back is a permanent dark discoloration of the skin on the back and some- times the side and the breast of the turkeys with dark plumage but not turkeys with white plumage. It is caused by recessive factor.
Pendulous crop is otherwise known as baggy or sour crop. Weakening of the corp. and supporting tissues causes dropped crop so that feed and water accumulate in the organ and pass out slowly or not at all resulting in foul smelling semi liquid accumulation affecting the crop lining and treatment always useless.
• Selecting strains not carrying the genetic factor. • Avoid exposure of turkeys to excessive heat without shade. • Giving continuous and easy access to clean and cool drinking water. • Providing ample shade.
Turkeys are subject to fright especially during night. Severe losses from injury, straying, smothering, bruising, broken limbs and death by predatory animals may result into stampedes. Avoiding disturbances at night and providing low intensity light at night may lessen it.
Breast blisters :
They are much more common in toms then in hens. They are believed to be caused by continuous irritation of the skin that covers the breastbone.
Feather picking is a mild form of cannibalism to which turkeys are addicted, especially during the growth period. It can be prevented almost completely by debeaking.
• Avoiding overcrowding in confinement.
• Feeding an adequate diet.
Control of Mycoplasma in Turkeys:
Pulse treatment with Tiamutin:
Tiamutin is given at the recommended dose for three days in a month in turkeys in order to prevent the occurrence of Mycoplasma infections.
Measures to be taken during outbreak:
• Quick disposal of dead birds.
• All sanitation measures of drinking water to be adopted. • Spraying of disinfectant in the shed.
• Separation of working personnel of infected pen from healthy pens. • Personnel hygiene before and after entering in the infected pens. • Use Vitamin E and C to overcome stress. • Frequent change of infected litter.
• Quick separation and disposal of sick and ailing birds.
Measures to be taken after breakout:
• Infected flock after recovery should be disposed off quickly. • Emptied sheds and infected equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before reusing the same.
• Disinfected sheds can be kept empty for 2-3 weeks before housing the birds. • Burning should destroy the infected litter.
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