Increasingly, site owners are thinking about breeding poultry, in particular turkeys. Often this occupation becomes a promising business with a serious approach from the owner. It is enough to have a little theoretical knowledge, initial capital - and you can buy chicks for fattening. The most important thing is to create the necessary conditions for the competent cultivation of turkeys at home.
It is well known to turkey farmers with some experience that it is much more difficult to raise turkeys than other poultry. They are more demanding in terms of keeping and feeding. Turkeys have a hard time tolerating the slightest inaccuracies in diet and environmental conditions. However, if you carefully study the basic rules of keeping, the result will delight any novice poultry farmer.
Turkeys differ from other poultry in low egg production, slow development. In addition, these birds are gluttonous, but at the same time they have high indicators of meat productivity. Turkeys are cocky birds. It is for this reason that about three dozen females and 3-4 males are kept in one room of the poultry house.
The turkey is a bird from the order of chickens. They have short but powerful wings, a small wide tail and strong legs. It is easy to recognize a bird: there are warty growths on its head - corals. Farmers notice that they change color depending on their mood. In the normal state, the growths are bright red, when the bird is aggressive, the color changes to purple.
Differences between males and females
Every farmer should be able to tell the difference between a male and a female. It is easy to determine gender by some criteria:
- males are more massive;
- a skin process (horn) is visible on the forehead of the male; in the female it is not so developed;
- males lack feathers on their heads;
- the legs of the males have spurs;
- the plumage of females is not so attractive;
- females have very soft down and feathers, males are much tougher.
When the chick reaches one day of age, its sex is determined. Males have the same length of feathers on the wings, so their outline is smoother. However, after a while, this sign disappears, and then it will be possible to find out the sex of the turkeys in a couple of months.
To determine the sex, the chick is placed on the palm with its stomach up and gently pressed with a finger on the lower abdomen. In boys, the cloaca moves outward, a small tubercle will be noticeable on its inner shell - a copulatory organ in its embryonic state.
At home, turkeys live up to 10 years. However, the optimal lifespan for birds is no more than 2 years. For males with a high reproductive function, this period is 5-7 years. Long lifespan leads to reduced meat quality.
Each breed starts laying eggs at different times. Heavyweights begin to rush at 8-9 months, light crosses make the first clutch no later than 7.5 months.
The females are laid in the spring, when daylight hours increase to 10 hours. However, if artificial lighting for birds is taken care of, egg-laying begins much earlier. Long daylight hours are also beneficial for males, as their puberty is significantly accelerated.
In general, egg production is influenced by: age, health status, environmental conditions. Females show high productivity by 1 year, in the second year of life, egg production begins to gradually fall.
How much do turkeys weigh
The weight of a male adult is from 10 to 30 kg. In some cases, their weight reaches 35 kg. The female turkey weighs much less - from 5 to 12 kg. Turkeys are considered one of the largest poultry. Only an ostrich can compare in size with them. Weight depends a lot on the cross. Distinguish between heavyweights, medium and light turkeys.
Pros and cons of breeding
Many farmers are forced to give up this very profitable business, because they could not fully appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of breeding turkeys. They are frightened by the relatively low egg production, the high requirements of poultry for clean water, diet, the tendency to infectious diseases and the high mortality of chicks. In addition, turkeys are prone to obesity, and this leads to the development of certain diseases and reduced productivity. However, these problems can be solved if you study the subtleties of breeding and the peculiarities of caring for chicks in advance.
Experienced farmers point to the following obvious benefits of growing turkeys:
- fast weight gain;
- obtaining dietary meat with excellent taste;
- breeding costs pay off in a short time;
- eggs have dietary qualities and a unique taste.
In addition, in order to get a good profit, you can sell not only meat and eggs, but also feathers, feathers, young animals and newborn chicks.
What breeds are popular
It is important for novice farmers to understand that there are turkey breeds most suitable for home breeding. Therefore, before making a choice in favor of a particular breed, you need to study the characteristics of birds.
Black Tikhoretskaya has a brilliant black plumage. These are birds with powerful muscles, a slightly elongated body. The head is small with a wide nose. The breed belongs to the light group, the weight of the male reaches 10 kg, the female - 5 kg. Black Tikhoretskaya turkeys are resistant to stress, trusting in relation to people and peaceful, females have a developed maternal instinct.
French turkeys reach 12-13 kg. They are active and mobile, so they need to be allocated a place to walk. Already at four months, individuals reach their maximum weight, and they can be slaughtered for meat. This breed does not require the inclusion of expensive feed additives in the diet. Chicks have a high survival rate compared to other breeds - about 80-90% until maturity.
The grade maker breed was bred specially, taking into account the necessary parameters of profitability. These birds can be sent for slaughter already in 2-3 months, while the carcass has a marketable appearance, and the meat meets the stated requirements. Adult birds and young animals feel good in normal conditions, chicks are resistant to many infectious diseases that are inherent in turkey poults.
The wide-breasted white breed is the fruit of the labors of American breeders. Birds are slightly smaller in size than broilers, but males reach 17 kg at the age of one and a half months. Turkeys are distinguished by a slightly elongated body shape, wide chest, powerful legs. Females begin to lay eggs at 9 months. During the season, they bring more than 120 eggs, each weighing up to 90g. This is a high egg production rate for any breed of turkey.
The station wagon breed is characterized by rapid weight gain. Birds are large - males reach 17 kg, females - up to 10 kg. They have white plumage, long legs, powerful body and wide wings. Turkeys of this breed have strong immunity and high survival rate. Egg production is low - up to 70 eggs per year. The station wagon is common in many countries.
|Breed||Features of the||Male, kg||Female, kg||Egg production,|
pcs / year
|Black Tikhoretskaya||juicy meat,|
small body fat,
unpretentiousness to feed,
meat yield over 65%.
|Grade maker||meat cross,|
unpretentiousness to the diet,
resistance to stress.
|White broad-breasted||demanding diet,|
a high degree of early maturity.
|Station wagon||early maturity,|
You can build a turkey house yourself, but you should familiarize yourself with the basic requirements for a poultry house. At the initial stage, any shed can be allocated for a room, and then the most suitable structure can be built that will fully satisfy the basic needs of the birds. Keep turkeys in a clean and spacious area.
General requirements include:
- for an adult you need at least 1 m2 area, for chicks - 0.25 m2;
- outdoor paddock, which is adjacent to the main area;
- separate compartments for adult birds to avoid conflicts between males;
- a room for newborn turkeys with the necessary conditions for the survival and subsequent maturation of the young;
- dry litter - turkeys do not tolerate moisture;
- perches, based on the number of livestock, nesting houses;
- sand boxes in each compartment;
- drinkers and feeders;
- lack of drafts;
- forced ventilation;
- lighting, including additional in winter.
The farmer must ensure the cleanliness of drinkers, feeders, and the whole room Keeping the house clean will reduce the risk of possible disease.
Place for walking
When building a turkey poultry house, its subsequent arrangement, special attention should be paid to a place for walking, this should be said in more detail. Exercise is good for poultry, including turkeys. A daily walk has a beneficial effect on the physical development of birds, their productivity. Exercise is especially useful for turkeys, since these birds are more prone to obesity than others.
The best place to walk is an equipped paddock. Its territory should be well fenced, it is advisable to use a metal mesh for this purpose. Birds should have free access to water and feed. It is desirable that vegetation is located on the territory - grass and small shrubs.
Grow turkeys at a comfortable temperature for them. The microclimate, including the temperature regime, affects the health and productivity of poultry. The lowest outdoor temperature tolerated by turkeys is -15 ° C (if frosts are short-term).
The optimal temperature regime in the room for adults is 12-16 ° C, for newborn chicks it is much higher.
|Chick age||Desired temperature|
|up to 5 days||22 ° C|
|5-20 days||16-20 ° C|
|20-25 days||not lower than 12 ° C|
How comfortable a bird is in a room can be determined by their appearance and behavior. Turkeys have a healthy appetite and drink water regularly if the temperature suits them. The flock is evenly distributed throughout the house.
If the turkeys are cold, they huddle together and spread their wings slightly to create an extra layer of air. When the room is hot, the humidity is high, the birds breathe faster, their wings are spread to the floor, and their beaks are open. At the same time, turkeys refuse to eat, but often drink.
In regions with severe weather conditions, it is necessary to provide the room with additional heating. You can increase the room temperature using the following devices:
- infrared lamps;
- electric heaters;
- heat collectors;
- gas boilers.
However, before using heating devices, it is important to inspect the room for cracks. Window and door openings should be insulated. Also, a prerequisite for winter bird care is the absence of dampness, drafts, additional lighting, an enhanced diet and the presence of dry litter.
Drawing up a diet
Feeding directly depends on the age of the turkeys. In addition, you should pay attention to the purpose of the birds. Also, the diet is made up based on the time of year. Birds require more feed during the winter as they spend a lot of energy to keep them warm.
The need of chicks for feed varies with age, in many respects it depends on the breed and purpose of the birds. Babies need: cottage cheese, herbs, boiled potatoes, eggs and yeast. This diet allows the bird to grow quickly and fully develop.
The basic diet consists of the following foods:
- corn grits;
- wheat groats;
- bran from wheat;
- seashells and chalk.
From the 10th day of life, green mass is added to the chicks, starting from 1 month, they are fed with coarse mixtures, and salt is gradually introduced. At 2 months, turkey poults are transferred to an adult diet, but in a grated, chopped form.
Adult birds need to be provided with adequate nutrition 3 times a day. In the morning and in the evening, it is necessary to feed the turkeys with grain mixtures, and in the afternoon add juicy feed and wet mash. It will not work to grow poultry on one grain, so it is worth adding vitamin supplements in the form of acorns, needles, chestnuts to the diet.
In the summer, the bird itself will find useful herbs, but in winter, bunches of dried greens are needed, which will be prepared in advance. Birch, aspen brooms are hung around the house so that the turkeys feast on the leaves.
Feeding during the breeding period
During the breeding period, the bird needs more energy, so the diet should be complete. At the same time, males at this time demonstrate poor appetite, for them it is necessary to provide for different types of root crops to maintain body weight. It is also necessary to add legumes and cottage cheese.
It is important to provide egg-bearing females with proper nutrition, consisting of yeast, cottage cheese and red carrots. Juicy herbs, vitamin and mineral supplements are also important for them.
It is necessary to introduce a special diet for subsequent slaughter, starting from 4-5 months. At this time, the bird is gaining the desired weight. In addition to vitamin supplements, she should receive:
- milk and cottage cheese;
- fresh fish and meat waste;
- crushed eggshell.
A month before the alleged slaughter, each bird should receive up to 800 g of feed per day.
Many farmers try to get eggs on their own farm. To do this, you need to organize a parent flock. It includes turkeys with high productivity rates. The herd consists of 1 male and 5-7 females, which he looks after.
Mating is difficult, since the body weight of the birds is large, the males have large claws with which they injure the female. Also, the process is interfered with by the volumetric plumage of birds.
Natural mating is suitable for small backyards, and large farms often resort to artificial insemination. Sperm of producers are selected, injected into prepared females. One dose of semen is enough to inseminate 20 turkeys. This method preserves the health of the female and allows the rational use of breeding males.
Diseases and prevention
Farmers keeping turkeys in the backyard note a tendency to the following diseases:
- helminthic invasions;
Disease prevention consists in the correct diet, appropriate conditions of detention. Newborn turkey poults are fed with glucose, vitamin preparations. It is important to disinfect the premises to avoid outbreaks of infectious diseases.
How profitable is breeding
Contrary to the opinion of newcomers, breeding turkeys is much more profitable than keeping and breeding chickens. However, it should be noted that investments will be required, especially in the first months, initial capital, and the first profit will appear 5-6 months after the slaughter of the poultry. After that, the farmer purchases a new herd of turkeys and continues to develop the business.