Of all fowls, Turkeys are the fastest growing and one of the most demanded ones in the market. There a lot of people who will choose turkey meat over any other kind of meat any time any day, especially people who no longer have the strength to grind and tear goat meat, cow meat, bush meat and so on. Turkey meat is a sumptuous option for many people who do not really want to leave the meat eating category.
Asides from the meat, turkeys are also one of the most feathered birds and their feathers, fertilized eggs; even their droppings are all marketable. Frozen turkey tops the frozen foods list, and it’s readily available for purchase in frozen food stores all over the country but the availability is always undermined by the demand for it. Even though turkeys are easy to rear, they need watchful eyes as they are most times, not as strong as they look.
Turkey rearing can be a little bit technical, as it starts from day old. The day olds are normally kept in a brooder house under normal room temperature for about 5 weeks; during which they grow and mature enough to be separated. Then the birds are separated into different houses. The females grow a little bit slower than the males and are kept in one house, while the males that are fast growers are kept in another house. They may be there till their full maturity stage, which is usually 20 weeks, after which they may either be sold for money or allowed to mate and prepare them for the production of eggs
There are several turkey breeds available around the globe. But all those breeds are not suitable enough for commercial meat production. You can raise only a few of those breeds in your farm for profitable meat production. For profitable meat production you have to use some modern turkey breeds that are raised for commercial production. This type of turkey breeds has a maximum feed to meat conversion rate. They consume less feed and convert this feed to meat within a very short time. Broad-breasted White is such a modern turkey breed for commercial production. The meat produced by raising this breed on pasture on a small farm, it will be more tasty and favorful than the meat produced from commercial farm. White Holland and Standard Bronze are other two popular meat producing turkey breed. This two breeds are not actual breed. Broad-Breasted Bronze and Whites are just non-standardized commercial strain used for meat production (they are not actual breed). Along with this there are some other breeds available that are beautiful and different looking birds. Bourbon Reds, Narragansetts, Royal Palm etc. are such turkey breed. For commercial meat production, you should go with Broad-Breasted Whites, Standard Bronze and White, White Hollands.
Turkey Farming: Required Facilities
Good housing with all types of essential facilities available is very necessary for commercial turkey production. In this regard, you have to make a permanent house like chicken house and ensure availability of all necessary facilities. For fencing, make the fence as high as possible. Turkeys are large in size and become very strong. So, the fencing must have to strong enough to protect the birds. You can use electric poultry netting, woven wire fencing, metal T-posts or wooden posts. However, while making housing and fencing for turkeys, keep in mind the followings.
You must have to make proper protection from all types of predators and harmful animals.
Ensure availability of sufficient space inside the house. Generally, 75 feet * 75 feet space is suitable for accommodating for up to 12 birds.
Never let the turkeys to graze in the pasture until they reach grazing age.
Using wooden litter is very effective for turkey farming.
Make sure sufficient flow of fresh air and light inside the house.
Make proper ventilation system.
Make the house suitable enough for cleaning it regularly.
In case of fencing, make it as high as possible. The fencing must have to be at least four feet above the ground.
The turkeys far very strong and big than other birds. So, make the fencing with strong materials.
Poultry Feeds: Feeding is the most important aspect of Turkey farming. Carbohydrates and fats can increase the energy of fowl and they can get the correct amount of nutrients from a balanced ration of feeds. When the fowls are fed fat feeds, they can proportionally increase in size although their strength depends on the carbohydrate feed they consume. The larger the turkey is, the more the energy it will take to maintain the body and also to produce eggs.
Good and nutritious feed keeps the bird healthy and productive. So, it would be better to learn how to feed the turkey birds and this will help you to prevent problems in turkey farming and reducing feeding costs. Turkey needs more protein in their food for first few weeks than other domestic birds. The protein in poultry feed should be at least 28 percent. You can go with chick starter which contain about 28 percent of protein. Feed the turkey, chick starter for first six weeks and after that period you can feed them grower feed. Grower feed should contain 20 percent protein. The amount of protein in turkey feed is higher than chickens or other poultry birds feed. Along with providing nutritious food, always serve them sufficient amount of fresh and clean water. Generally, 2 gallons of fresh water is necessary for one dozen of turkeys.
Turkeys eat a lot and it is preferable you raise the tom turkey as they are more likely to give you quick return for your money. They are very strong, disease-resistant, and in a space of 2 eight weeks, could grow larger than other specie variety. Also they fairly reflect whatever you feed them. A tom of up to eighteen pounds could require just forty two pounds of feed.
Also, water should be readily available as turkeys can be the highest water drinkers on the poultry farm.
Knowledge: If you need first-hand practical turkey farming experience, you could attach to a nearby poultry farm. You could also read relevant materials like this one, make in-depth research and start-up your business. The former option is better if you have access to a poultry farm.
Turkey Farming: Feasibility Study
Turkey farming isn’t the most expensive business to start-up. One can start a Turkey farm with just 5 turkeys (3 females and 2 males) N20,000 X 5 = N100,000. Poultry construction, feeds purchase, poultry periodic treatment, water supply, all approximated to N200,000
At the end of one farming year, you should have nothing less than 50 turkeys in your poultry farm, which if sold for N20,000 each when mature, equals a potential N1,000,000.
Turkey Farming: Risks Involved
- If the poultry is not well protected, your biggest threat would be snakes that’ll keep eating the eggs or killing the fowls.
- Soldier ants, bush rats, and other rodents can also be a threat to your turkey farming business.
- Unhygienic poultry could lead to infections and the delicate part is that diseases spread faster amidst turkeys than most other poultry animals.
- Improper feeding would make your turkeys less preferred to others from other farms, so you must be ready to spend on feeding.
Turkey Farming: Potential Benefits
- Starting a turkey farming business in Nigeria isn’t overly capital intensive as other animal husbandry businesses.
- The more the local production of turkey, the less the need to import. (As some still import frozen turkey into the country illegally).
- Turkeys are not the most difficult animals to rear; in fact, with the right facilities, they can be the easiest to manage.
- If instructions are followed properly, and adequate facilities provided, turkeys are the kind of animals that can give you maximum ROI.
- Turkeys don’t need much market persuasion and cajoling, as you can sell of as many as 30 mature turkeys in one day if you get your targets right.
- The ROI on turkey farming in Nigeria is really worth the time, effort and every other form of investments put in it.
In commercial turkey farming, the birds become suitable for marketing within 12 to 20 weeks. Sell all the birds when they reach the slaughtering age.
Turkey farming business is really very lucrative and enjoyable. If you are thinking about setting up commercial turkey farming business, then try to learn more about them and visit many turkey farms.