TURKEY PRODUCTION AND ITS PECULIARITIES
In recent years, interest in growing turkeys and turkey meat production increased remarkably.
Nigeria and other nations of Africa are not exceptions.
Turkey appeals to a diet-conscious public because of its high nutritional value and low-fat content.
Standard turkey varieties are hardy and robust birds that are easily managed provided basic precautionary measures are taken to ensure their health and welfare.
Here are fine and simple peculiarities farmers must appreciate to having a hitch-free production.
Turkey tends to grow to heavier weight more efficiently on open ranges than in confinement houses.
Merits of Confinement:
Better protection against thieves, predators, diseases, and adverse weather conditions.
Demerits of confinement:
1. Danger of overcrowding
2. Greater risk of cannibalism
3. Higher risk of respiratory diseases
One peculiar problem in brooding turkey poults is the refusal of day-old poult to eat and drink. This situation may lead to mortality.
Reasons for day-old poult refusal to eat and drink include but may not be limited to:
1. When poults spend much time in transit
2. Low temperature of the brooding house
3. Low light intensity of the brooding environment.
4. Stale air
5. Disturbing poult within the first 24hrs of life.
Turkey has unique nutritional requirements that differ from that of chickens.
Within the first four weeks of life, crude protein requirements are 28 – 30%.
From week 4 to week 8, the crude protein requirement in feed is 24%.
A CP of 20% may be okay from week 8 to market size.
Young poults are at the most vulnerable age in a turkey’s life and will need time to build their immune system before being exposed.
Stress is an underlying factor in a bird’s ability to naturally combat pathogens.
Keep stress to a minimum by providing a comfortable and relaxed farm environment at all times.
Leg weakness is an issue in turkeys due to nutritional imbalance.
In addition to other macronutrients, Calcium, Phosphorus, Vitamin B, biotin, and niacin are very essential for proper development.
Litter should be made of materials that permit more friction to support the legs of poults.
Vaccination is a good option for protecting flocks against some diseases.
Vaccines are available for turkey pox, fowl cholera, Newcastle disease, Mycoplasmosis, E. coli infections etc.
Turkeys are not easily susceptible to infectious bursal disease (gumboro).
It is not advisable to compromise turkey nutrition as this may predispose to fungal infections and poor growth and development.
I trust this information will be helpful.