Secrets Of Turkey Breeding From Our Grandfather

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Secrets Of Turkey Breeding From Our Grandfather
Secrets Of Turkey Breeding From Our Grandfather

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In his backyard, our grandfather keeps broiler chickens and ducks, and most of the poultry yard is occupied by turkeys. The turkeys have not won such a special attitude in vain, because they grow incredible in grandfather's! That is, the meat yield from one poultry is much higher than that of duck or chicken. Our grandfather supplies his children and grandchildren with organic meat, and recently, orders from outsiders have begun to arrive for turkey meat. After looking at his successes, fellow villagers also tried to tackle turkeys, but their birds grow much smaller. What are the secrets to successfully raising turkeys? I'll tell you in my article.

Secrets of turkey breeding from our grandfather
Secrets of turkey breeding from our grandfather


  • Breed is important!
  • When to buy turkey poults?
  • How to care for chicks?
  • Free range is a must
  • Correct mode
  • Feeding turkeys
  • When to cut?
  • A few words about the nature of turkeys

Breed is important

One of my grandfather's secrets is choosing the right breed. In his opinion, the best turkeys for meat is the breed, or rather, the so-called "cross" (hybrid) of the English selection BIG-6. A distinctive feature of this bird: pure white plumage, bright red scalp and neck, as well as an impressive size.

The average weight of a male is about 25 kilograms (although some specimens can weigh 40). At the same time, turkeys reach somewhat smaller sizes - 10-11 kilograms. The biggest turkey grandfather pulled 21 pounds of pure meat in 6 months of growth. Of course, white turkeys are not as pompous as their colorful counterparts. Still, such birds are not peacocks, and external beauty is not the main criterion for choosing a breed.

Through trial and error, my grandfather came to the conclusion that cross BIG-6 turkeys are the most suitable option for growing for meat, and now he prefers only them. Variegated turkeys, he said, create many problems with their aggressive disposition. They constantly arrange fights both among themselves and with their white-painted brethren. And turkeys of the BIG-6 breed are more balanced and calm.

When to buy turkey poults?

Grandfather goes for small chicks in mid-April. At the time of purchase, the age of the turkeys is one day. It is much more expensive and impractical to buy older chicks.

Of course, when raising turkeys for meat, males are preferred, since they will grow much larger. However, the sex of turkeys at this age is almost impossible to distinguish, and most often the ratio of turkeys to turkeys in a purchased brood is about 50 to 50.

It is not worth buying turkey poults with a large supply, since with proper care, they die in very small quantities. This happens most often if the turkey is injured and breaks a leg or wing.

Turkeys-hybrids of English selection BIG-6
Turkeys-hybrids of English selection BIG-6

How to care for chicks?

Nursing turkeys is the most crucial moment, therefore it is very important to create all the necessary conditions for the chicks. The main requirements during this period are: temperature + 35 … + 37 ° С and dryness, as diseases can develop in dampness. The grandfather's turkey poults are kept in a special structure, like an aquarium without a lid, over which an infrared lamp works around the clock to maintain the necessary conditions. Since it is too cold outside at this time, small turkeys have to be kept in a living room. In such conditions, the chicks are kept for a month.

The main food for turkeys of the first month of life: specialized starter compound feed. From the third day, you can enrich the diet with boiled fish and various herbs: nettles, green onions, garlic leaves.

After a month, the turkeys move to the street. In the beginning, a corral is built for them, like a small greenhouse with a roof. And after they are completely stronger and grow up, the young are transferred to a spacious aviary.

Free range is a must

A turkey is not a bird that can be kept in a closed barn, like broiler chickens, for example. Grandpa's turkeys are in the most relaxed conditions that poultry can have. For them, a spacious aviary with an area of ​​50 by 50 m for 25-30 birds has been organized. There, turkeys can walk freely, relax in the shade of trees in the heat and even take a bath.

Too high a fence for turkeys is not required, and you can limit yourself to a net 1.5-2 times the height of the male, these birds have never tried to fly over the fence.

For some time, grandfather's neighbors to turkeys are ducks. Such a neighborhood does not cause stress to either the first or the second, since the ducks are always kept aside, and the turkeys do not show either interest or aggression towards them.

Despite the relatively calm nature of BIG-6 turkeys, from about the end of summer, males begin battles for females. To avoid this, the grandfather begins to chop the females a little earlier - at the beginning of September (especially since the turkeys stop weight gain before the males).

Grandpa's turkeys are in the most relaxed conditions poultry can have
Grandpa's turkeys are in the most relaxed conditions poultry can have

Correct mode

Every evening, as soon as the sun goes down, grandfather drives the turkeys to sleep. The nature of turkeys is such that they cannot arrange evening walks, since, like chickens, they cannot see well at dusk.

For an overnight stay, there is a reliable barn with perches, since turkeys prefer to sleep on a dais. By the way, a sign that it is time for the birds to sleep is the fact that they independently begin to sit somewhere higher. Leaving turkeys overnight in an outdoor enclosure is undesirable, because at night it can rain, a thunderstorm, or a predator sneaks in.

Morning for turkeys begins at dawn at 4-5 o'clock in the morning, at which time grandfather again releases the turkeys into the fresh air.

Feeding in adult turkeys begins immediately after waking up from breakfast (usually it is food steamed in the evening). And throughout the day, grandfather pours food on the birds regularly as they eat. In this case, every two hours, you should check whether the birds are left without food.

Feeding turkeys

Although ready-made feed is also sold for turkeys, grandfather uses compound feed only when feeding turkeys. Adult turkeys receive a naturally varied diet from him. In addition to the grass, which they freely eat in the aviary, their diet is: crushed (steamed crushed corn, wheat, sunflower cake). In addition to cereals, they receive beet tops, young peas and zucchini, chalk and eggshells.

Also, grandfather is an avid fisherman and shares part of his catch with turkeys. The birds are happy to eat the minced fish. Such feeding is a source of phosphorus. But still, a turkey is not a waterfowl and does not feed on fry in nature. Therefore, you should not abuse such an additive. Fish for turkeys is used as a natural vitamin and mineral supplement to the main diet.

When to cut?

After turkeys turn 100 days old, cross BIG-6 turkeys stop gaining weight. Grandpa usually chops the bulk of the turkeys between late September and early October.

The meat yield per carcass of this breed of turkeys is very high, 70-80%. Turkey meat tastes good and is considered dietary. It can be used in almost all meat dishes (soups, cutlets, chops, dumplings, and so on).

Based on the description of the breed, the very soft down of the BIG-6 cross is also valuable and can be used for making pillows. However, the grandfather did not notice such features, noting only that, unlike chickens, the plumage of turkeys does not have "hemp", they are convenient to pinch, and the feathers go well for floats.

By the evening, turkeys begin to look for a place higher
By the evening, turkeys begin to look for a place higher

A few words about the nature of turkeys

The turkey, like most poultry, is not famous for special mental abilities. Still, turkeys are pretty funny birds. When faced with something unfamiliar, turkeys perceive it as a potential threat and take on a warlike appearance.

The alertness of males is especially noticeable. An agitated turkey begins to resemble a close relative of a peacock: he opens his tail wide, like a fan, and ruffles his feathers to appear larger. At the same time, the turkey's head changes color: the skin becomes even redder, and in some places even turns blue, up to the appearance of purple shades.

In response to loud sounds, the turkeys begin to scream in sync. And if you address them in a loud voice, you get the impression that they are maintaining a dialogue with the interlocutor, which looks funny from the outside. In general, turkeys are not afraid of people, they recognize their owner, but they can take food from the hands of an unfamiliar person.

Dear Readers! If you are just thinking about whether to start turkeys for meat, first of all, you need to have a good idea of ​​whether you can adjust your life to the needs of the bird, because turkeys require a lot of attention and a clear schedule. Turkeys won't let you go on summer vacation and won't give you a day off. But if you are hardworking, like our grandfather, then you can certainly succeed. Good luck to you!

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