The turkey is a large bird, native to North America. The name turkey was initially applied to the guinea fowl that was thought to have originated in Turkey. However, the American turkey is a quite different species from the guinea fowl, though the name remained. It was called a”peru” in the 18th century. Some common breeds of turkey are: Narragansett, Bronze, White Holland, and Bourbon Red.
The breeder farm is the place where the hen lays the eggs. These eggs are collected and sent to the hatchery. In the hatchery, the eggs are stored in special incubators after cleaning. These incubators provide the right temperature and humidity levels for allowing the eggs to hatch. Normally, turkey eggs take 28 days to hatch. The baby turkeys, also known as poults, are stored in the hatchery until they are moved to the turkey farms. From the fish, the fish turkeys and the tom turkeys are reared separately. The poults should be fed properly and watched carefully, at least until they shed their down feathers and receive the outer feathers. For this, they are put in climate-controlled barns that have soft floors covered with straw or wood chips. They’re fed on a soft powdered mixture of soybean, wheat and corn. Other nutrients such as barley, milk powder, meat meal, lime stone, sodium, vitamin premix, methionine, lysine and insoluble grit may also be added. Adequate water must also be provided.
Today, many advances have been made in the genetics of turkeys. This has helped to increase the size of the bird with lesser feed and in lesser time. The white broad-breasted turkey has been the most common commercially raised turkey breed, since the 1960s. Additionally, there are various breeds of the white broad-breasted turkey that are reared in different parts of North America. Turkeys are bred specially to have more meat in the breast and thighs. White feathered turkeys are usually preferred, since they don’t leave any ugly pigment spots when plucked.
Turkeys take around 4-5 weeks to grow to full size. Birds less than 8 months of age are known as young turkeys. The hen turkeys take 16 weeks to mature completely, and average around 8 to 16 pounds in weight. The tom turkey takes around 19 weeks and weighs anywhere between 16 and 24 pounds. Larger tom turkeys may weigh up to 40 pounds. These take a few more weeks to mature. A breeder tom turkey can create up to 1,500 poults in a hen’s six-month laying cycle.
Turkeys receive a balanced diet comprising mainly of soybean and corn. This is also supplemented with vitamins and minerals. A 30-pound tom turkey (man ) needs around 84 pounds of feed on an average. The cost of the feed is usually 2/3 of the complete cost. Use of growth hormones for Raising Turkeys is banned. The amount of antibiotics to be given and the withdrawal period are determined by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service). The turkey’s wellbeing is scrutinized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or other state systems, and it might also be graded for quality. Turkeys which have been on antibiotics aren’t allowed to be processed for sometime until the residue of this medicine has cleared from the body. Turkey farms are generally comfortable, providing shelter from harsh weather, predators, and disease.