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, although the name remained. In actuality, the wild turkey was a staple food in the North American diet. It was called a”peru” from the 18th century.
The breeder farm is the area where the hen lays the eggs. These eggs have been collected and sent to the hatchery. In the hatchery, the eggs are kept in special incubators after cleaning. These incubators provide the right temperature and humidity levels for allowing the eggs to hatch. Generally, turkey eggs require 28 days to hatch. The baby turkeys, also known as poults, are stored in the hatchery until they are moved to the turkey farms. In the fish, the fish turkeys and the tom turkeys are reared separately. The poults should be fed correctly and watched carefully, at least until they shed their down feathers and get the outer feathers. For this, they are put in climate-controlled barns that have soft flooring covered with straw or wood chips. They’re fed on a soft powdered mixture of soybean, wheat and corn. Other nutrients like barley, milk powder, meat meal, lime rock, salt, vitamin premix, methionine, lysine and insoluble grit can also be added. Adequate water should also be provided.
Today, many improvements 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. There are also different strains of this white broad-breasted turkey that are reared in various parts of North America. Turkeys are bred especially to have more meat in the breast and thighs. White feathered turkeys are generally preferred, since they don’t leave any ugly pigment spots when plucked.
Turkeys take around 4-5 months to grow to full size. Birds less than 8 months of age are known as young turkeys. The hen turkeys take 16 weeks to grow completely, and average around 8 to 16 lbs 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 lbs. These take a few more weeks to grow. A breeder tom turkey can generate up to 1,500 poults at a hen’s six-month laying cycle.
Turkeys are given a balanced diet comprising mainly of soybean and corn. This is also supplemented with minerals and vitamins. A 30-pound tom turkey (man ) needs around 84 lbs of feed an average. The cost of the feed is usually 2/3 of the complete cost. Use of growth hormones for Raising Turkeys is banned. Sometimes, antibiotics are also given to turkeys to prevent diseases and to increase feed efficiency. The turkey’s health is inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or other state systems, and it may also be graded for quality. Turkeys that have been on antibiotics are not permitted 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.