Turkey meat is popular in many countries around the world. A large number of dishes are prepared from it, including smoked meats. Often this product is chosen as the main dish on the festive table. Turkeys are a large poultry. Males weigh about 20 kg, females - about 10, while they grow very rapidly. You will learn how to properly keep turkeys at home from our article.
Turkeys are bred, as a rule, for meat products. Therefore, it is very important to choose the breed that best suits you. Below is a list of the most popular breeds, compiled depending on meat indicators.
- Moscow Greyhound. Representatives of this breed gain more than 12 kg of weight, and also have high productivity.
- Victoria. Males of this species grow up to 20 kg.Agree, good performance?
- White broad-breasted. Males reach 17 kg in weight, while 80% of their body weight is pure meat, which is very popular.
Purchase of young animals
After you finally decide on what breed of turkeys you will breed, you need to buy young stock. Chicks must be he althy. How to understand that there are no deviations in the physical development of a bird?
- The sewer and the area around it is clean;
- Belly soft;
- Belly button dry;
- Wings close to the body;
- Down is even and smooth;
- Chicks are mobile and stand firmly on their paws;
- They show an active response to sound signals.
Transport babies in cardboard boxes with pre-made ventilation holes. During transportation, drafts should not be allowed, because they can lead to the death of all chicks.
Buying turkeys is advised at poultry farms or specialized farms. In such organizations, all individuals undergo a thorough examination, so you get he althy birds. In addition, professionals will give you tips on how to keep turkeys at home. Market producers should not be given preference: as a rule, they sell low-yielding and weak chicks.
To decide how many birds you need to buy, estimate the amount of money you are willing to invest in caring for turkeys. The fact is that for keeping and feeding turkeys inhome environment will require significant investment.
General principles of care
It is very important to properly care for turkeys from the first days. Therefore, you need to follow a few recommendations shared by experienced poultry farmers. The main thing to remember is that turkeys are not chickens! They require a completely different approach.
So, how to keep turkeys at home? Already from the 5th week, you need to keep females and males separately. This will keep the emotional balance of the birds, as well as simplify the care process. Males and females need different feed, and it will be much easier to feed them if they do not live in the same place. The need for different feed is due to differences in the growth rate of turkeys and turkeys.
Birds raised for slaughter are kept up to 16 weeks old. For 4 months they gain 10 kg of weight. At the same time, the development of the reproductive system begins, which is accompanied by the deposition of internal fat. So that the meat is not too fatty, birds are slaughtered at this age.
Turkeys live in packs with many males. Males are polygamous and often "care" for turkeys in pairs. After one mating, the birds lay eggs for 2 weeks, during which time their number reaches 14 pcs. Incubation of eggs takes 28 days. But after the birth, after 12 hours, the turkeys are ready to explore the world. They reach puberty at 8 months of age.
It is very important to properly care for the young from the very beginning.Turkey poults need a warm and dry room, which should be heated with a heating pad. If you have the opportunity, use an infrared lamp for this purpose. This device will bring a double benefit: it will not only create comfortable conditions for the chicks, but also prevent cannibalism among the young.
You can't keep many turkeys in one place. Crowding will lead to outbreaks of infections, especially coccidiosis. Stocking density of young animals is no more than 10 heads per 1 m2. Another important thing to pay attention to is that the chicks do not distinguish food from straw and sawdust. They can swallow inedible objects, which subsequently leads to he alth problems or even death of individual individuals. For this reason, the floor should be covered with cloth or newspapers.
Keeping and breeding turkeys at home will be successful if you create all the necessary conditions for the comfortable existence of birds. Particular attention should be paid to light and temperature conditions. Birds have a well-developed pectoral muscle. Due to their large body size, turkeys are sensitive to temperature changes. It is easier for them to get used to the cold than to survive the heat. The inability to withstand high temperatures is directly proportional to the size of the chest: the larger it is, the more difficult it is for the bird to adapt to environmental conditions.
Excess heat causes birds to drink excessive amounts of water to cool offveins. But this is fraught with the fact that the goiter begins to sag. And weak and unhe althy chicks rapidly lose weight, which ultimately can cause their death. Dangerous bacteria settle in the goiter, which causes various inflammatory processes that quickly spread throughout the body.
However, compared to goslings and chickens, turkeys love warmth more. Babies should be kept in a room with an air temperature of 35-37 оС. But you need to carefully monitor the behavior of the chicks: if they spread their wings and opened their beaks, then they are hot, therefore, it is necessary to reduce the air temperature. Lower your temperature by 1-2 oC every day. On the 7th day of life of turkey poults, it should be 30 оС, on 14 - 24 оС, on 26 - 21 о S.
Mature individuals feel comfortable at a temperature of 20 oC in the summer. In the cold season, this figure should be at least 15 oС.
Keeping turkeys at home requires careful monitoring of daylight hours and exposure to direct rays on birds. An intermittent light regime is best for caring for turkey poults. Provide them with 24-hour lighting for the first time after they are born so that the babies can quickly find food. As early as week 6, accustom them to an 8-hour light day. The light should be turned on twice a day: in the morning, from 7 am to 11 am, and in the evening, from 2 pm to 6 pm.
When keeping turkeys at home is veryit is important to maintain a comfortable level of humidity in the room for the birds. For chicks, the indicator should be at least 75%, but as the birds grow older, you can slightly lower the humidity level. Mature turkeys do well in 70% humidity.
Another important factor that affects the he alth and fertility of birds is the presence of fresh air in the room where you keep birds. It is necessary to ventilate the "chicken coop" only on calm days in warm weather. In addition, the air must be clean and fresh, as turkeys are sensitive to the presence of toxic gases in the atmosphere. The dust that accumulates indoors subsequently has a negative impact on the he alth of chicks and adults.
Requirements for the premises
How to keep turkeys indoors at home? As mentioned earlier, turkey poults contain 10 individuals per 1 m2. After a few weeks, males and females are seated in different rooms. They should be spacious and protected from direct sunlight. Only 2 individuals can live on 1.5 m2, no more. Drafts should not be allowed, as they adversely affect the well-being of turkeys. Perches should be provided in each room. The fact is that these birds like to sit high, in addition, this will help keep the plumage clean and dry for a long time. To keep turkeys at home in winter, it is necessary to insulate the room. Although birds are able to tolerate frosts down to -20 oС, one shouldkeep the temperature there around 20 oC.
How to make a perch? You need to use a wooden lath with a rounded top. Its dimensions should be 3.5-4 by 7 cm. At the same time, gradually, as the chicks grow older, the perch is increased. Adults require a perch that is at least 30 cm long. Initially, perches are placed 25 cm from the floor, increasing the distance to 45 cm.
Nests should be installed in a quiet place, the best place for this is the space against the far wall. You can build two- or three-tier nests, as the bird prefers to settle higher. The dimensions of the nest boxes are as follows: 60x60x60 cm. This space will be enough for a medium-sized turkey.
The room should have a dry, loose bedding, such as wheat straw. It is laid on the floor in a thick layer. It needs to be changed regularly. A thin layer of lime is placed under the bedding. You will need to equip ash baths in each enclosure. Wood ash and fine river sand, as well as a little sulfur, are poured into a large box with sides. This mixture can be left indoors for a week, after which it must be renewed.
In order for the birds to go out for a walk, a square hole with a side of 50 cm is made in one of the walls. The place for walking should be as spacious as possible. It is best to pre-sow it with perennial herbs. Experienced poultry farmers are advised to give preference to legumes like clover and alfalfa. can be sown andannuals such as oats and peas.
Turkeys can be pastured in gardens. Birds will eat insects, leaf litter, fruit carrion, wild seeds, and weeds. Sometimes you can release birds into fields where you have recently harvested wheat, oats or barley. By eating the leftover grain, the turkeys will effectively gain weight.
This walking is suitable for representatives of unpretentious breeds, for example, Tikhoretskaya Chchernaya, Moscow Bronze or North Caucasian. If you breed broiler birds, for example, white broad-breasted, then the emphasis should not be on walking, but on fattening. At the poultry house, you need to install drinkers and feeders, as well as put a cut pumpkin and pour hay in the immediate vicinity of the house.
Birds are released for walking at any time of the year. The main thing is that the weather is good. Dampness, strong winds, low temperatures - all this must be avoided when keeping turkeys at home.
For beginners, it will probably come as a surprise that turkeys, despite their large size, are very mobile and love to fly. Therefore, in order to prevent shoots, it is necessary to enclose the area for walking with a high fence that rises 2 m or more above the ground. From above you need to stretch the grid. Another effective way is to clip one wing of a bird.
Keeping turkeys in cages at home is suitable for those people who cannot keep a bird on the run. In addition, it savesfeed, does not require a large amount of bedding. The cages contain birds of the egg direction. They are placed one by one in a cage to reduce the likelihood of injury to birds.
Tiered cages are best, because such designs do not cause inconvenience to turkeys. They must be equipped with drinkers and feeders. Cages must be spacious: at least 60 cm long and wide.
Maintenance in winter and summer
For those who are interested in how to keep turkeys at home, it will be important to know that there are several "pitfalls" in this matter. For example, the conditions that need to be created for birds in a certain period differ. In summer, you need to install a special canopy over the walking area, which will protect the birds from direct sunlight or rain.
But in the winter it will take a long time to prepare the premises. So, additional insulation of the house will be required. The temperature inside must be at least +5 оС. Light day should last 12-14 hours, which means that in the evenings you need to turn on the lamps. Lay straw on the ground in the walking area. This will help prevent frostbite on the paws of birds. Remember: only breeders, not broilers, are left to winter.
It is important to understand that the feeding of chicks and mature turkeys is very different, so it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the nutritional requirements of birds in advance. First, turkeys are fed with a boiled egg (it must be crushed), already on the 3rd day you can diversify the diet with low-fat cottage cheese, millet or cereals. One week afterWhen the chicks are born, they will gladly eat green onions and boiled root crops. After 14 days, the birds can be fed green mass, which includes lettuce, dandelion and even scalded nettles. During the same period, fishmeal is introduced into the diet.
Keeping and caring for turkeys at home becomes more difficult already in the 2nd month of chicks' life. The fact is that more complex food is required, consisting of fishmeal, fine gravel, shells and chalk, boiled vegetables, cereals, grains and greens. Birds are fed regularly. The number of feedings per day in the first month is 5 times, then gradually decreases to 3 times.
Keeping broiler turkeys at home means fattening foods with high nutritional value. If you breed breeding birds, then feeding should be balanced, but with a high content of greenery.
Drinkers and feeders
It is necessary to install feeders and drinkers in the turkey housing. At home, you can use automatic devices and feed the birds yourself, but in large farms it would be advisable to give preference to special devices.
During the first 3-5 days of life, the chicks are fed as follows: an edible mixture is poured into a tray with low sides. At first, turkeys are not active in terms of nutrition, but as they age, their appetite will improve. If there is no mother turkey, then you must teach them to peck yourself so that they do not weaken.
You can motivate birds to eat by simulating a knock with your beak. Lightly tap the tray with your fingers while pouring the compound feed into it. The young will notice the movement. You can also add finely chopped green onions to the food. Unusually colored food will attract poults.
At first, small trays are used, then they are replaced with long troughs, as well as feeders with corner jumpers at the top. This prevents contamination of the feed. You can use stainless steel containers. Currently, automatic feeders are gaining popularity. They work as follows: compound feed is poured into a special container. From the grooves at the bottom, it spills into the tray. Such a device allows you to keep the mixture clean for a long time.
In the cage keeping of turkeys at home, automatic drinkers are used from the very beginning. They are installed on elevations. They can help keep the water clean, as well as provide the birds with beneficial vitamins and minerals by adding them to the liquid.
Our article listed the basic requirements for breeding turkeys. As you can see, keeping turkeys at home for beginners will not be a big problem if you follow all the recommendations.