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HELP!!! Raising Turkeys for meat

Court1993Court1993 Junior Member
edited August 2011 in Producers and Vets
Hi everyone

I am going to start rearing turkeys. I live on a farm and have some room however i am only 17 years old so my parents wont let me get more than 40 :(. I would like information on costs such as how much turkey wormers are and at heat bulb set up.

I would also like to know an average price for a turkey at market and slaughter.

Also when is the right time to buy them and is it right that you have to keep them for 20 - 28 weeks and does anyone know where i can buy some young poults for cheap money???

Also do i need any sort of paperwork or anything for them??

I would appreciate any helpful hints and tips from anyone. THANK YOU


  • kernowclickkernowclick Senior Member
    edited January 2010
    I assume you want to rear turkeys for the Christmas trade. The timing will depend on the breed and the method of production. Your best bet is to buy day old poults from a reputable hatchery. Commercial double-breasted breeds can be started at the beginning of July. Single breasted breeds and traditional heritage breeds take longer to mature ( but generally have more flavour) and should be started off in early May.

    Feed the poults on 28% turkey starter crumbs.
    At 7-8 weeks feed grower pellets ( rearer pellets are smaller and can be used as a transition feed if you want to get them used to a bigger pellet)
    At 16/17 weeks a finisher ration can be introduced.
    A little grit will aid digestion especially if you choose to feed corn.

    There are welfare standards that must be adhered to.These include stocking densities and the provision of clean bedding, good light, sufficient feeding and drinking space and a quality of life that minimises behaviour problems such as feather pecking and bullying. Turkeys can be stressed easily and poults can suffocate if put in enclosures with accessible corners. Therefore handle and move them quietly and if if possible put your poults in a round pen under several heat lamps. If you can't make a round pen put material down in the corners to prevent them crowding - we use pieces of gorse.

    Free range is the best way to rear turkeys with access to plenty of fresh water. Just be aware that outdoor reared turkeys are particulary susceptible to Blackhead disease. Regular worming (every 6 weeks) and strict biosecurity are counter measures you can take. A little cider vinegar added to the water can also help. Also look out for Mycoplasma and Coccidiosis.

    If you are going to slaughter the birds on your premises for sale to the public there will be hygiene regulations to adhere to. I don't know where you live but I expect you would need to notify your local authority and an Environmental Health Officer will inspect your premises. There are also disposal regulations for the waste and the offal should be disposed of through an approved route.

    There are websites that will help you. Try www.defra.gov.uk and www.food.gov.uk.
  • bhagyam987bhagyam987 Junior Member
    edited June 2010
    I live in the USA.....We had about 5 turkeys on our hobby farm of 25 acres. We fed them some non-medicated chicken feed for the first 3 weeks and once they were old enough, I would crack some corn, wheat, oats and feed them. We would get left overs or food waste from a local restaurant and feed them. They always had good clean water. A compost pile also helps as they scavenge for food (bugs, earthworm, flies etc etc.)

    Males grew up to be 25-27 lbs big (dressed weight) and we were surprised at how much fat they had.

    I am specifically writing this note because you wanted to cut costs and a good way to do it would be to get about 10 poults to try out the restaurant waste method (they love sphagetti noodles, rice, meat scraps). For a youngster with not enough money to spend on supplies, this would be the way to go. IMHO.
  • donildonil Junior Member
    edited August 2011
    Your parents are right; you are too young to start a rear turkey business. I don’t know where you live, so it’s difficult for me to give the exact buying and feeding advice. The best buy is day old poults, it will cost you cheap also. In the initial stage start giving them starter crumbs then move to grower pellets. After 16-17 weeks, they are old enough to eat anything. They need lot of clean and fresh water.
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