Category Archives: Turkey


Marketing of turkeys

The meat of turkey has nutritional and sensorial properties which make it almost ideal raw material for rational and curative nutrition. The turkey can produce 30gm of digestible protein from 100gm feed. The dressing percentage of turkey is 80-87%, which is highest of all farm species.
• The body weight of tom and hen turkey at the 16th week is 7.26 kg and 5.53kg. This is optimum weight for marketing the turkeys.
• The cumulative feed efficiency at the marketing should be 1:2.8 for toms and 1:2.7 for hens.

A market study shows that a male turkey sold at 24 weeks of age weighing 10 to 20 kg with expenditure of ksh 300/kg to 450 will give a profit of Ksh. 500/kg to 600. Likewise a female will give a profit of ksh.300/kg to 400 in a span of 24 weeks time. Besides, the turkey can be reared in scavenging and semi-scavenging conditions also.

Economic Parameters in Turkey Farming 

Male – Female ratio                                                1:5
Average egg weight                                                 65gms
Average day old poult weight                                50gms
Age at sexual maturity                                            30weeks
Average egg number                                                80 -100
Incubation Period                                                   28 days
Egg production period                                            24 weeks

Marketable age
Male                                                                       14 -15 weeks
Female                                                                   17 – 18 weeks

Marketable weight
Male                                                                      7.5 kg
Female                                                                  5.5 kg

Food efficiency                                                        2.7 -2.8
Average feed consumption upto marketable age
Male                                                                   24 -26 kg
Female                                                                17 – 19 kg
Mortality during brooding period             3-4%


Feeding and handling of turkeys

Turkeys of all age group can be easily driven from one place to another with the help of a stick. For catching turkeys a darkened room is best, TurkeyHousewherein they can be picked up with both legs without any injury. However, mature turkeys should not be kept hanging for more than 3-4 minutes.

Floor, feeder and waterer space requirement of turkeys


Feed: The methods of feeding are mash feeding and pellet feeding.

  • ™ The energy, protein, vitamin and mineral requirements for turkeys are high when  compared to chicken.
  • ™ Since the energy and protein requirements for the both sexes vary they must be reared separately for better results.
  • ™ Feed should be given in feeders and not on the ground.
  • ™ Whenever change is made from one diet to another it should be carried out gradually.
  • ™ Turkeys require a constant   and clean water supply at all times.
  • ™ Provide more number of waterers during summer.

™ Feed turkeys during the cooler parts of the day during summer. ™ Provide shell grit at the rate of 30-40 gm per day per bird to avoid the leg weakness.

Green feeding:
In intensive system, greens can be fed upto 50% of the total diet on dry mash basis. Fresh Lucerne is first class green feed for turkeys of all ages.

Body weight and feed consumption: turkey wights



Breeds of turkeys in Kenya

Turkeys are not classified into breeds, however seven standard varieties are available, Bronze, White Holland, Bourbon red, Narragansett, Black, Slate, Beltsville small white.
Board breasted bronze:
The basic plumage color is black and not bronze.

Board breasted bronze turkey

Board breasted bronze turkey

The females have black breast feathers with white tips, which help in sex determination as early as 12 weeks of age.


Board breasted white:

Board breasted white Turkey

Board breasted white Turkey

This is a cross between Board breasted bronze and White Holland with white feathers. This variety was developed at the Cornell University. White plumage turkeys  seems to be suitable in hot areas and also good and clean in appearance after dressing.


Beltsville small white:
This variety was developed at Agricultural University Research Station, Beltsville, USA. It closely resembles the Board breasted white in color and shape but smaller in size. Egg production, fertility and hatchability tend to be higher and broodiness tends to be lower than heavy varieties.


Turkey terminologies:

Tom                                                         Adult male turkey
Hem                                                         Adult female turkey
Poult                                                        Young one of turkey
Snood or Dew bill                                 The fleshy protuberance near the base of the beck
Caruncles                                                The fleshy protuberance on the head and neck usually pink or red in color
Dewlap                                                     A large flap skin seen immediately below the chim
Bread                                                        A tuft of hair attached to the skin of the upper chest region
Strut                                                         Mating behavior of male turkey

Poults should be debeaked to control feather picking and cannibalism. Debeaking can be done at day old or 3-5 weeks of age. Remove the beak at about one half the  distance from nostril to the tip of the beak.
Removal of the snood or dewbill is to prevent the head injuries from picking and fighting. At the day old the snood can be removed by shumbnail or finger pressure. At 3 weeks of age it can be cut off close to the head with sharp scissors.

Detoeing or toe clipping:
Clipping is done at day old by removing the tip of the toe just to the inside of the outer most toe pad including the entire toenail.


Turkey Farming in Kenya

Turkey occupies an important position next to chicken, duck. Guinea fowl and quail in contributing the most evolving poultry farming sector in Kenya. They are reared for meat only and its meat is the leanest among other domestic avian species.

Turkey and Kenya:
Turkey farming is in infancy in Kenya. However, serious efforts are being made at
to promote turkey farming. Turkey farming is getting popular fast in Central Kenya, Rift Valley and Eastern Kenya. There are three varieties of turkey commonly available in Kenya. They are Board breasted bronze, Broad breasted white and Beltsville small white.

Turkey egg:

The turkey will start lay from the 30th week of age and its production period is 24 weeks from the point of lay. Under proper feeding and artificial lightening management  turkey hens lay as much as 60-100 eggs annually. Nearly 70 percent of the eggs will be laid in the afternoon. The turkey eggs are tinted and weigh about 85 gms. Egg is noticeably pointed at one end with strong shell. The protein, lipid carbohydrate and
mineral content of turkey egg are 13.1%, 11.8%,1.7% and 0.8% respectively. The cholesterol is 15.67-23.97 mg/gm of yolk.

Turkey meat:
Turkey meat has nutritional and sensorial properties which make it almost ideal raw material for rational and curative nutrition. People prefer turkey meat because of its leanest nature. The protein, fat, energy value of turkey meat are 24%,6.6%, 162 Calories per 100 gm of meat. Mineral like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium, zinc and sodium are present. It is also rich in essential amino acids and vitamins like niacin, vitamin B6 and B12. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and essential fatty acids and low in cholesterol.