Rearing systems

Turkeys can be reared under free range or intensive system.
Free range system of rearing:
• It reduces the feed cost by fifty percent.
• Low investment.
• Cost benefit ratio is high.

In the free range system, in one acre of fenced land we can rear 200-250 adult turkeys. Shelter should be provided during night at the rate of 3-4 sq.ft. per bird. They should be protected from predators during scavenging. Planting of trees is desirable for providing shade and cooler environment. The range should be rotated which will help to reduce incidence of parasite infestation.

Free range feeding:
Since turkeys are very good scavengers, it can consume earthworms, small insects, snails, kitchen waste and termites, which are rich in protein and that will reduce the feed cost by fifty percent. Apart from this leguminous fodder like Lucerne, Desmanthus, Stylo etc., can be fed. To avoid leg weakness and lameness in free ranging birds, calcium should be supplemented at the rate of 250gm per week per bird in the form of oyster shell. Ten percent of feed can be substituted with vegetable waste to reduce the cost of feed.

Health cover:
Turkeys in the free range system are highly susceptible for internal (round worms) and external parasites (fowl mite). Hence once a month deworming and dipping is essential to improve the growth of the birds.

Intensive system of rearing:
• Improved production efficiency.
• Better management and disease control.
• Housing protects turkeys form sun, rain, wind, predators and provides comfort.
• In hotter parts of the country the long axis of the house should run from East to West.
• The distance between two houses should be at least 20 meters and the young stock house should be at least 50 to 100 meters away from the adult house.
• The width of the open house should not exceed 9 meters.
• The height of the house may vary from 2.6 to 3.3 meters from the floor to roof.
• An overhang of one meter should be provided to avoid the rainwater splash.
• The floor of the houses should be cheap, durable and safe preferably concrete with
moisture proof.
When turkeys are reared under deep litter system, the general managemental conditions are similar to that of chicken but care should be taken to provide adequate floor, waterer and feeder space to accommodate the large bird.