Let's talk turkey!
On our Poultry Biosecurity blog and YouTube channel, we mostly focus on chickens and chicken farming. But plenty of our subscribers raise turkey! So, in honor of Thanksgiving, turkeys and the amazing farmers who make it all possible, we wanted to take some time to talk about turkey.
Differences Between Turkey Farming and Chicken Farming
One of the most interesting differences between chicken and turkey is that around week 17 or 18, turkeys start to get aggressive. At around 40 pounds, these turkey toms can get quite feisty! One farmer who works with us says she won't even go around them at that point. They also tend to congregate and will pack around you if you enter the house, which chickens don't really do.
The biggest difference between raising chickens and turkeys is likely the longevity of the birds' growth. Usually, the longest chicken grow-out is nine weeks, while turkeys can be up to 20 weeks, at around 50 pounds. The turkeys we eat around the holidays grow for around 15 weeks, and the 20-week turkeys are grown for breast meat and other parts.
With a longer grow-out, turkey farmers are dealing with much heavier mortality. Chicken farmers are used to carrying 10-pound birds to their stack house—imagine hauling a 50-pound bird instead!
Also due to the long growing period, turkey farmers don't get to clean their houses as often. This means they have to stay on top of cleaning throughout the 20 weeks. They'll have to wait that long before getting a full clean out!
Amount of Flocks
Turkey farmers get around three flocks per year, but chicken farmers who grow a smaller bird (like those for your favorite fast food restaurant) have six to seven flocks per year.
Despite these differences, turkey and chicken farmers alike deal with similar issues, like dermatitis (or cellulitis in turkey). All poultry growers have to stay on top of biosecurity practices to maintain healthy birds and profitable farms!
We are always thankful for our farmers, but want to extend a special thanks to turkey growers this week! We wish you all a warm, blessed, happy Thanksgiving.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Allen at email@example.com! If you want to stay up to date on our content made just for poultry growers, subscribe to our Poultry Biosecurity YouTube channel.