Turkey farming in Africa can be a profitable venture for an African farmer. Turkey farming is done for both eggs and meat and the nutrient level of both is very high in turkey eggs and meat. The meat is rich in protein, minerals and vitamins.
Turkey farming in Africa is better when they are bred using the intensive method of raring as opposed to the free range system. The advantage of using the intensive method where the turkeys are reared in an enclosed space is easy production monitoring and also reduction in disease occurrences. The main disadvantage of this method is that the turkeys will have to be given adequate food since they do not have a chance to forage for food. A fenced open space would create good room for intensive rising of turkey but the enclosure should be away from a lot of disturbance since turkeys are known to be very tense birds and slight variations in the environment can cause them stress.
The night shelter for the birds should be dim lit to prevent panic stampedes due to fright which lead to broken limbs and sometimes even death. The Poults (young turkeys) from the time of hutching to about 4 weeks should be under brooding. The brooding temperature for day 0 should be about 35?C and should be reduced weekly by 3?C weekly. A space of about 2 square feet per bird is required during this period. The floor of the brooding area should be covered with litter material e.g. saw dust starting with a cover of 1.5 inches and gradually increased to 4 inches. The litter material should be changed frequently to prevent flaking.
The diet for turkey farming in Africa would include, green matter, grains and other foods. Turkeys may need to be supplemented for proteins since they require a lot for their growth and calcium to create a strong bone structure especially for their legs. Commercial feeds can be us.ed as supplements for the green matter and grain in the turkey diets. Care should be taken to maintain the diet for turkeys and changes should be introduced gradually since these are very sensitive birds. Enough food should be given but not too much since research as shown that fat turkeys may be more prone to disease than the lean ones. F
orced feeding may be necessary for poults (young turkeys) after hatching for the first few days since the poults have been known to starve due to poor eyesight and nervousness. The poults can be given a diet of milk mixed with water at a rate of 100ml per liter of water and a boiled egg for every ten poults. The mortality rate of the poults is usually high if forced feeding is not applied; expected mortality is about 10% for the first 4 weeks. Feeding should be done from the troughs and not from the ground to reduce infections.
The turkey will start laying eggs after 30 weeks of its life and will continue lying for at least two years from the time of first lay. The turkey lays eggs mostly in the afternoon. A turkey can lay up to 100 eggs in one year. Turkey meat is usually low in fat and has very high protein content. A turkey can grow to between 8 to 20 kg.
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