Housing Turkeys on a Farm

Turkeys on path

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The aim of housing turkeys is to protect them from sun, rain, wind, predators and provide comfort. In hotter areas, the long axis of the house should run from East to West.

The distance between two houses should be at least 15 meters and the young stock house should be separate from the adult house. The width of the open house should not exceed 9 meters.

The height of the house may vary from 2 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 moisture proof concrete.

When turkeys are reared under deep litter system, the general housing conditions are similar to those of chicken but care should be taken to provide adequate floor space to accommodate them, water containers and feeders. Turkey is a large bird, therefore 0.4 to 0.5 square meters per bird is recommended.

Usually a turkey house has a rectangular or square floor-base and made from wooden planks, roofing sheets, wire mesh and light fittings. In some cases, 0.75 meter height of block work forms the base of the house and the remaining height is covered with wire mesh.  A brooding area with a heating source is essential for the first three or four weeks.  This should be sectioned off and draught proofed. Young turkeys are weaned off heat gently and carefully over several days. The floor should be provided with good litter or bedding such as chopped straw or white wood shavings. House size is based on the maximum number of adult birds to be housed any particular time.

Newly hatched turkeys leave an incubator temperature of 38 degree centigrade. Because of their inability to maintain body heat (due to lack of feathering) they must be placed in draught free surroundings of 37 degree centigrade for the first day, reducing by 0.5 per day until they are sufficiently well feathered to be able to thrive without the aid of artificial heat.

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Teresa Fikes
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