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Raising Turkeys For Food

Updated on May 20, 2013

Are you contemplating on raising turkeys for food?

Raising turkeys for food is a fairly common practice in today's time. After all, turkeys are typically thought of as meat served during one of the most important holidays in the United States. Turkey meat is also in demand year-round which makes raising them a very lucrative business. At the very least, occasional farmers can enjoy fresh turkey on special occasions without having to shell out several hundred dollars for the opportunity.

(Photo credit: gettyimages.com)

5 Things You Should Know Before Raising Turkeys for Food

raising turkeys for food
raising turkeys for food

Prior to raising turkeys for food however, individuals must first take a few things into consideration.

1 .The Size of their Available Lot

Raising turkeys for cooking requires having ample space in the backyard for the turkey to run in. Turkeys are most happy when they have sufficient space for movement, allowing them to spread their wings and take a few leaps for exercise. Ideally, there should be several square feet of ground space per turkey, depending on how big the breed is.

2. Housing for the Turkey

Make sure to set up turkey housing before buying turkeys. Although farmers can choose to raise their turkeys to pasture, the fact is that housing is still necessary as protection against the elements. Much like keeping them in an open space, the turkey housing should have ample floor area for the turkey to move in.

3. Available Time for Keeping

Turkeys are perfectly capable of handling themselves and can be left alone for most of the day. Keep in mind though that daily cleaning is still necessary to get rid of all droppings left by the turkey. Although there's a rumor going around that turkeys are dumb creatures, the fact is that they're actually smart and do not take kindly to a less than hygienic space. In some cases, turkeys would resort to cannibalism if they get stressed too much resulting from cramped living spaces, insufficient food and unclean surroundings.

4. Funds for Feed

Turkeys have no problem hunting around for different insects in the backyard and eating them for population control. Rearing turkeys for food however, demands a higher level of quality for their feed. Go for food types that are specially marketed towards the turkeys providing them with all the necessary vitamins and minerals to fatten up their meat. Note that when raising turkeys for food, farmers should have adequate funds to last them until the turkeys are sold. Compared to chickens, turkeys actually eat more and will likely consume around 2/3 worth of their price.

5. Other Poultry in the Area

Raising turkeys for food in the backyard means that no other poultry type should be raised in the area - especially chickens. See, chickens may carry a disease called blackhead that almost always causes fatality when received by turkeys. Hence, make sure that if turkeys will be raised, then this is the only kind of fowl to be kept around the area.

Of course, those aren't the only concerns a person must have when raising turkeys for food. Note that for eating purposes, the best turkeys to get would be Heritage turkey breeds because they carry the best taste in turkeys and are easy to obtain although slow-growing.

(Photo credit: gettyimages.com)

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