Commercial Turkey Farm
Entrepreneurs looking to invest in livestock can learn how to start a commercial turkey farm. Turkey fowl is a poultry bird raised for food with good commercial value, delicious. They are either reared for their delicate meat or egg production.
The business is highly lucrative because the production is greatly deficient to the huge Nigerian population. This is the reason why importers smuggle millions of tons of frozen turkey from neighboring countries.
The illegality of the trade is due to the huge profit and customer demand. To encourage local production the federal government has placed a ban on importation of poultry products such as chicken and turkey.
Local farmers are given grants, subventions to boost production. The amount of startup capital depends on the size and scope of the enterprise. You can start a small turkey farm from home with $1000
About the Turkey
The large bird is native to the America and has a distinct protuberance or snood. The birds are ill tempered and easily provoked to anger. Classified into various family and subfamily, there are two extant species the Meleagris gallopavo and Meleagris Ocellata.
The Ocellated turkey is a forest dweller while the gallopavo are domesticated and wild species. The aggressive birds attack each other and people. First domesticated by indigenous Mexicans 800C they were bred for their delicious meat, fine plumage and eggs.
Why Start a Turkey Farm
The reasons to invest in a commercial turkey farm is quick maturity and attractive prices. It requires low startup and has a huge customer base. The farmer can sell the birds for meat or the eggs.
- Turkey meat attracts premium price
- You can sell turkey eggs
- 5 months to maturity
- Low startup capital
- Government incentives
- Huge customer base
- Start egg hatchery business
There are many breeds suitable for farming. Popular breeds are the Royal Palm, Bourbon Reds, and White Holland. More include the Narragansett, Wild Bronze Turkey, Broad Breasted Bronze and Standard Bronze.
- Royal Palm
- Bourbon Reds
- White Holland
- Wild Bronze Turkey
- Broad Breasted Bronze
- Standard Bronze
The business model involves acquiring the chicks and rearing the to table size. This involves comprehensive care and feeding till adulthood.
You need adequate capital for food, medication and space. You could rear them in a free range open system or caged.
Starting a commercial operation require huge funds. However a home based farm could requires moderate to low investment. The cost considerations are purchase of the birds, land, labor and feed.
To source funds try saving or borrowing from friends or family. Apply for loan from a commercial bank or find an investor. You could try partnership arrangement or crowd funding.
Sourcing the Turkey
The best place to buy the young birds is from reputable farms in your locality. To find them use yellow pages or conduct a simple search online. You can visit farms in your area to seek advice. Make sure the birds you buy are devoid of illness to avoid losses.
How to Farm Turkey
Once they have grown past the brooding stage they become highly resistant to disease. Some species exhibit low mortality rate and are rugged.
You can then apply the free range system or cage system. The free range is more economical but you don’t get the desired result.
The cage system is more effective because you can control the feeding, medication and heat requirements. The best age to purchase is those that are 5 weeks old.
Things to consider are type of breed, temperature of cage and adequate feeding. Make sure the turkeys you buy are ideal for your business model. Buy prolific layers if you are going into egg production.
De-beak and Clipping Toenails
The birds are very aggressive and would attack and kill each other. They even attack humans and other poultry birds.
To avoid catastrophic loss you need to de-beak and clip long toe nails. The males are especially aggressive so separate them from each other and the female ‘hens’.
The birds despite their bravado are easily frightened and tend to stamped each other. This could also lead to multiple deaths. Make sure the cage is properly ventilated and don’t forget to de-worm.
Turkeys are large animals so they need adequate space to grow. Other considerations are height, weight and population. The appropriate dwelling for chicks is the deep litter system.
The concrete floor of the pen is prepared by covering it with saw dust or wood shaving. Make sure you provide adequate heat and secure the house from rodents.
There are many manufacturers of turkey feed. Major feeds are corn, sorghum, soybeans, millet and rice.
It is essential you provide feeders to collect the food and water. You can give them supplementary feed such as watermelon, fish meal. Hybrid feeds include turkey starter mash, turkey grower mash and turkey finisher.
- fish meal
- turkey starter mash
- turkey grower mash
- turkey finisher
There are some equipment’s you need to successfully rear turkey. You need a cage, feeders and water trough. Seek the assistance of a qualified veterinarian and supplementary feed suppliers.
The female hen’s could weigh 5.5 to 6 kg while the male Toms 7.5kg. It takes about 4-5 months for full growth. It is possible to make 80% profit on investment.
The major challenge is selling your produce and pricing. Sell to market women, retailers, frozen food shops and neighbors. Use flyers, poster and banners including newspaper publications.