How to start Turkey farming in Nigeria:
Turkey is the second favorite bird eaten in Nigeria. The delicious meat is eaten throughout the nation especially urban areas like Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja. Sold by market women, meat vendors, shops and poultry farmers the bird attracts premium price. The meat is added to many dishes, fried, roasted, boiled or made into turkey pepper soup.
Highly lucrative the fast growing birds require simple caging, low cost maintenance. However despite their tough demure sudden disease could kill the bird. Investment involves finding a good spot, installing a large cage or pen.
Make sure the site has adequate utilities like water, electricity. Other considerations are startup finding, equipment, number of birds, veterinary care, sourcing food, marketing and labor.
Things to Consider
- Landed space
- number of birds
- veterinary care
- sourcing food
Why start Turkey farming in Nigeria
There are many reasons to start a Turkey farm fast growing, good source of protein, large market and profit making. The bird is moderately hardy has good economic value. Local Farms earn from feather sales and meat production.
Turkey is used in many culinary applications. The meat is processed into snacks (turkey meat pie), fried or grilled added to different dishes or made into pepper soup. It is popular in many pubs, restaurants, fast food outlets and homes. Products obtained from the bird are meat and feathers used in pillows/cushions.
- Fried meat
- Pepper soup
- Added to dishes
- Feathers for decoration
Steps to start Turkey farming in Nigeria
Steps to consider before starting the farm are landed space, species and number of birds to buy. Others are purchase of cage, food, clean water, healthcare and equipment.
First step is to write a turkey farm business plan, then carry out a feasibility study. Learn government regulation, learn the trade. There are also tax considerations, insurance for large farms, lease property, marketing, veterinary care and business registration.
- Write a turkey farm business plan
- carry out a feasibility study
- Learn government regulation
- Learn the trade
- Tax considerations
- Insurance for large farms
- Lease property
- Develop marketing strategy
- Adequate veterinary care
- business registration
Domesticated over 2000 years ago they were popular in early southwestern states of America. All descendants of domesticated turkey in commercial production originated from Mexico.
Physical characteristics include the wattle on underside of beak, snood and pin feathers. The large bird can fly short distances, climbing objects performs spontaneous frolicking runs. Other behavior include unprovoked aggression, wing flapping, leg stretching, dust bathing and feather ruffling.
They are very vocal with high pitched trill, attack with sharp talons if provoked. The male perform a ritualistic dance to attract the female during mating period. There is also an obvious color change on skin of neck, flesh nodules and head.
Bird selection is important to the success of the enterprise. A farmer should know the right one breed that suits the environment. There are many types farmed worldwide however domesticated breeds popular to the geographical location are best.
Select fast growing, disease resistant birds with good food conversion ratio. Local breeds are that are highly adaptable, require less feeding, common to the region.
Turkey: List of Turkey Bird Breeds
Turkey was domesticated several hundred years ago. Most of the birds in distant past were found in the wild. Hunting the birds was prevalent in Europe and Arab world. However modern trends have domesticated, breed and cross breed the species.
There are many breeds of turkey worldwide. An entrepreneur interested in the business needs to know the breed perfect for the geographical location. Commercial production is aimed at producing meat, feathers and eggs. Here is a list of domesticated turkey used in commercial production
List of Turkey Bird Breeds
There are many breeds of turkey to consider for commercial production. List include Bronze turkey, White Holland, Slate turkey, Beltsville small white. Others are Broad Breasted White turkey, black turkey Narragansett, Jersey Buff. Dindon noir de Sologne, Dindon rouge des Ardennes and Auburn.
List of domesticated Turkey
- Broad Breasted White Turkey
- Bronze Turkey
- Black Turkey
- Bourbon Red
- White Holland
- Jersey Buff
- Dindon rouge des Ardennes
- Dindo noir de Sologne
Black Spanish Turkey
Black turkey is one of the most highly commercial farmed animal. Found in Europe, United States of America, Mexico and Spain. The bird has an aggressive nature however they have good meat to body ratio.
Heritage breeds are specially bred to resist local disease and native climatic conditions. They are very rugged, adaptable to local climatic conditions highly disease resistance they are perfect for commercial production and common to commercial farmers.
Bourbon reds have a striking reddish brown plumage. Highly attractive many are common as pets. They are also delicious to eat offering full flavor best tasting bird. Originated from Bourbon, Kentucky they weigh an average of 14 – 24 pounds.
Another very attractive bird is the blue slate. It has a greyish color and highly priced in the market. Average weight is 18 pounds they are referred to as heritage turkey breeds.
Beltsville Small White and midget white
Beltsville Small White is a small bird compared with other breeds. Perfect mannered they are good at hatching eggs. Most are bred in small farms they are good foragers. Developed in the 1930s they are similar to midget white’s breeds. Midget white are new heritage birds developed in 1960s. A cross between broad breasted and Royal Palm they are commercially viable fast growing birds. The meat is delicious and average weight is 14 pounds.
This bird popular way back 1800s migrated from the United States of America. Popularly bred in Holland their average weight is 20-30 pounds. Unlike most birds of the species they display a surprisingly calmer disposition.
Standard bronze toms have a striking resemblance with Narragansett. A cross between American turkey and wild European turkeys it is commercially viable. Average weight is 16 – 25 pounds and commercial production of new chicks is through artificial insemination.
Originally from Rhodes Island Narragansett is now farmed extensively in New England. They weigh from 18 – 30 pound with toms the heaviest.
Broad Breasted Whites
Broad breasted are a highly commercialized breed. They grow rapidly have good flavor and most common breed. Suitable for factory product they are easily affected by weather conditions and disease.
Best Breed for Turkey farming in Nigeria
List of turkey breeds are Broad Breasted White Turkey, Bronze Turkey, Black Turkey, Bourbon Red, White Holland. Other are Slate Turkey, Narragansett, Beltsville and Jersey Buff. We have the Auburn turkey, Dindon rouge des Ardennes and Dindo noir de Sologne. Popular breeds of turkey farmed in Nigeria are Black turkey, White Holland, Broad Breasted.
- Black turkey
- White Holland
- Broad Breasted
Compared to chickens turkey are better resistant to infections and diseases. They are resistant to fowl pox, Ranikhet, Bronchitis and Marek’s infection. However there are many disease that affect the bird. Common diseases are fowl cholera, infectious sinusitis, erysipelas, arizonosis. More include new castle disease, mycotoxicosis, chronic respiratory disease, coryza, Paratyphoid.
- fowl cholera
- infectious sinusitis
- newcastle disease
- chronic respiratory disease
Corona virus, Salmonella Arizona, pox virus, bacteria, virus, fungal infection, Coccidia spp and Paramyxo virus.
The symptom depends on type of infection. Signs to look for are nasal discharge, hemorrhages, gasping, wheezing, and neck twisting. More are bloody diarrhea, weight loss, low fertility, pale fatty liver. They suffer from enlarged hock, foot pads, breast blisters, scab, coughing and blindness.
Schedule vaccination against fowl pox 4th and 5th week, ND-(R2G) 6th week and cholera vaccine 8-10 weeks. Apart from various types of vaccination observe strict sanitation, avoid feed spillage, and buy clean stock.
Secure funds through target savings or borrow from family and friends. Other sources include crowdfunding, venture capitalists, partnership and bank loans.
- target savings
- borrow from family and friend
- venture capitalists
- bank loans
Land and Housing
Requirements for commercial production farming in Nigeria is protection from predators, place to dust-bathe, access to range grass, large land space. Divide the land into pasture, roosting and breeding area. A simple house construction for the birds to rest at night with an elevated spot 2 feet is ideal for roosting.
Then prepare a solid structure for breeders to produce eggs and hatch. Separate toms from hens and provide access to pasture and provide food. Allow none breeding bird’s free access to pasture.
Build a solid perimeter fencing to prevent predation and theft. Turkeys have the ability to fly short distances so trim the wing feathers. The fence should be flushed to the ground about 5 feet high, lightly electrified (optional). Provide good pasture in the enclosure to encourage feeding.
Commercial production involves incubation of eggs for a period of 28 days. Chicks are then housed in specially designed pens. The young birds are put under constant feeding by spreading the feed with 24 hours low light intensity. This encourages them to feed continuously night and day. Purpose is to achieve fast growth within the shortest period.
The pen is thermo regulated with air temperature at 35 degrees C for 3 days then lowered 3 degrees every 2 days to 18 degrees at 37 days old. Then they are removed to rear the birds in rearing shed and birds moved again after several weeks to another large ventilated warehouse unit.
Equipment used are similar to those used for chicken farming. Provide a roofed shelter, water trough, feeder system, perimeter fencing and feather trimmers.
- roofed shelter
- water trough
- feeder system
- perimeter fencing
- feather trimmer
What to feed turkey
To ensure fast growth they need nutrient, minerals, protein, calories. They eat soya, wheat, corn, oilseeds and mixed grains. Others are formulated turkey feed, canola, and barley.
- Mixed grains
- Formulated turkey feed
Price of Turkey in Nigeria
These prices are estimates at of February 2020. Purchase day old turkey for N650-N1400 naira, 4 weeks old for N3, 700-6,500. They sell female point of lay N4, 500 while foreign breeds go from N10, 000-N20, 000
Mating and reproduction
In the wild male bird perform a courtship dance to attract female. They raise their bodies, fan feathers and dance around the female. However domesticated bird don’t breed naturally therefore insemination is practiced.
Females lay an average of one a day while fertilized eggs hatch after 28 days. Poults (baby turkeys) stay in nest under the mother for heat and protection until 2 weeks old. Farmers sell the young birds at 4 weeks old.
Sell to meat vendors, grocery stores, hotels and restaurants.