Friday, April 30, 2010

Raising Turkeys – 4 Reasons Why You Should Start

Turkeys have been around for a long time. Turkey history actually starts millions of years ago. Their fossils have been found in Pleistocene deposits which means that they have been around more than twelve thousand years and their predecessors go back 50 to 60 million years to the Eocene period. Since the modern domesticated turkey is a descendant of the Wild Turkey, it is surmised that ancient Mesoamericans had chosen to domesticate this species rather than the Ocellated Turkey which is found in far southern Mexico.

Turkeys require most of their care and attention during the first couple months. After this time they become much easier to care for. Turkeys are friendly and curious by nature.There are many reasons to raise turkeys.

1) Turkeys as food

Turkeys are traditionally eaten as the main course of large feasts at Christmas in much of the world, as well as Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada, though this tradition has its origins in modern times, rather than colonial as is often supposed. Sliced turkey is frequently used as a sandwich meat or served as cold cuts. Ground turkey is sold just as ground beef, and is frequently marketed as a healthy beef substitute. Without careful preparation, cooked turkey is usually considered to end up less moist than other poultry meats such as chicken or duck.

Wild turkeys, while technically the same species as domesticated turkeys, have a very different taste from farm-raised turkeys. Almost all of the meat is "dark" (even the breast) with a more intense flavor. Turkey is often found as a processed meat. It can be smoked and as such is sometimes sold as turkey ham. The white meat of turkey is generally considered healthier and less fattening than the dark meat, but the nutritional differences are small.

2) Turkeys as pets

While most that raise turkeys raise them for eating, some keep turkeys as a pet. This has been known to destroy their commercial value as Thanksgiving dinner. And some do both, keep some as a pet while eating the others. There are many different breeds of turkeys; however there are two varieties, domestic and wild. The wild turkey lives and breeds in the wild and some are kept as pets. It can fly and is said to be smarter than the domestic. The domestic turkeys are the type eaten on thanksgiving and they cannot fly. The domestic and wild turkeys are physically different.

Animal welfare groups such as Farm Sanctuary claim that turkeys are bright and social animals that can make suitable companion animals. US President George W. Bush noted the long tradition of keeping turkeys as pets in his 2001 National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation speech. Bush noted that Abraham Lincoln's son Tad kept a turkey as a White House pet.

3) Turkeys provide built-in pest control service

Turkeys may have the most varied diet of any animal known. They eat a variety of foods depending on availability, preference, and nutritional needs. All age classes eat insects when they are available. In the summer turkeys eat large quantities of insects, grass seeds, berries, and green leaves. Turkeys eat bugs, mosquitoes, ticks and flies too.

4) Turkey dung as fuel

Turkey droppings are being used as a fuel source in electric power plants. One such plant in western Minnesota provides 55 megawatts of power using 700,000 tons of dung per year. The plant began operating in 2007. Three such plants are in operation in England.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Common Mistakes and Problems to Avoid When Raising Turkeys

If you are just beginning to learn how to raise turkeys, you need to do any of research. While turkeys are relatively easy to raise there are some common mistakes that could happen that can be avoided with a little bit of research.

One of the things you need to be careful of when your first beginning to raise turkeys is that they need a certain amount of warmth and will get it one way or another. Often, turkeys may pile up on each other smothering each other in order to stay warm, resulting in death of the lower ones. You can solve some of these problems by making sure there is enough heat sources for the amount of turkeys you are growing. You may need a red lamp for every set of 20 turkeys within your turkey herd. By making sure you have enough warmth as well as not having corners for them to pile up in their habitat, you can avoid this common problem and death.

You'll also find turkeys need a certain amount of particular vitamins and nutrients in order to grow healthy. While your birds may be doing well when immature, as they grow if they don't get the proper nutrients bare legs can actually grow crooked to the point where they cannot walk. This can be solved by making sure you're fulfilling all of their vitamin and nutrient needs via processed turkey feed, perhaps alfalfa, or vitamins and minerals in their water. Just make sure you're getting the right amount for your turkeys and if you're raising organic turkeys, you cannot use processed food, vitamins or even medicine.

Also, diarrhea is a common problem in turkey herds. You can try to avoid this by again giving them antibiotics on a regular basis, but some people have found that acidophilus in the water works very well. This is great, if you're raising organic turkeys, as acidophilus is a natural inhibitor of diarrhea. If despite this you wind up with diarrhea in your turkey herd, you will have to put them on antibiotics, and it's usually something you put in their water.

Raising turkeys is not difficult, but there are some common problems that are associated with turkey herds. Read up on your Internet, there are several stories available that will show you exactly how people encountered the problems, and exactly how they solve them. Turkeys can be great for a small farm, and you can even raise them as free range turkeys and wind up marketing them as organic or free range.

Look to common organic turkey sites, turkey farm sites, and other sites concerning raising turkeys and you'll have a lot of information at your fingertips. Remember, turkeys main concern is going to be warmth and enough food and water to solve their vitamin and nutrient needs. Make sure that you've an optimum and with no corners for turkeys and then give them their food and water that they need to survive and thrive.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thinking of Raising Turkeys? Are You Looking For Fun or Profit?

While there are many different aspects of raising turkeys for fun and profit, one of the best ways is to raise organic and free range turkeys. In today's world, the market is good for those items that are raised in a manner conducive to the growing of the animal itself such as free range beef, goats and turkeys. Not only that, but on the profit end of things you'll find that your feed bill is less, your turkeys are healthier, and your market is better in the long run.

Many people are turning to free range meat as a source of protein in their diets. So raising turkeys is going to hit that mark well. It's not difficult, but you will need a secure area for the turkeys to enjoy their free range in. Remember, while they may grow relatively fast, they're still small and susceptible to predators. This can be predators such as coyotes, weasels, owls, eagles, domestic dogs, and a variety of other carnivores. The last thing you want is to have your herd of turkey's attacked on a regular basis so make sure they have a secure free ranging area.

Also, remember, organic means no processed foods, vitamins, or even medications. This means that you need to make sure that your turkeys herd stays healthy. You can solve a lot of problems with vitamin deficiencies and other illness by feeding them flakes of alfalfa. Of course, it's even better, if your free range turkeys are ranging on an older alfalfa field, but a flake or two of alfalfa spread out well throughout the ranging area can allow them to get the vitamins they need. Just make sure you're feeding enough alfalfa to fulfill the needs of all of the birds.

One of the nice things about raising turkeys is the fact that they're not that difficult to care for. They'll need warmth in the beginning of their lives when their growing and are babies, and you need to watch out for them piling up on each other for warmth and smothering each other. The best way to do that is to allow a good red heat lamp for each set of 20 birds.

Because of the ease of raising turkeys, children can be intimately involved in raising turkeys for fun and profit. Even the youngest can make sure that water containers are full and that the birds are getting the care and warmth that they need. You'll be surprised what a family adventure it is to raise turkeys and enjoy free range turkey meat as well as the excitement of your consumers eating their first free range turkey.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How To Start Raising Turkey and What You Need

Raising turkey are rather relatively easy to start, unless you want to whole herd, perhaps just one or two for your holiday dinner is going to work.

It's time to raise turkeys for the holidays, and because they're relatively easy if you have a bit of space you can raise several together and then sell the other ones to pay for your own turkey. You'll need a convenient pen for raising turkeys, as they need warmth, food and water as will as vitamins and certain nutrients.

Raising turkey is always easier when raising more than one bird at a time, not only are they a likely eat better, but also they more comfortable in flocks, and in the wild you'll see a flock of turkeys hanging out. So get three to five when you begin your turkey growing experience, that way if you lose one or two you'll still have a couple to get to maturity for your holidays.

You want a climate controlled pen or shelter for your young turkeys. You'll have to fill it full of soft flooring, give them a heat source such as a red heat lamp, as well as convenient food and clean water. There are several things that can happen within your flock of turkeys, but it's all according to how you want to grow them, whether organic or not as what you're going to do concerning the problems.

Many turkey farmers will lose quite a few young turkeys due to diarrhea, you can avoid this common problem by putting acidophilus in their water. This is considered an organic remedy to the problem, also, coccidiosis, the cause of the diarrhea can be solved with antibiotics in the water as well. It's all according to whether you're raising organic turkeys, or are going to use processed food. If you're using processed food it's okay to use antibiotics in the water, but if you're raising organic turkeys, try the acidophilus.

Also, without the proper nutrients and vitamins in their diet your turkeys legs can grow crooked. This will cause them to be unable to walk, resulting in poor turkey form and possible death. Make sure that you read up on these types of problems on the Internet before getting your baby turkeys. This way you can avoid these types of turkey health risks before they become a real problem.

It's not difficult raising turkey for your holidays, start about five months before the holidays, that should give you ample time to get them turkeys large enough for your dinner. Also, as far as butchering, you may find a local establishment that may do it for you. Enjoy the adventure of raising turkey for the holidays, and then enjoy eating a dinner you raised yourself.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Simple Steps to Raising Turkey Meat on Your Own

Turkeys are great meat; it's lean, has a lot of great antioxidants, and natural vitamins and nutrients and can be even better if you are raising turkeys meat on your own.

It can be very simple and easy in raising turkeys. First of all, start your turkey production with good healthy stock concerning your turkey babies. You can raise them from the egg yourself in an incubator, or purchase good healthy stock from many of the turkey farms. Make sure to watch out for diarrhea, crooked legs at about four weeks, and that they don't get too cold.

When it comes to raising turkeys you are going to want to give them heat lamps so the turkeys don't get too cold. When turkeys get cold, they cuddle up together and actually sit on top of one another, resulting in a pile up of turkey, with the bottom being smothered to death. Of course it does matter how many turkeys you are raising at a time, you should always try to raise at least 5 as one or two may pass away and three can be a flock together.

You also need to decide whether you're growing organic turkey or other types. Once you've made that decision, you can make decisions on deciding exactly what food to feed your turkeys. Remember in order to have organic turkeys you need to feed organic food, and stay away from processed turkey food and medications.

Many turkey farmers battle diarrhea with their turkeys, but you can put antibiotics in the water. As soon as you see turkeys with diarrhea you must begin to treat them or dehydration and death will be the result. Some organic turkey growers have had success with diarrhea in by using acidophilus in the water.

If you notice your turkeys are wondering around acting drunk, there's a good chance they are lacking in particular vitamins and nutrients, you can get a commercial mix for the water from your feed store, or you can try feeding different types of organic foods to increase vitamin and nutrient content of their feet. Some have used alfalfa and had this problem solved and there may be other types of organic feed you can use, look into organic turkey food on the Internet.

Raising turkeys meat is a great way to supplement your diet with lean meat full of great vitamins and nutrients for your whole family. Just make sure your turkeys come from a healthy farm, keep them warm until they are old enough to regulate their own temperature and feed them well. Look to your Internet for information about raising turkeys on a small farm and then enjoy their large graceful bodies wandering around.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Raising Turkeys for Fun and Profit: Basic Facts and Terminology

The first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of raising turkeys is Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Many folks raise turkeys for eating, but many also just enjoy having them around the farm to keep as pets. Others still, may do both; raising some for eating and others as pets.

Raising turkeys is a good side-line business for small farmers. Most farmers look for "recession buster" residual incomes during economic times like those today. Turkeys may be rotated through farming cycles like other cash crops. All you need are a few acres available to rotate pastured turkeys on and you're in business. Raising turkeys on a small farm is fun and profitable if done correctly.

It's a good idea to know the terminologies and a good knowledge bank of facts about raising turkeys before setting out to raise them. There are several great resources available on the market today. Educate yourself so you don't get confused or lost when involved in conversations or while researching related materials.

Some Basic Facts About Raising Turkeys

There are many different breeds of turkeys, but only two varieties: domestic and wild. An understanding of their differences and similarities is useful to know:

* Obviously, wild turkeys live and breed in the wild; although some are kept as pets as permitted by law.

* It is said they are more intelligent than their domestic counterparts. Wild turkeys also have the ability to fly.

* The domestic turkey is commercially raised for food

* Domestic turkeys cannot fly.

* The two varieties are physically different. Domestics being much larger than wild turkeys.

* Wild turkeys have brown tips on their tails, domestic breeds are white.

* Wild turkeys are much faster than domestic breeds. They can run up to 35 mph, while domestic turkeys are more docile and slow moving.

* Wild Turkeys have better hearing and eyesight than their domestic relatives.

* Only male turkeys gobble, females make clucking sounds.

* Only males can fan their tail feathers, females do not have this ability.

The white, broad-breasted breed of turkey is what commercial turkey producers' raise today. These birds were introduced into commercial production in the late 1950’s. By the end of the next decade, they were the most popular breed tended commercially.

Many factors affect the cost associated with raising turkeys. These include:

* Buildings

* Equipment

* Labor

* Feed costs

* Interest on loans

Feed amounts to almost two thirds of the cost of raising turkeys. Geographic location of the operation, amount of automation and size of the farm are all contributing factors to the costs of raising turkeys.

Basic Terms Associated With Raising Turkeys

* Tom: mature male turkey of breeding age

* Hen: mature female turkey of breeding age

* Poult: young turkey yet to reach maturity

* Snood or Dew bill: sometimes called the waddle, this fleshy mass hangs near the base of the beck

* Caruncles: fleshy protuberance on the crown and neck. It is usually pink or red and appears at about five weeks of age

* Dewlap: large, dropping flap skin seen immediately below the chin

* Bread: long, course blotch of hairs attached to the upper chest region (primarily on adult males)

* Strut: ritualistic mating posturing performed by male turkey when "in strut" or breeding season

* Shooting the red: development of the caruncles; considered by many as the most difficult time in young turkey's life

* Debeaking: debeaking is done traditionally at one-day old to 3-5 weeks of age. The beak is clipped off about half between the nostrils and the tip of the beak. Poults are debeaked to control feather picking and cannibalism.

* Desnooding: to prevent head injuries from picking and fighting, the snood or dewbill is removed. Performed from day one to about three weeks of age

* Detoeing or toe clipping: done at day old to prevent weapons for fighting later in life. The tip of the toe is removed just inside of the outer most toe pad; to include the entire toenail.

Of course, this is just an introduction to all you must know to begin successfully raising turkeys on your homestead. You can get more useful information from agricultural extension offices in many states. There are also a few good resource books on the market that will get you started out on the right foot. Just try not to eat too much come Thanksgiving, it's so hard to get off in the New Year. Bon apatite.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Complete Guide to Raising Chickens Anywhere – Even in Your Urban Back Yard!

There is a growing "Urban Farm Movement" of city and suburban folks who wish to return to their agricultural roots by raising of small flocks of chickens in an urban setting. These "Urban Farmers" or "Backyard Enthusiasts" have many reasons for keeping chickens. But the one thing most of them lack is the knowledge to make the dream come alive.

Everything You Need to Know

People raise chickens for a variety of reason. If you want to raise chickens for any of these reasons, this is a must-have resource:

* For Fresh Eggs: A natural and holistic source of protein.

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* Drug Free: Are you concerned about the effects of drugs in the food supply? You can raise your chickens free of drugs like antibiotics

* Insect Control and Fertilizer: Chickens thrive on bugs and their manure makes some of the best fertilizer there is

* For Exhibition or as Family Pets: They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. What a relaxing distraction from the rush of every day life

* Save the Planet: Chickens are a sustainable and local food source that educates, promotes responsibility and helps consumers to reduce their carbon footprints in these days of ecological awareness

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