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.

* For Meat: An excellent source of low fat protein

* 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

Discover everything you need to know about keeping chickens at home: your backyard, the city, suburbs, or anywhere for that matter. You'll absolutely have all of the information you need. Everything. Seriously, it's all here and more!

Grab Your Copy Today

You'll learn:

* what you must do BEFORE YOU EVER SPEND A PENNY

* Learn about the history of domestic chickens and why the Greeks and Romans idolized them

* Learn the four categories and two classes of chickens and what's important to know about them

* Which breed is right for your needs?

* Should you raise chicks or get full grown chickens from the start?

* How to determine the sex of baby chicks

* How to keep your flock healthy and productive

* And much, much more.

This comprehensive resource covers all the bases in masterful, everyday simplicity. If you have chickens in your plans, grab your copy of this excellent resource today.

Incredible Chickens

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Raising Chickens: Attractive and Affordable Chicken Coops for the Backyard Farmer

Raising chickens for meat and eggs has been a part of the American culture since it began. Raising poultry dates back to ancient times in the Old World as well; with reference of it made time and time again in historical documents.

Why has raising chickens played such an important and long-lasting role in the rise of civilization? There are a variety of reasons for it. Here a few:

* They are inexpensive to keep and raise

* They don't require a great deal of attention

* They are prolific breeders

* They are dual purpose animals: meat and eggs

* They are fun and entertaining to be around

Even people who live around the edges of urban areas may enjoy the benefits of raising chickens if their zoning laws permit it. Not only do chickens provide meat and eggs for the table, they are efficient recyclers of food scrapes and high-quality fertilizer producers.

You don't need much to get set up in the chicken business. Probably the biggest expense will be in building some kind of shelter and penning area for them. Depending on how big a project you make of it, you may get out the door rather inexpensively.

The chickens themselves don't require much in the way of luxury accommodations, but there are certain things to shy away from and others to make sure you include. Most of the necessities are for the health and safety of the flock and the convenience of the owner. Others are to increase the productivity of the flock.

There are pre-fab kits available to build chicken coops, but by and large, they are inflated in price and you still have to assemble them anyway. Your best bet is to find a source that provides you with adequate do-it-yourself plans and build your coop outright. It's not that difficult for anyone who is capable of using good judgment and few simple hand tools.

At the very least, make sure you take into account:

* Materials

* Insulation

* Ventilation

* Lighting

* Positioning

* Nesting

* Perches

* Litter collection

* And protection from the elements and other animals

There are any number of effective and efficient options to choose from depending your needs and your budget. You can keep things as basic as possible or go for the super-sonic; the call is all yours. There are many good references available in libraries and online to help you in your planning process.

Raising chickens, or most other poultry for that matter, is not an all-consuming or difficult task. You can learn all you need to know in a short time and have your backyard mini-farm in full swing in a little while.

There is nothing quite like starting the day listening to your rooster crow and the hens cackle about the newest egg they laid. Chickens are a pleasure to have around the place and you are sure to get many years of enjoyment out of a well kept flock.