Raising Show Turkeys: 4 Things To Know Before You Start Raising Show Turkeys

Raising show turkeys can be a great business and a rewarding hobby. The only caveat is that it takes a lot more dedication than, say, raising turkeys for meat. In fact, before you even begin to seriously consider this, you need to make sure you are prepared for this challenging task. Turkeys, especially those that are bred for competition, need to be cared for and fed regularly, and for the rest of their lives. If you neglect this, your turkeys will fall behind in weight and size, and there will be no way to catch up after that. In addition to these perpetual tasks, raising show turkeys is also a very time consuming activity that requires a great deal of patience and dedication.

Raising show turkeys basically involves four main phases, the first of which is establishing an environment that promotes their growth and health. It is important that you have the brooding space ready before the birds arrive, including all equipment and facilities. Typical requirements for a conductive environment are ample space, sufficient ventilation, a controlled temperature, and safety and protection from natural predators of birds, as well as the elements. At this point, it is important to remember that any change in the environment can stress the turkeys. As such, it is key that the environment and any changes to it are controlled.

The second phase is to feed the birds a diet that sufficiently meets their nutritional requirements. Proper nutrition allows birds to reach their full growth potential. Food is an area that would require some research. Before you start raising show turkeys, you should first familiarize yourself with the vitamins and nutrients that promote the growth of muscle tissue and bones, those that enhance the immune system, and those that provide energy for the birds’ daily activities.

Once you’ve established the perfect environment for your birds and figured out the right balance of food, the next thing to learn is how to choose the birds that are most likely to win. Typical criteria for judging show turkeys are weight, size, and amount of breast meat. When selecting which birds to compete in, look for those that are largest and heaviest, and with the greatest concentration of chest muscle. Examine the birds for any defects such as wounds, crooked legs or broken bones, as these are grounds for disqualification.

Finally, the last part of raising show turkeys is keeping track of them. Logs allow you to keep track of the progress of your turkeys and your previous decisions regarding each one. Your records should also include notes about the facility, such as temperature, humidity levels, weights, health, and feed consumption.

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