This article focuses on turkey farming in Kenya. Turkey farming is a good agribusiness venture that is earning many farmers in Kenya a good fortune. It is more profitable compared to other poultry farming ventures such as chicken farming.
Turkey farming is mainly practised for eggs and meat which is in high demand, especially in high-end hotels and restaurants.
Varieties of Turkey Raised in Kenya
- Beltsville small white.
- Black turkey.
- Broad-breasted white.
- Blue slate.
- Bourbon red.
- White holland.
Turkey Rearing Systems
1. Free range system
It is a traditional way of rearing turkeys where they roam freely on the farm for food and water. For this type of system, an acre of land can hold 200 adult turkeys.
2. Deep litter system
It is a modern way of rearing turkey. They are always kept indoors, with water and food provided in built structures.
Incubation and Brooding
The incubation period for turkey is 28 days. The turkey eggs can be naturally or artificially incubated.
Brooding is from 0-4 weeks. Female turkeys can hatch about 10 to 15 eggs.
Poultry houses or structures can be built for the turkey. The structures should be warm, raised and slightly larger than those built for chickens.
Turkey requires food rich in proteins for faster growth and maturity. For a start, you can feed the turkey with starter mash and provide them with plenty of clean drinking water.
After about 10 weeks, feed them with growers mash and necessary minerals and vitamins. You can also supplement with calcium, especially for those raised under the free range system. Calcium prevents lameness and weakness of the legs.
Turkey confined in poultry houses consumes a lot of feeds compared to those under the free range system.
It involves the removal of the snood and is done to prevent head injuries that may arise as a result of fighting. It is best done when the turkey is a day old.
It involves the removal of the beak when the turkey is about 3 weeks old. It is done to control the picking of feathers.
3. Toe clipping
This is done when the turkey is one day old. It entails removing the tip of the toe pad.
Turkeys take 6 months to fully mature especially if they are raised for meat. It also depends on the breed or variety. They can be slaughtered once their pinfeathers have disappeared.
Pests and Diseases
Turkeys are susceptible to diseases and parasites especially those raised under a free-range system. To prevent some of the pests and diseases, it is advisable to regularly deworm and dip them.
Some of the common diseases include;
- Turkey coryza.
- Blue comb.
- Respiratory diseases.
- Fowl pox.
Turkey Market In Kenya
The demand for turkey meat is very high, especially in high-end hotels and restaurants where it is served as a delicacy. One kg of turkey meat can fetch a farmer more than Kshs 500.
Even though there is no proper market for turkeys in Kenya, they can be sold live rather than slaughtering them and selling meat. Prices depend on the age, weight and breed. For example, a 2-month-old turkey costs about Kshs 1,000 locally.