Thinking of growing turkeys for the table

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Thinking of growing turkeys for the table

Postby wcah » Mon May 21, 2012 2:37 pm

Hi all this is my first post on here. I live on a small smallholding and I have been thinking what to do with the land (8 acars) one of my ideas was to possably rear some free range turkeys for the christmas trade. When I was small my dad used to grow them so I know a bit about the general up keep of them and the culling prosses. he used to get day olds, but he never had them living in the feild freerange. Does anyone on here do this and is there a profit to be made?
So im full of questions. What bread of turkey is classed as the best tasting meat? What would the feed costs of them be ish? Would i need a licence or anything to grow them for the table if im culling and dressing myself? ( I would only be looking at around 20 birds). How much area would they need to be freerange cos i gess id have to fence them in? whta height fence would be required? What size shed would they require? Are there any type of days old to be wary of ie do they need vacseens?
Also just a general question if you had 8 acars what and how would you make it profitable? also we both work full time. We have a smallholder number if that makes any differance. We have lived there 3 years and due to renervating the house we havent realy bothered with the land as a proffit making thing, we have just let the land to a local farmer who grazes it and tends to the land and makes hay for us.
Many thanks in advance for your info and i dare say there will be more questions to come thanks once again exsiting times :D P.S sorry for the spelling :oops:
wcah
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Re: Thinking of growing turkeys for the table

Postby AlexArt » Tue May 22, 2012 12:20 pm

If you have a read of Katie Thears turkey book that has a good bit of info in it. As for raising them for sale to the public - you'd need a ton of DEFRA stuff for that as they require you to be trained and facilities for slaughter and processing etc. I doubt you'd make much profit on 20 birds - it may cover your costs of feed/wormer etc but I doubt your time or the outlay on facilities, like anything to do with farming nowadays!! My local seller where I bought turkeys from every year - they had both broad breasted bronze and ordinary bronzes and they raised a few hundred a year for xmas, they gave up last year due to increased feed costs etc and the mad dash to kill/pluck and process all those birds in one or 2 days! - they had a barn that DEFRA had to inspect every year with slaughter facilities and what looked like an industrial kitchen to process them - so a real faff!!

If I were you I'd raise them for your own table and maybe a few for friends - technically then not selling to the public! - and you'd cover your feed costs as well as having a few for your own table for free essentially - except labour costs of course! I did my own turkeys last year as I paid £60 for a peice of tasteless rubber the year before from our local butchers after the nice turkey farm went!! - it was certainly cheaper to rear my own than buying an organic free range one from a shop which can be £100 odd pounds! Feed wise I think I estimated about £45 ish a bird, probably slightly over estimated as it's hard to calculate per bird as I have lots of chooks too!, and that was free range and plain bronze at an age of about 7 months - they just got layers pellets and corn as they live with my chooks so no extra finisher pellets which would have cost a bit more - I also didn't need a huge bird as there are only 3 of us!! - they finished at a dressed weight of about 14.5lbs which was ideal really, and tasted delicious!!!:D
Shed wise they do need a good bit of space to perch - have alook at Katies book as it does go through all the technical stuff and ways of keeping them, fencing etc so well worth a read! They do need to be shut in every night as foxes will eat them so in winter you need to remember it gets dark early which is a pain if you work late.

If I were you to make the most of your 8 acres I'd grow your own fruit veg etc and rear enough meat for your own table and maybe a bit spare to sell to friends to help cover costs - that way you may save a bit compared to supermarket rubbish - that's what I do. Also I have a few turkeys for breeding so sell the extra poults and eggs - when they're not going broody which all of mine are at the mo!! - but again it just covers costs but I do make a few pounds profit sometimes!
I also have rare breed chooks which I breed up each year and sell as adults, my mum and sister take any extra eggs to work and sell them to friends there so helps towards feed - again little bits help but it can be hit and miss with rare breeds. And I've just started rearing some rare breed dual purpose chooks for our own table - I got indian game a few years ago and they take ages to get to a decent weight but I've just found La Bresse and they are huge in comparrison and grow very fast free range so I'm really pleased with them so far!!:D
Pigs are another - again for your own table but will save you a little bit of money and some butchers are happy to trade half a pig for butchering slaughtering etc and give you a bit too so you essentially get a half pig for very little money/free and they can eat any veg leftovers you grow and plow/fertilise your veg patch. There is a smallholders handbook which I can't remember who wrote it - but it's brilliant - been about for ages and well worth buying as it tells you how to make the most of your land.
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Re: Thinking of growing turkeys for the table

Postby wcah » Fri May 25, 2012 11:25 pm

@ AleaxArt. thank you very much for all your info will look for the katie Thears turkey book. Defra sertanaly seems to have spoilt the smallholders with all these rule, regs, and paper work total beauracratic BS. All i found on there website about turkeys was if i have 50 or more i need to be on the poultary registrar couldnt find out about killing and selling birds. I have read alot about your not to keep turkeys on the same land as chickens due to the blackhead decese, hoe do you manage to run them together?
Sound far enough to be self sufficiant with chickens, veg and may be a pig or something and sharing with friends the surplas, though it sounds alot of hard work for very little financial gain ie hour labour wouldnt make it viable more of a mental gain/achevement of knowing where your food comes from. I dont mind that and an looking forward to starting on somthing, just woundererd if there was a way of making money/a living off the land and may be theres not with the cost of feeds going through the roof. Well Im gonna give turkeys a go this year and see what happens. Im going to hatch them if i can decide which breed to go for. Im not looking for a super turkey, just a tasty one, taste is far more important than the size and also one that ok for freeranging, as i belive that the white turkeys are no good for this.many thanks
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Re: Thinking of growing turkeys for the table

Postby Paddy_c20 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:30 am

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Re: Thinking of growing turkeys for the table

Postby Paddy_c20 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:31 am

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Re: Thinking of growing turkeys for the table

Postby wcah » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:58 am

Well i have finaly got round to get some turkeys, 10 wrial blacks, aparentley slow growing traditional bird. Once iv sussed out how to resize photos on my tablet ill post some pics.
Has anyone else got some turkeys for christmas? Please get some pics posted. Any we can share feeding, houseing, care tips for our christmas turkeys
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