How to guide for Turkey Raring in Uganda
Turkey occupies an important position next to chicken, duck. Guinea fowl and quail in contributing the most evolving sector, which is playing a significant role in
augmenting the economic and nutritional status of varied population.
They form almost two percent of the total poultry population. They are reared for meat only and its meat is
the leanest among other domestic avian species.
Only about 1 out of every 100 households in Uganda (1.3%) owned turkeys as of 2008.
Regional analysis shows that in the Eastern region 3.5% of the households owned turkeys,
while in the Western region only 0.4% of the households owned turkeys.
Turkey and the world: Turkey farming is very popular in western countries and the major turkey
producing countries are United States of America, Canada, Germany, France, Italy,
Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The Annual per capita consumption of turkey meat
in the above said countries ranges from 4-8 kg per year. Turkey population touched 259
millions in 1992(Singh, 1996). The estimated world turkey meat production in 2004 is
4.94 million tones.
History and thanksgiving holiday: Turkey (Meleagris Gallopavo) is a large gallinaceous bird of the family
Meleagridae that is native of North America, domesticated in Europe and are now
important source of food in many parts of the world. Columbus took specimens to Spain
in 1948. Reports on turkey were there in Germany in 1530 and in England by 1541.
The first president of the United States of America, George Washington, issued a general
proclamation in1789 to celebrate “thanksgiving” on November 26. In 1893 President
Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November a national thanksgiving holiday. Later
it was changed to the fourth Thursday of November. However, turkey is synonymous
About Commercial Turkey Farming in Uganda
Before Sabena Airlines went out of business in 2002, (to become SN Brussels) commercial turkey farming in Uganda
and neighbouring countries was growing slowly but steadily.
Most of the exotic stock was being imported from Agriconcern, a Belgium based turkey breeding company.
Unlike other poultry birds, the demand for turkeys was seasonal, mainly during festive days and the
importation had to be done on individual basis.
Sabena Airlines going out of business had a drastic effect on turkey importers in Uganda
since most were getting thier stock from Brussels.
The national turkey number for Uganda in 2008 was estimated to be 0.35 million as of 2008.
Regionally, the Eastern Region had the highest number of turkeys estimated to be 0.24 million (68.3%), while the
Karamoja sub-region had the least number of turkeys estimated to be 11,800 (3.4%).
Amongst the turkey-owning households; a typical household in Uganda owns on average four (4) turkeys.
In terms of region; a typical household amongst the turkey-owning households in Karamoja sub-region
had the highest average turkey flock size estimated to be seven (7) turkeys, while a typical household
amongst the turkey-owning households in Central region had the least average turkey flock size estimated to be
four (4) turkeys.
Common Turkey Breeds
Turkeys are not classified into breeds, however seven standard varieties are
available, Bronze, White Holland, Bourbon red, Narragansett, Black, Slate, Beltsville
Board breasted bronze: The basic plumage color is black and not bronze. The females have black breast
feathers with white tips, which help in sex determination as early as 12 weeks of age.
Board breasted white: This is a cross between Board breasted bronze and White Holland with white
feathers. This variety was developed at the Cornell University. White plumage turkeys
seems to be suitable Indian-Agro climatic conditions as they have better heat tolerance
and also good and clean in appearance after dressing.
Beltsville small white: This variety was developed at Agricultural University Research Station,
Beltsville, USA. It closely resembles the Board breasted white in color and shape but
smaller in size. Egg production, fertility and hatchability tend to be higher and broodiness
tends to be lower than heavy varieties.
Other Breeds of turkeys in the World: The Industry is dominated by three breeding companies offering 4 parental heavy type
breeds (Big six, Hybrid large white, Nicholar 900 & 700) and 5 medium heavy types (BUT-8, BUT-9, Big-9, hybrid super medium & Nicolas 300).
In addition to Poland the regional breeders have introduced two medium varieties, Benkova and Jancowski in
1995. In Europe, medium type turkeys available are, Gaubin(France), and Kvama(Poland).
Useful Terminologies in Turkey FarmingTom
: Adult male turkeyHem
: Adult female turkeyPoult
: Young one of turkeySnood or Dew bill
: The fleshy protuberance near the base of the beckCaruncles
: The fleshy protuberance on the head and neck usually pink or red in color which appear from about 5th week of ageDewlap
: A large flap skin seen immediately below the chimBread
: A tuft of hair attached to the skin of the upper chest regionStrut
: Mating behavior of male turkeyShooting the red (Similar to an ulcer)
: The development of caruncles and this is supposed to indicate the most difficult time in the life of young turkey Debeaking
: Poults should be debeaked to control feather picking and cannibalism. Debeaking
can be done at day old or 3-5 weeks of age. Remove the beak at about one half the
distance from nostril to the tip of the beak.Desnooding
: Removal of the snood or dewbill is to prevent the head injuries from picking and
fighting. At the day old the snood can be removed by shumbnail or finger pressure. At 3
weeks of age it can be cut off close to the head with sharp scissors.Detoeing or toe clipping
: Clipping is done at day old by removing the tip of the toe just to the inside of the
outer most toe pad including the entire toenail.
Nutritional Benefits you get from Turkey Products
Turkey egg: The turkey will start lay from the 30th week of age and its production period is 24
weeks from the point of lay. Under proper feeding and artificial lightening management
turkey hens lay as much as 60-100 eggs annually. Nearly 70 percent of the eggs will be
laid in the afternoon. The turkey eggs are tinted and weigh about 85 gms. Egg is
noticeably pointed at one end with strong shell. The protein, lipid carbohydrate and
mineral content of turkey egg are 13.1%, 11.8%,1.7% and 0.8% respectively. The
cholesterol is 15.67-23.97 mg/gm of yolk.
Turkey meat: Turkey meat has nutritional and sensorial properties which make it almost ideal
raw material for rational and curative nutrition. People prefer turkey meat because of its
leanest nature. The protein, fat, energy value of turkey meat are 24%,6.6%, 162 Calories
per 100 gm of meat. Mineral like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium, zinc
and sodium are present. It is also rich in essential amino acids and vitamins like niacin,
vitamin B6 and B12. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and essential fatty acids and low