The domestic turkey is a large fowl. And they are very easy and stress free to rear compared to broilers. In addition to their advantage they grow very fast (faster than broilers) and gain pounds of weight. This has made turkey farming a very lucrative business in Nigeria, infact it’s one of the most profitable poultry farm business after layers birds farming business. So, if you’re seeking for a full guide on how to start up a profitable turkey farming business in Nigeria you just found one.
Nigeria imports large tonnes of frozen turkeys from the capital of Benin republic (cotonou). Not until the federal government of Nigeria placed a ban on the act. Not only that the ban ensured saftey measures, but it has blown open turkey farming business in Nigeria, which has encouraged agro farmers (entrepreneurs) to indulge in turkey farming business.
TYPES OF DOMESTIC TURKEY BREEDS
To start up a profitable turkey farming business in Nigeria, it’s advised to choose a breed suitable to you (whether breeds for meat or for eggs). Well, all turkey breeds are fast growers and gains alot of weight, especially the male ones (gobblers or toms). So, let’s know the types of turkey breeds.
1. BELTSVILLE SMALL WHITE
During the 1930s, the Beltsville small white turkey breed was developed and since then has become a great breed of bountiful egg laying turkeys. The hens set and hatch well. They make a good table bird, with a larger breast than the Midget Whites.
2. BLACK TURKEY
Black turkey is a popular domestic turkey breed. It was domesticated from Mexican wild turkeys brought back to Europe by the first Spanish explorers who visited the USA. Black turkeys have been around since the 1500s and their plumage is black. This breed is available in many European nations.
3. BLUE SLATE TURKEY
This breads are beautiful with a color somewhere between white and black. They also called Lavender turkeys. A matured blue slate hen can weigh around 14 -16 while a gobbler (male) can weigh 23 pounds.
4. BOURBON RED TURKEY
This breeds of turkey are very beautiful and attractive because of their beautiful red plumage. They are best known for their full flavoured delicious meat. are considered as one of the best tasting heritage turkey breeds. This breed originated in the 1800s in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Depending on sex, a bourbon red hen can weigh around 12-14 pounds, and a matured gobbler can weigh between 23 pounds.
5. BROAD BREASTED WHITES
This breeds are very popular and raised commercially in farms. They are available in almost all the county around the globe.
They have maximum conversion ratio of feed to meat in shortest possible time (like broiler chicken breeds) and very suitable for commercial turkey farming business.
6. MIDGET WHITE TURKEY
This breed was developed in the 1960s by researchers at the university of massachusetts. It’s a cross between the Royal Palm and the Broad Breasted Whites. They are calm and have a good disposition but are a smaller breed. A matured midget White hen weighs 8-12 pounds while the gobbler weighs about 16-20 pounds.
7. BRONZE TURKEY
The Standard Bronze breed is the most popular heritage breed because of their size. They have also been the most popular turkey breeds in American history. Bronzes were originally a cross between the native wild turkeys (discovered by Europeans)
On an average, an adult hen weighs about 16 pounds and a gobbler can weigh about 25 pounds.
8. ROYAL PALM TURKEY
This breeds looks striking beautiful, infact they were bred for their good looks. They have white and black plumage. They were not bred for commercial purposes because they are smaller in size than other turkey heritage varieties. They were bred to enhance the beauty of homes and farms.
They are suitable for meat production for family consumption purpose.
and they can control insects well and are also good flyers. Royal Palm hens weigh about 10 pounds and gobblers weigh about 16 pounds
9. NARRAGANSETT TURKEY
This breeds originally originated from Rhode Island. They were the staple of the New England turkey scene before factory farmed turkeys became the norm. On an average, mature Narragansett hens weighs about 18 pounds and gobblers weigh about 30 pounds
10. WHITE HOLLAND TURKEY
This breeds were bred in Holland. This turkey breed migrated to the USA with early settlers to the country. And they were popular as meat bird in the 1800s. White Holland turkeys are calm in nature and good setters and mothers. But they sometimes break their eggs because the hens are so heavy. A mature White Holland hen can weight up to 20 pounds and a mature tom can weigh up to 30 pounds.
TURKEY BREEDS FOR MEAT.
If you’re seeking for turkey breeds for meat purpose which I’m very sure will be good for business, then the standard bronze breed should be your choice.
Standard bronze turkey is the largest heritage breed. This breed, on average, will weigh between 16 to 25 pounds.
TURKEY BREEDS FOR EGGS
Many turkey farmers have found that Beltsville Whites breeds are great egg layers. The Bronze and Jersey Buff turkeys are another good egg laying option as well.
WHY IS TURKEY FARMING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA SO LUCRATIVE AND PROFITABLE?
- Turkeys grows fast (faster than broilers) and gains more pounds of weight within 6 weeks especially the males if fed well. This is one of it’s outstanding features which is also good for a successful business.
- Turkeys has a stronger immune system, they are naturally resistant to diseases and parasites and can adapt to local conditions and harsh weather conditions too.
- The choice of white meat over red meat makes the demand for broiler birds and other poultry products a choice of business for many people.
- Turkeys are large domestic birds. They grow fast with pounds of weight. A well matured male turkey (known to have the highest weight) can be sold around ₦12,000 – ₦15,000 which is a good money. Imagine when you have a herd of turkeys.
- The initial starting capital is low. With as low as ₦50,000 you can purchase 5 cartons of poults (turkey chicks) which contains 40 poults Inside.
DOWNSIDE OF TURKEY FARMING BUSINESS.
While we look at the profitability features of turkey farming. It’s important we also know the downside of turkey business in Nigeria.
- They eat alot: Larger bird equals more feed. For an average gobbler or tom, (male turkey) you will feed him approximately 100 pounds of feed, and for a hen, 60 pounds. Turkeys also need to be fed a higher protein feed to get them to table weight.
- Disease outbreak: The poultry farm may experience disease outbreak. If the disease is not controlled quickly it may be disastrous. Although turkeys are known for their nature of disease resistance. But that does not mean they won’t get hit of there is a severe disease outbreak. Ensure to vaccinate your birds and always keep poultry farm clean.
TURKEY POULTRY FARM CONSTRUCTION
Turkey poults (baby turkey) are brooded in a small house with a heater installed for about two weeks, to keep them warm. Heaters such as electric bulb, charcoal burner, or gas. After two week of brooding, you can transfer the turkeys birds to a spacious room, where they will stay permanently.
Use the deep litter system, because turkeys are large birds and they need space because of their height and weight. I don’t recommend battery cage system because they won’t feel comfortable in there. Turkeys loves space. They love roaming about freely.
Build a house for your turkey birds. A half plot of land will do just fine. You can start up the poultry farm at your backyard if you want to start on a low scale.
Fill in the poultry farm with sawdust and the turkeys can move around freely within the enclosure.
You can start your turkey farming business with one or two carton of day old turkeys (poults), if the business is well managed before the end of the year, you’ll get upto 900-1000 turkeys.
Note: Ensure to regularly clean up the poultry farm, by changing to sawdust for a fresh one to keep the turkeys safe from disease. This will go along way to prevent the birds from picking up dirts which can get them infected, causing infection and diseases.
And also ensure to build a spacious poultry farm for your turkeys. They love to roam about freely.
FEEDING & DRINKING
To ensure a profitable turkey farming business in Nigeria you need to devote time and energy to ensure your turkeys are well fed and taken care of.
Ensure to feed your turkey with feeds that have at least 20 percent protein (higher than that required for chickens). To ensure more protein intack, you can mix your turkey feeds with Granulated eggshells and fish (dry fish).Turkeys typically grow to slaughter size within six months. For an average gobbler, you will feed him approximately 100 pounds of feed, and for a hen, 60 pounds.
Note: Ensure the egg shells and dry fish are granulated to powder before mixing into their feed.
Also feed them with grains. Infact grains are one of the best diet for turkeys. Grains such as soybeans, millet, rice, corn, wheat (recommended), sorghum.
Note: Only 6-12 weeks old turkeys are eligible to eat grains. 1-6 weeks old turkeys should continue with their starter feed.
Their isn’t any specific feed for turkeys, they eat broiler feeds. Hybrid and vital feeds are known to be the best feed producing company in Nigeria. Their feed are rich in nutrients and vitamins. To ensure your feed is rich in protein mix it with granulated (powdered) eggshells and dry fish.
For day old baby poults feed them with starter for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, start feeding them with grower feed. After 12 weeks of age, change the feed to finisher. Keep the turkeys on this feed until market weight is achieved.
AGE OF TURKEY FEED TYPE
- Starter’s feed (0-6 weeks old)
- Grower’s feed (6-12 weeks old)
- Finisher feed.
Ensure enough water is always available for the turkeys in the poultry farm. Just like the broiler birds, turkeys drinks water alot. Always make sure there is water in their drinkers and ensure to always monitor the water level to get it refilled when finished. Don’t ever starve your turkeys of water, to avoid dehydration and possibly death.
FEEDING & DRINKING EQUIPMENTS
Purchase feeding and drinker equipments for your turkeys such as feeders and drinkers.
About 5-10 feeders and drinkers will be ok for 50 turkeys. You can purchase more if you want. The higher amount of turkey birds the more feeding and drinking equipments should be provided. To avoid the birds struggling to drink water and and eat food.
RISK INVOLVED IN POULTRY FARMING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA
- Ensure to secure your poultry farm from predators attacks, such as snakes and monitor lizards. Snakes and monitor lizard are the biggest threat to poultry birds. Monitor lizards and snakes feasts on the poultry eggs. Snakes can also feast on your birds too. An article I wrote on how to keep snakes off your homes. I explained how to protect your farm from snakes.
- Ensure to always keep your poultry farm doors shut all the time.
- Protect your birds farm by wrapping the entire cage in hardware cloth (including the floor). Make sure no large space or spot is left out.
- Seal up holes and openings around your poultry farm to avoid easy entrance of snakes, monitor lizards, etc.
- You can also grow snake repellent plants around your farms and around the house to keep snakes off.
- Soldier ants and rodents can also be a threat to your poultry farm. You can read How to get rid of soldier ants effectively.
- Unhygienic poultry can lead to disease breakouts which can get the turkey birds infected and possibly cause massive death if not taken care off.
Ensure to clean your poultry farm on regular basis.
Impoper feeding and also feeding your birds with less nourished feeds can make your turkey birds look malnourished and unhealthy. Ensure to feed your birds well with well nourished feed rich in protein.
ESTIMATED BUDGET FOR STARTING UP A PROFITABLE TURKEY FARMING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA.
To ensure a profitable turkey farming business in Nigeria you have to set a business plan with budget best suitable to you. Here i will detail out an estimated budget for starting up turkey farming business.
Price of day old turkeys (baby poults) cost: ₦500. You can Start with 50 turkey poults 50×500 = ₦25,000.
Hybrid Feed Brand
A bag of pre-starter feed costs: ₦3,000 – ₦4,000
A bag of starter feed costs: ₦3,500 – ₦4,000
A bag of finisher feed costs: ₦3,500 – ₦4,000
Drinkers cost: ₦500 – ₦700
Feeder cost: ₦700 – ₦800
Baby poults are vaccinated after hatch to protects the from diseases that may cause massive death.
Farmers who grow turkeys can profit from the sale of matured turkeys and eggs especially during festive periods, such as Christmas, Easter, New year celebration and Muslim feasts.
The turkey meat can be delivered in bulk to shops or sold on the market in whole or cut in pieces. One kg of frozen turkey costs ₦2,100 – ₦2,200. Live adult turkey price in Nigeria is ₦12,000 – ₦15,000. Sometimes it’s sold ₦,17,000 – ₦18,000 (mostly males) it’s all depends on your location. The price normally rises during festive periods.
As a turkey farmer you can deliver your turkeys to restaurants and other catering establishments.
Turkeys are very sensitive to their offspring. They try to incubate their eggs themselves and take care of the poults carefully. Therefore, if economic opportunities do not allow you to purchase an incubator, do not be upset. The main thing is to form a herd at the beginning, majority of farmers use females to hatch eggs.
When the business starts to bring a good profit, you can purchase an incubator and start producing young poults for sale.
A female turkey (hen) can lay up to 100 eggs per year, and will lay between 2 and 3 eggs a week and will lay between 10-12 eggs in about two weeks That’s why it’s important to feed them with feed highly rich in protein and nutrients to enhance the size and fertility value of their eggs.
To start a profitable turkey farming business in Nigeria you have to set out a business plan. Start with a budget best suitable to you. If you wish to start on a low scale, fine. Turkey farming business is very lucrative, your farm will surely grow with lots of profits if well managed.
Ensure to feed your birds well, also ensure water is always available in their drinkers. Vaccinate them and protect your farm from predators and theives.