REARING TURKEYS AND BROILERS TOGETHER – WHAT you need to know
It is a common practice to see farmers raise Turkey poults with broiler chicks in the same brooding space or pen.
The general assertion is that Turkey poults will need broiler chicks for guidance towards seeking feed and water effectively.
Put directly, the myth is that Turkeys raised on their own do not know how to feed, and hence will require the aid and leadership of the broilers to feed adequately.
This is so because Turkeys require very bright lightning for clear visibility since their vision at hatch is not at its best.
This misconception has held sway to the extent it is considered standard procedure amongst small farm holders.
I do not consider as appropriate the practice of brooding chicks with poults. The undermentioned justifications are my rationale for taking exception.
1. AGILITY: It is a fact that Turkey poults are frail, tender, keeping to themselves, and less frantic than broiler chicks.
During the early days of their lives, Turkeys do not approach feed or water frantically.
Some farmers put their beaks in water and feed particles to aid consumption.
Broiler chicks may tend to be bossy over the poults, and hence distract and discriminate against all forms of resources.
NUTRITION: The nutritional requirements of Turkeys outstandingly differ from that of broilers. While Turkey poults require a crude protein of up to 30%, broilers will thrive well on a crude protein of 20%.
Turkeys require calcium concentrations that far exceed that of broilers.
BROODING REQUIREMENTS: The ambient temperature required for poults is significantly higher than that which chicks need for comfort.
Providing the required heat for broilers may cause chills for Turkeys. Similarly, making Turkeys comfortable may cause thermal stress to chicks.
While Turkeys are expected to stay in brooding for 6 weeks, broilers must have attained table size at that age.
CROSS-INFECTIVITY: Turkeys are highly susceptible to blackhead disease. It is less severe in chickens. While chickens are typically asymptomatic carriers, Turkeys could experience mortality that reaches up to 80%.
As I sum up, I must state that while it is every farmer’s prerogative to raise turkey poults and broiler chicks together. It is not the rule but the exception.