Traditionally, we are used to seeing turkeys with black or white plumage in the yard. Of course, there are individuals of brown color. Some breeds of ideas are characterized by a mixed color of the pen with peculiar shades. But a blue breed turkey is rarely found anywhere. Little is known about this bird. In reality, in the vastness of our country, blue turkeys are rarely bred, and then they are considered not thoroughbreds, but mashes. In fact, such a breed of turkeys exists, and it is called “Slate”.
Turkeys are poultry
Turkeys are the largest poultry and are traditionally bred for their meat. Also, turkeys are the best hens. Many housewives leave several individuals for the sake of breeding offspring. The turkey hatches chicks in 26–28 days. Even the eggs of other poultry can be placed under the female, and she will hatch them without any problems.
Now breeders have bred a lot of broiler turkeys. Such males are able to gain weight up to 30 kg. Ordinary turkeys of different breeds weigh from 14 to 18 kg. The female is much lighter. Its weight usually varies from 7 to 9 kg. Growth of females stops after five months. Turkeys grow up to eight months. Further accumulation of body weight in a turkey occurs due to the deposition of fat and muscle mass. The turkey begins to rush at the age of seven months. Eggs are larger than those of a chicken and can weigh from 75 to 100 g. In terms of nutrient content, turkey eggs are healthier than chicken eggs, but they are usually used to breed turkeys. Only culling, not suitable for incubation, goes into cooking.
Important! Turkey egg production is limited. All laid eggs are very valuable for obtaining new offspring.
Despite the existence of various myths about the tenderness of the bird, turkeys are quite hardy and unpretentious in care. Individuals of many breeds have adapted to our harsh climate, they live perfectly in unheated barns. Turkeys love to fly, so many owners cut off their flight feathers on their wings. Alternatively, paddock for turkeys is covered with any net on top.
Feature of the breed of blue turkeys
There is very little information about the purebred blue turkey “Slate” breed. Often there is only a brief description, where the bird is characterized by a gray beak, pink paws and dark brown eyes. Blue turkey feathers should be light in color by standard. There are heterozygous individuals with a darker shade of blue plume. All other blue turkeys with the presence of other differences are considered non-purebred and are culled.
In our country, “Slate” turkeys can only be found in zoos and in private yards, where the owners keep the bird for decoration. For industrial cultivation, blue turkeys are unprofitable due to their low weight: an adult turkey gains a mass of no more than 5 kg, and a female is almost half as much. In fact, blue turkeys of the “Slate” breed in their purebred form are considered decorative.
In some private yards, you can sometimes see turkeys with pale blue plumage. Moreover, there may be different shades of this color. Some individuals grow even to impressive sizes. It should be noted right away that these are all mixers, and turkeys have nothing to do with the “Slate” breed. Is that the color of the pen was taken from a distant purebred ancestor.
Blue mixed breeds in the household are crossed with other breeds of turkeys. Thus, experienced poultry farmers receive egg and meat poultry, adapted to our climate. After crossing, 50% of turkey poults with a blue feather are usually born, and the parental color inherent in a particular breed dominates in the second half of the chicks.
Important! An unpurebred turkey with blue feathers may be interspersed with other colors. Often there are other shades over the entire surface of the plumage.
The video shows a homemade blue turkey:
Slate blue turkey.
Myths and realities related to turkey farming
Many owners are afraid to breed turkeys due to the existing prejudice about the complexity of growing, tenderness of the bird, sickness, etc. It must be said right away that there are many fictional stories, and now we will try to dispel some myths about growing turkeys.
Feeders for small turkeys
There is such a myth that chicks should be fed only from soft feeders. If the turkey hits a hard surface with its beak, it will inevitably disappear. In fact, a non-domesticated turkey lives in trees in nature. Chicks peck at berries, insects, midges, beat a tree with their beak and do not die. For domestic turkeys, plastic feeders are well suited, as long as they are clean, and their hardness does not affect the life of the turkey in any way.
What will happen to the turkey that fell into the water
Some housewives raise a panic, even when the turkey has climbed into the drinker with its paws. According to existing prejudices, he will not live long. The fact is that the safety of turkey poults depends on feeding, the full receipt of vitamins and good maintenance. If the chick lives in a clean, warm place, he can not only enter the water, but also completely bathe in it. The feathers will dry quickly, and nothing will happen to the turkey.
Is it dangerous to turn a turkey on its back?
There is no danger in turning the chick on its back. A well-developed turkey turkey has a developed muscular system, so it must stand on its own without any problems. If the turkey’s independent attempts were unsuccessful, this determines the underdevelopment of the muscles. Such a turkey can be safely culled. Nothing will grow from it, or the chick will simply die over time, but not because it rolled over on its back.
Attention! Weak offspring of turkeys is obtained in case of improper feeding of breeding individuals. You can not make a bird’s diet only with potatoes and grains.
Is it necessary to wet the paws of turkeys with alcohol
The next belief is based on the fact that small turkeys need to wipe their paws with alcohol so that they do not fall on their feet. This next gossip has no basis. The fall of turkeys on their feet is caused by a disease of the musculoskeletal system. This is usually seen with malnutrition, exposure to antibiotics, or simply in chicks from bad parents. Most paw diseases are inherited. It is unacceptable to leave for breeding individuals with any leg defects.
In order for a turkey to eat well, it must be trained.
From the first day of life, a small turkey can easily drink water and eat food when it feels the need for it, and there is no need to train it. If this does not happen, then the chick is weak and sick. There will be no sense from such a turkey. However, it is required to take into account the fact that turkeys have poor eyesight. Installed feeders in a heavily shaded place, the chicks may simply not see. In addition, it is necessary to take care of a sufficient number of feeders, otherwise, due to lack of space, stronger chicks begin to drive away weak turkey poults. In the future, the last chicks will lag behind in development, after which they will die.
Important! It is optimal for turkey poults from the first to twenty days of age to provide about 8 cm of space near the feeder for each head.
Antibiotics: benefit or harm for turkeys
With the advent of a huge variety of antibiotics in veterinary pharmacies, rumors began to spread that without them, turkeys, and, in fact, all broiler poultry, cannot be grown. Here we must take into account that antibiotics kill all bacteria in a living organism: bad and good. In young turkey poults, microorganisms that produce vitamin B are primarily destroyed. It is precisely after drinking with an antibiotic that the curvature of the paws of turkey poults is quite often observed, as well as the occurrence of fungal diseases. Antibiotics should not be given to turkeys to cure viral diseases. The drug will not help with this, it will only lower the immune system.
The use of an antibiotic is justified only in the case of an accurate determination of the type of bacteria that caused a particular disease. Naturally, this will require analysis.
Attention! It is forbidden to use an antibiotic as a prophylactic.
A few tips for caring for turkeys
Sometimes it’s enough just to follow the basic rules of care, and turkeys will grow up healthy. Let’s look at two answers to frequently asked questions about breeding this bird.
There are no restrictions regarding the time of hatching. It could be any time of the year. The main thing is that appropriate feed and a warm room are available. Turkey poults require heating for a month.
Temperature for heating turkeys
One-day-old turkeys are placed in a box. The bottom can be covered with sawdust, hay, but not with a newspaper. On slippery paper, the paws will move apart, which can cause injury to the chick. Any safe source of heat is allowed for heating turkey poults, and it is placed not in the center of the box, but on the side. This makes it possible for the turkey poults to choose a site with a comfortable temperature. The first fortnight it is necessary to provide round-the-clock coverage.
The first week of life of the chicks should be held in a room with a temperature of +28оC. Near the heating source, the temperature is allowed no more than +33оC. Starting from the second week, they try to gradually reduce the temperature so that on the 21st day of the chicks’ life, the temperature in the room is about +22оC. Further, the heating is turned off, and the turkeys live at a temperature not lower than +18оC.
The video talks about growing turkeys:
Subject to all the rules for growing turkeys, turkeys can be slaughtered at the age of four months. It is desirable to fatten turkeys up to 9 months.