Turkey farmers raised turkeys from 1-day old poults to 16-week-old turkeys that are ready for processing. Turkey farmers adhere to the rules of biosecurity for their barns and farms. Farmers need to change their shoes and put on coveralls to cover their clothes. Doing this will minimize the risk of bringing outside germs into the barn, which can make the turkeys sick.
Turkeys need different environments depending on their age, which is why some farms have more than one barn on their farm.
A poult is what you call a young turkey, and they are raised in large, climate-controlled brooder barns that provide protection from predators, disease and the elements.
Male turkeys are called toms and female turkeys are called hens. Toms are typically raised for items such as cold cuts for sandwiches, ground turkey, turkey rolls, and other ready to eat turkey products. Female turkeys are usually sold as whole turkeys.
Cycle of Turkey Production
Turkey breeder farms, which are operated by turkey hatching egg farmers, specialize in raising female (hens) and male (toms) birds. These hens and toms are bred to produce fertilized eggs, that are sold to turkey hatcheries for incubation.
Hatchery: At the hatchery, the eggs are placed in incubators where they are kept warm and automatically turned at regular intervals. The eggs hatch after 25 days (about 3 and a half weeks).
Delivered to Farms: Once hatched, the poults are delivered to the farm from the hatchery the same day as ‘day-old’ poults. It’s at this step that the farmer places poults in the clean barn with fresh bedding.
Grow and Mature: Now the poults grown and mature. They live in large, climate-controlled barns where they roam freely around the barn with access to food & water 24/7.
Transport: Once fully mature, the turkeys are transported to the plant for processing. Transporting turkeys is highly regulated and done with much care to prevent stressing the turkeys.
Delivery: After being processed at the plant, processors deliver all our favourite types of turkey to grocery stores and restaurants.
It all starts with production planning: turkey farmer organizations meet to determine how much turkey will be needed in the Canadian market during a specific time and then they plan how many turkeys need to be raised to meet that demand. This system is called supply management.
Codes of Practice:
Farmers take raising animals seriously and want to do as good a job as possible. They recognize that healthy, content animals result in productive, high quality and safe food for Canadians. Following the Codes of Practice helps them do just that.
At the core of all farm animal care programs in Canada are the Codes of Practice: research-based guidelines that outline the standards for the care and handling of farm animals. The Codes are meant to ensure animals are managed appropriately, receive quality care and humane treatment and experience positive welfare throughout their lives.
The Codes of Practice are:
Educational tools for farmers and ranchers to assist them with managing their animals better.
A point of reference for regulations and laws to help government and regulators determine when animals are not being cared for properly.
A basis for animal welfare assessment programs to make sure animal welfare standards are being followed.
An outline of the MINIMUM standards of care for each animal species.