Turkeys are raised in large climate-controlled barns that are equipped with drip water lines and feed dispensers. Birds have free access to feed and water 24 hours a day and turkeys are able to eat and drink as much as they need. The water is clean, safe, and free from contaminants and often from a well of other groundwater source.
Turkeys are omnivores, which means that they eat both plant and animal food sources. Turkeys are fed a balanced diet consisting of corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and canola. There may be a small amount of animal protein, like meat and bone meal, in the feed which ensures that there is enough protein, calories, minerals and fat to meet a turkey’s nutritional requirements.
Young turkeys (poults) are fed a “starter” mixture and as they grow, the feed is changed to meet nutritional requirements. Each type of feed includes the proper balance of protein, energy, fibre, fat and other elements such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamins.
DYK: Turkeys are NOT given hormones or steroids in Canada. These have been prohibited for over 30 years. Scientific advancements like selective breeding, better feed formulation and on-farm management practices are responsible for the larger, healthier turkeys raised today.
Should I be concerned about antibiotics in my food?
Turkey farmers work closely with veterinarians to ensure medications are used responsibly. Appropriate use of medication, including antimicrobials, is a critical requirement of the mandatory TFC On-Farm Food Safety Program.
In Canada, food is tested for antibiotics to ensure it is safe to eat. Canada follows strict regulations regarding withdrawal periods which is the amount of time between when an animal is last treated with antibiotics and when it is ready to be marketed. This ensures that the animal is free of antibiotic residue before any product from the animal is sold as food.