Breeding Turkeys

Successfully breeding turkeys is all about following the science — or at least, the instinctive breeding practices of the birds. First thing you have to know is that turkeys reach sexual maturity at 7 months and must be mated immediately to produce batches of fertilized eggs. Unlike chicken egg production, breeding turkeys is riskier since unfertilized turkey eggs are considered unmarketable and are therefore destroyed immediately. (There is no market for such eggs and are usually considered very low in nutritional value.)

For small farms, a breeding tom can be mated with as many as 10 hens. However, to ensure that there are large volumes of fertilized eggs, alternating 2 toms during the entire breeding cycle is the norm.

The health of the female turkeys should also be considered when breeding turkeys. The birds should be outfitted with canvas saddles to protect their backs from overeager males. Clipping the toms’ toenails also ensures that the female remain healthy as the fertilized eggs develop within a 25 week cycle. As a rule, hens normally lay between 88 and 93 eggs each. Some hens are slaughtered for meat afterwards, but you can also try molting the hen — or give the hen a certain resting period of about 90 days or 3 months — so that it can be mated once more. The second laying cycle usually yields lesser number of eggs (70 to 80 fertilized eggs,) but this can still be considered as profitable.

Lastly, all bird species need nests in order to lay eggs. The use of community nests of at least 0.5 meters wide and 0.5 meters deep for 5 hens should be enough to keep the eggs safe.