Turkeys are constantly looking for reasons to die

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Turkey is perhaps the most debatable, capricious and unpredictable species in poultry production. For historical and market reasons there has been much less investment made in turkey research compared to chickens, until recently. As a result: there is still, for instance, no optimal choice of equipment for various production systems. And some economically important diseases are not completely understood, and effective prevention or treatment has not been developed yet.

A relatively small group of professionals works hard to compensate this lack of knowledge. They often say: ‘turkey is that type of a bird, which is constantly looking for reasons to die.’ Unfortunately, this is often the case: one day the flock looks good and happy and you seems to be in control of the situation, but the next day it surprises you with an unexpected problem. All this, coupled with the lack of comprehensive management guides, makes the life of a turkey farmer very hard at times.

Turkey is not a big chicken – it has fundamental differences, which influence literally every management aspect. If you have experience with poultry farming and you think you can easily switch from broilers to turkeys – this is a dangerous delusion – forget it and start from a scratch! You’ll be surprised how different these species are, how much more attention and care turkeys require, and how stress susceptible and unpredictable they can be.

This is why Turkey Signals is of such importance. The book, website and possible other ways of conveying knowledge all follow the approach ‘look-think-act’. This allows you to better understand this unusual bird, optimize its management based on early recognition of odd behavior or early signals of disease, thereby improving the welfare, performance of the flock and financial results of the farm.

Edward Mailyan

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