For the last couple of months I’ve been managing one of the three turkey groups here at Polyface. I have approximately 300 turkeys in my group. It has been a pleasure taking care of the turkeys as they are funny, quirky little creatures.
At Polyface, we brood the turkeys with our broilers. At three weeks, they all go into broiler pens together and get moved to fresh pasture every day. At seven weeks, we take the turkeys out of the broiler pens and put them in feathernet enclosures with a gobbledygo for shade and roosting.
Currently, the turkeys I am managing are enclosed in three nets so they have plenty of space. The number of nets is dictated by how big the turkeys are and the number of turkeys in the group. Turkeys are moved every other day. On the days when turkeys don’t get moved, chores involve feeding, checking water, grit and spark.
We process turkeys when they are 16 or 17 weeks old. Processing turkeys is very similar to processing chickens except they are much bigger. Also, we cut the turkey’s feet off before we put them in the scalder and picker so that they are less likely to get caught up/stuck in the mechanisms. In my experience, it has been a fun change of pace to process turkeys.