Narragansett turkey farming is popular for meat production. And the breed is also raised as ornamental birds. They are very beautiful, strong and hardy birds. And they are generally raised for meat production purpose, but some people also raise them for ornamental purpose or as a hobby.
The Narragansett is actually a breed of Meleagris Gallopavo, and was developed from the United States. It was developed from a cross between the eastern wild turkey and the domestic turkey. It is a ‘historic variety’ unique to North America and the the breed is named for Narragansett Bay.
The Narragansett turkey became the foundation of the turkey industry in New England and was especially important in Rhode Island and Connecticut. It was also popular in the Mid-Atlantic States and the Midwest. The breed was recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1874.
Popularity of the Bronze turkey grew even more in the early 20th Century. And the Narragansett turkey soon became a rarity. And it was not commercially raised for many decades, until the early 21st Century.
Today, the Narragansett turkey is raised mainly for meat production. So, commercial Narragansett turkey farming can be a good business if you can manage everything perfectly.
How to Start Narragansett Turkey Farming
Starting commercial Narragansett turkey farming is just like starting a turkey farming business with any other turkey breeds. The Narragansett turkeys are very strong and hardy birds. Here we are trying to describe more information about starting and operating a successful Narragansett turkey farming business from purchasing birds to caring and marketing.
First of all, you have to purchase very good quality, healthy and active birds for starting your Narragansett turkey farming business. Purchasing good quality birds is very important, because good quality birds always ensure good production and maximum profits.
You can purchase either day old poults or mature birds depending on the price and availability in your area. The day old poults are cheaper, but the mature birds are generally sold at very high prices in the market. So, we recommend starting with day old poults.
The Narragansett turkeys are common and available in many areas around the world. You can purchase the poults from any of your nearest poultry breeding centers, turkey poult suppliers or any existing Narragansett turkey farms (if there are any in your area). You can also search your local online classified websites. Just ensure that the birds are strong, active and disease free.
Arranging good housing facilities is very important for Narragansett turkey farming business. Because a good house not only helps the birds to stay healthy, but also helps them to stay free from all types of wild predators and adverse weather conditions. So ensure good housing facilities for your birds.
The type of the house can be any depending on the availability of materials and also on your total budget. The house can be of full concrete setup or you can build the house with low cost and easily available materials such as bamboo or wood. Just ensure that the house is comfortable and secure for your birds.
Like many other turkey breeds, the Narragansett turkeys also require a clean environment and comfortable housing system. So, ensure all the required facilities are available inside the house. You will also need to provide the birds with a good roosting area with a roof. And the roosting area must have to have good protection against predators.
It will be better if you can allow your birds to access fresh pasture. The turkey birds also require a place to dust bathe and a roosting place for flying up into at night. The Narragansett turkeys are medium to large sized birds, and each mature bird will require around or up to 10-12 square feet of housing space.
Feeding the birds with very good quality, healthy and nutritious food is the most important part of Narragansett turkey farming business. Because good food not only helps the birds to grow better, but also helps them to stay healthy and produce more.
You can feed your birds either with commercial poultry feeds or turkey feeds depending on the availability in your area. The turkey birds generally require more protein than the chickens. So, ensure availability of adequate amount of protein in their food.
The starter feed of turkey poults generally contain around 28% protein, and the mature bird’s food should contain at least 20% protein. You can use either gamebird starter or chick starter feeds for feeding your poults for the first 6 weeks. And then gradually switch to a grower after 6 weeks.
Generally the turkey birds reach marketing size wither their 6 months of age (depends of the variety). And on average a hen will require approximately 60 lbs of food, and a tom will require around 100 lbs of food for reaching marketing size within 6 months.
The Narragansett turkeys are good for raising in both confinement and free range system. But they generally do very well in free range system. And allowing your birds to roam freely will help you to reduce feeding costs, and at the same time the birds will produce better quality products.
Always try to provide your bids with enough clean and fresh drinking water as per their demand. And never feed them with contaminated feeds or polluted water.
Like many other domestic turkey breeds, the Narragansett turkeys are naturally very good breeders. They will breed easily and produce fertile eggs for hatching if you keep good ratio of toms and hens in your flock. Generally, one healthy and mature tom is enough for breeding around or up to 8-10 hens.
The Narragansett turkeys are very strong and hardy birds. They have excellent temperament and calm disposition. They are known for their early maturation, and the hens have very good maternal abilities. They are excellent foragers and they can be raised with little supplemental feeds.
So, they generally require less caring and other management. Although taking additional caring will help the birds to grow better and produce more. Monitor their health on a regular basis for any signs of diseases or illness and take necessary steps as soon as possible if you notice anything uncommon. Vaccinate them timely and always try to keep good contact with a vet in your area.
Marketing turkey products is not a problem. Because turkey meat has very good demand and value in the market. But if you want to sell ornamental birds, then determine the market demand before starting this business.
These are the common steps and ways for starting and operating a successful Narragansett turkey farming business. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck & may God bless you!