Slate turkey farming is pretty popular in it’s native area and some other parts of the world. It is also known as Lavender and Blue State turkey, and it is raised mainly for meat production purpose. The breed is known for the slate gray color of it’s plumage.
The breed was developed from the United States. But exact origin place of the Slate turkey breed is unknown (and there are speculations on how it was developed).
But there are theories that it is a cross-breed between a Black Norflock and an Eastern Wild turkey. Another theory is that the breed was developed from a cross-breed of a Black turkey and a White turkey (though this is unproven with little genetic evidence).
The Slate turkey was recognized as a breed by the American Poultry Association in the year of 1874. And today, the breed is listed as ‘critically endangered’ by The Livestock Conservancy, and meet the definition of a heritage turkey breed.
However, as it is a meat turkey breed, so starting commercial Slate turkey farming can be a good and profitable business if you can manage everything perfectly. And at the same time you can help this breed to increase it’s total population.
How to Start Slate Turkey Farming
Starting commercial Slate turkey farming business is just like starting a turkey farming business with any other domestic turkey breeds. The Slate turkey birds are very strong and hardy and it’s very easy to raise them.
Here we are trying to describe more information about starting and operating a successful Slate 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 Slate 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 mature birds or day old poults depending on the price and availability in your area. The mature Slate turkey birds are generally sold at very high prices in the market. But the day old poults are much cheaper. So we recommend starting with day old poults.
You can purchase the birds from any of your nearest turkey breeding centers, turkey poult suppliers or any existing Slate turkey farms (if there is any available). You can also consider searching your local online classified websites. Just ensure that the poults are of very good quality and healthy.
Arranging a good and secure housing system for your turkey birds is important. Because a good housing system not only helps the birds to stay healthy, but also helps them to stay free from wild predators and adverse weather conditions.
Generally the turkey birds require a comfortable and clean housing environment. So, you have to ensure all required facilities for your birds inside the house.
You will need to provide them with a good roosting area with a roof. And their roosting area must have to have good protection against predators.
The Slate turkey birds generally do very well in free range system. So allowing your birds to access to fresh pasture will be good. They also require a place to dust bathe and roosting place for flying up into at night.
The Slate turkey birds are classed as a medium to large sized breed. So on average a 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 Slate turkey farming business. Because good quality and nutritious food not only helps the birds to stay healthy, but also helps them to grow better and produce more.
You can feed your turkeys either with commercial poultry feeds or turkey feeds depending on the availability in your area. The turkey birds generally require more protein than chickens. So, you have to ensure adequate amount of protein in their diet.
The food of poults generally should contain at least 28%% protein, and the adult bird’s food should contain at least 20% protein. You can also feed your birds with gamebird starter or chick starter feeds for the first 6 weeks, and then switch to a grower.
Generally the turkey birds reach marketing size within their 6 months of age. And on an average, a tom will require approximately 100 lbs of feed, and a hen will require around 60 lbs of feed for reaching marketing size within 6 months.
Never feed your turkeys with contaminated feeds. And always try to provide them with enough clean and fresh drinking water as per their demand.
The Slate turkeys are good for raising in both confinement and free range system. But raising them in free range system will help them to reduce feeding costs and at the same time it will also help to increase the quality of the products.
Like many other domestic turkey breeds, the Slate turkeys are also naturally very good breeders. They will breed easily and produce fertile eggs for hatching if you keep good ratio of hens and toms in your flock.
Generally one mature and healthy tom is enough for breeding around or up to 8-10 hens.
The Slate turkeys are generally very strong and hardy birds. So, they generally require less caring and other management. Although taking additional caring will help the birds to grow better and produce more.
Monitor your bird’s 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 your birds 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 throughout the world.
So you will probably be able to easily sell your products in the local market. Although you should set your marketing strategies before starting this business.
These are the common ways and steps for staring and operating a successful Slate turkey farming business. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck & may God bless you!