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Let’s Talk Turkey!. Free-Range Turkey Production & Marketing. Herman Beck-Chenoweth Hartshorn, Missouri © 2005. Take good notes or see Back40Books for the Production Manual & Video. Overview of a typical turkey range. Fundamentals of Free-Range Turkey Production.

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Free range turkey production marketing l.jpg

Free-Range Turkey Production&Marketing

Herman Beck-Chenoweth

Hartshorn, Missouri

© 2005


Take good notes or see back40books for the production manual video l.jpg
Take good notes or see Back40Books for the Production Manual & Video



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Fundamentals of Free-RangeTurkey Production

  • For breeds such as the Broad Breasted Bronze order your birds for Memorial Day delivery.

  • Turkeys do not develop fat under the skin until 24 weeks. Harvested too early they are dry and tasteless.


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Fundamentals of Range TurkeyProduction

  • Maximum stocking rate is 100 birds per acre.

  • Keep Skid Roosts at least 100’ away from fence rows.

  • Use four electric wires on step-in posts for predator protection. Buy a powerful fencer.

  • Sassafras roost help control fowl mites




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Brooding Poults Days

  • Feed new poults un-medicated 30% game bird starter for the 1st 4 weeks; feeding 18-24% feed will lead to possible cannibalism.

  • A plastic wading pool will hold 100 poults for the first week.

  • A 14 x 14 brooder room will hold 100 birds until they are ready to move out to range in 8 weeks.

  • Poults do not develop disease resistance until 8 weeks old.



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Free-Range Turkey Basics Breeding Pen

  • Know the market before you select your breed.

  • Learn about the importance of STRAIN

  • Deal with a hatchery that will verify the birds you receive will be the strain you select!

  • Learn how long the grow-out time is for your turkey type.


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Free-Range Essentials Breeding Pen

  • Maintain at least 150’ between skid houses and perimeter fencing to minimize predator problems.

  • Keep skids 100’ apart to maintain flock separation.

  • Move skids ahead 50’ to fresh range as necessary,

    usually every 2-4 weeks, or anytime an area 3’ or larger around skids is worn down.

    Expect the birds to range about 40’ from each skid.


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Potential Free-Range Profits Breeding Pen

  • Chickens sold at $2.49 per pound will net $5.00 per bird net profit. Many producers get $3-3.50 #

  • Eggs sell for $2.00 - $3.50 per dozen netting $1.00 to $2.50 per dozen profit

  • Turkeys sold at $2.49/pound produce a net profit of $30-$40 per bird; turkey eggs bring $3-$4 per dozen

  • These are bottom end prices in today’s marketplace !



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An Important Note! Breeding Pen

  • Do an enterprise budget before you commit to turkey production.

  • Remember, near the end of it’s growing period a turkey can eat up to a pound of feed per day.


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Over view of Typical Breeding Pen Turkey Paddock




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Suggested Feed Formula their food needs


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The Debate about their food needsMeat & Bone Meal

  • Studies affirm the importance of meat and bone meal in the diet of poultry

  • There is NO danger of transmitting “Mad Cow”

  • Helps build strong bones (legs)

  • Costs $195/ton

  • Contains 50% Protein & 4% Phosphorus


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Meat & Bone Meal their food needsSources

  • Inland Products (bulk only)

  • Jeremy: 614.444.1127

  • Google: National Renderers Association

  • Note: You will have to mix it in by hand unless you have your own grinder/mixer


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2 skid types are needed: their food needsRoost Roof & Shade Roof


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4 Poly Wires their food needsStep in PostsHigh Joule Fencer



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The Proof Lies Here! their food needs


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A Meal Fit for A their food needsFree-Range Poultry Farmer’s Family!



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Remember! their food needs

  • While feed savings will be realized from range usage the goal is not so much feed savings as to provide vitamins, minerals and exercise for improved meat flavor and quality.


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Turkeys and Cattle Work their food needsWell Together


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A nice mixture of turkey varieties their food needsgrazing hard



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Poultryized vs. Unfertilized their food needsRange


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Turkey Paddock One Week their food needsAfter Thanksgiving


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Poultry Fertility vs. Cattle Fertility their food needs+ Composted Manure for the Garden


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Turkey Paddock in their food needsEarly Morning


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One with A Roost Roof their food needs& one With A Shade Roof


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I was thinking about guttering their food needsand a holding tank for each skid!?


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Why I don’t use ElectroNet their food needsFencing


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Turkeys do Well on Range their food needsin the Winter


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Remember: their food needs

  • To maximize your profits you need to have a branded product produced in your own on-farm State or USDA inspected processing plant

  • OR an excellent processor that can butcher and package your birds better than what folks see in the store.

  • Tacky processing will result in lower profits!


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Small-Scale on-Farm USDA Inspected their food needsPoultry Processing Plant


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A well designed 14’ x 30’ their food needseconomical slaughter facility


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Processing Plant Options & Costs their food needs

  • Under 400 turkeys per year minimal investment; no ability to sell to restaurants or health food stores. Cost less than $1000

  • 400-10,000 turkeys per year: State inspected plant required, no bird-by-bird inspection. Cost is less than $10,000.

  • State or USDA approved plant with bird-by-bird inspection. Costs $15-$30,000; birds can be sold to restaurants or health food stores.


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Financing Options their food needs

  • USDA County Revolving Loan Funds

  • SBA loans

  • Equipment leasing

  • Conventional bank loans

  • Tax breaks for adding new employees

  • Minorities eligible for preferential treatment


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Resources for their food needsRange Poultry Producers

  • www.Free-RangePoultry.com

  • www.BACK40Books.com


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Turkeys Want to be their food needsYour Friend


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Ask the Turkey! their food needs(Question Time)


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