Bulletin No. 41
R. C. BLAKE
State of Florida
Department of Agriculture
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
T. J. APPLEYARD, INC., TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA
FLORIDA EXPERIMENT STATION
.- -- .________________________n l~jq zv tq j r **.- 1 e -_
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Nathan Mayo, Commissioner of Agriculture ....... Tallahassee
T. J. Brooks, Assistant Commissioner............ Tallahassee
Phil S. Taylor, Supervising Inspector. ........... Tallahasse'
Introduction ................................ 5
Origin and Adaptation ........................ 5
B reeds ....................... .............. 8
Breeding Practices ........................... 8
Incubation and Brooding ...................... 9
Natural Method ............ ........... 9
Equipm ent .............................. 9
Hatching ............................. 10
Caring for and Feeding ................... 11
Artificial M ethod ........................... 12
Advantages .. ......... .............. 12
Equipm ent .............................. 13
Incubator Operation ...................... 13
Brooding .............................. 13
Caring for and Feeding .................... 15
Florida Crops for Turkey Pastures ............. 15
Spring Crops for Poults .............. ...... 16
Cow peas ................................ 16
P eanuts ................................. 16
Corn and Velvet Beans ................... 17
Summer Crops for Turkeys .................. 17
Beggarweed ... ......................... 17
K udzu .................................. 17
Cowpeas ............................... 17
Spanish Peanuts ......................... 19
Chufas ................... ............ 19
Crops for Winter Pasturage .................. 19
Oats .................................. 19
G reens .................. ............. 19
Marketing ................................. 20
Diseases and Insects ......................... 21
Blackhead ................................. 21
Common Parasites .......................... 22
Acknowledgments ............. ............ .. 23
Turkey Raising in Florida
By R. C. Blake and Ralph Stoutamire
SHE TURKEY-both beautiful and useful-is the only
domestic fowl that originated in America. It is native
of practically every state east of the Mississippi River,
every state from the Mason and Dixon Line to the Rio
grande River, and even of Old Mexico.
The earliest domestication of this fowl undoubtedly should
credited to the Aztec Indian civilization which preceded the
inquest of that nation by the Spaniards. Our standard breeds
today more closely resemble the Mexican turkey than they
those found in the wild state in more northern localities.
iese Mexican turkeys were introduced into Europe by the
)aniards and quickly spread over the western half of that
intinent and Great Britain.
ORIGIN AND ADAPTATION
The earlier settlers from England, Holland and Francie
-ought with them specimens of turkeys. These were crossed
ith the wild turkeys of North America, from which have de-
loped the present standard breeds of this "king of table
The practice of giving thanks begun by the Pilgrim fathers
at first "Thanksgiving Day" has survived and spread until
roughout America Thanksgiving and turkey are synonymous.
The wild turkeys of America may be roughly divided into
ur varieties which derive their names from the territories
here they originated and ranged. There is the Eastern tur-
:y, commonly found wild throughout the states of the At-
atic seaboard from Maine to Florida. The Florida wild tur-
!y was found on the southern part of this peninsula. The
io Grande wild turkey is indigenous to those states bordering
L the Rio Grande River. The Mexican wild turkey, from
iich the earlier domestic varieties originated, was found in
exico. The plumage of the latter bird more closely resembles
at of the popular Bronze breed, which probably was mated
ith the native Eastern wild turkeys and gave origin to the
rious other breeds.
Strange as it may seem, Florida, the oldest settled area of
e United States and settled by the same Spaniards who first
rried the turkey into Europe, is not one of the leading tur-
y-producing states. Possibly this may be accounted for by
.r slower earlier development. However, the state's mild
6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
winters and comparatively dry springs, during which period
the serious work of hatching and brooding takes place, should
make turkey raising an attractive side-line on more Florid
Climate is a major consideration when it comes to housing
turkeys in this state. Except for the hatching and brooding
Fig. 1. Not only the king of birds but the king of all the strutters. Thi
Bronze torn evidently is not worried about the approach of Thanksgivin!
(Photo reproduced from "Turkey Raising" by Lamon and Slocum.)
coop, and these frequently are limited, the average Florid
turkey lives with little or no housing. It is advisable to prc
vide shelter for roosting, inasmuch as prowling wild animal
may cause serious losses. If the birds are herded late in th
afternoon, fed and driven into the roosting house, they soo
form the habit of coming home at night.
TURKEY RAISING IN FLORIDA
The introduction of the turkey into our farming system
would lead to a more stable agriculture through diversifica-
on of our marketable crops. This suggests the place of the
trkey in Florida: it should fit in as a small unit on many of
ir farms, providing just another source of farm income and
The comparative segregation of many of our farms is ad-
intageous, when it comes to turkey raising, as it provides an
?portunity for free range for the growing turkeys. It also
-ees neighbors of any annoyance the birds might cause. In-
-eased range materially lessens the danger of losses from
diseases which probably is more apt to be a considerable factor
under the intensive type of culture.
Much of Florida is rolling land, and much of its soils are
ght and well drained, both of which factors aid in keeping
own contamination and disease.
The great abundance and wide variety of crops -that can be
rown here, together with almost endless pasture ranges,
reatly aid in keeping down feed costs. However, diseases,
rops and pastures will be discussed later.
There are six leading breeds of turkeys of which the Bronze
probably the most popular and most widely distributed.
he others are Bourbon Red, White Hollands, Narragansett,
Lack and Slate, in the order of their importance. Each breed
as its peculiar and particular merits, as dressing quality, rate
f growth, size, disease resistance, domesticity. Most of these
actors are, however, the results of work by individual breed-
rs. Standard weights of these breeds follow:
Breed Tom Tom Cockerel Hen Pullet
Pounds Pounds Pounds Pounds Pounds
bronze ............................ 36 30 25 20 16
Tarragansett ............. 39 25 20 18 14
Vhite Hollands............ 28 24 20 18 14
lack ....................................... 27 22 18 18 12
late ..................................... Sam e as Black.
,ourbon Red................ Same as Narragansett.
Owing to its greater weight the Bronze turkey is the most
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Only the most desirable individuals should be selected fot
breeding stock. They should be chosen as representing th
best maturity, quickest development and largest size. Do no
wait until the earliest birds have been sold; select your breed
ers first and then sell the remaining stock. Many failures ma
be traced to following the opposite policy.
Close inbreeding should be avoided. Some method of mark
ing the different matings should be practiced. For instance
toe-punch the poults at an early stage so that they may b
Fig. 2. Bourbon Red tom on the left, followed by Narragansett torn on the
right. Both these breeds are popular in Florida, and they do well here. The
Bronze, however, probably leads in popularity and number. (Photo repro-
duced from "Turkey Raising" by Lamon and Slocum.)
easily distinguished in the fall when breeders are selected foi
the succeeding spring. Care must be exercised when obtain
ing breeding stock to 'make sure that it is free-of disease anc
parasites. Two weeks in quarantine for all new stock before(
turning it loose on the farm would be a saving grace to th(
Owing to the increased value of purebred stock, it is hardly
wise for the turkey raiser to work with the mongrel. Th(
additional income from selling breeding stock will materially
augment the gross sales, to say nothing of adding to the pleas.
ure and satisfaction of handling fine stock. These added in
centives will spur one on to greater ambition and effort and.
TURKEY RAISING IN FLORIDA 9
s a consequence, to larger returns. Good type and vigor is
first rung in the ladder to success in turkey raising.
In breeding the common practice is to mate adult toms
males) with pullets (young hens) and young toms with ma-
are hens. Be careful that extra heavy toms are not mated
Tith light females, or fatal injuries may result; variances in
Heights of male and female should not be great.
Egg yields vary considerably. Eggs are laid in clutches of
corn 16 to 22 eggs each. One copulation suffices to fertilize
ach clutch. A young tom may be mated to 10 or 12 pullets
r hens, a yearling tom to not more than 8 to 10, and the
dult tom to not more than 5 or 6.
INCUBATION AND BROODING
The production of market turkeys has undergone a marked
change in the last few years. As a consequence, there has been
division in the industry: artificial versus natural methods of
lcubation and brooding. These will be discussed separately
s their methods and practices are quite different.
As the name implies this is the primitive and probably the
lore extensive method of hatching and raising turkeys. The
ize of the flock is small, composed of not over 10 or 15 hens
nd 2 toms. The birds are allowed to roam more or less at
irge, foraging for a large part of their living. The hens are
ametimes confined for part of the day so that the eggs may
e gathered to be set under turkey hens or chicken hens.
either type of hen is quite satisfactory; with a little care and
apervision good results will be obtained from either.
Equipment: Due to the facts that turkey raising is largely
-asonal and that only breeding stock is carried over the win-
r, the amount of equipment necessary to make the business
successful is small. Usually the lack of equipment is more
)parent than the presence of it. The increased size and
vitality of the adult turkey, compared to other poultry types,
ake it unnecessary to furnish extensive and expensive houses
care for it during the winter months. However, satisfac-
bry houses should be supplied to shelter and protect brooding
ock and young growing poults (the young hatched turkeys).
Success depends upon maturing a large percentage of the
etched poults. When the undertaking is on a comparatively
nall scale, small movable brooder coops, made of barrels or
backing cases, answer the purpose satisfactorily. These will
protect the mother, be it chicken or turkey, during the period
10 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
of incubation and brooding. Great care should be exercise
to keep them clean. Move frequently to insure their being
kept clean, as well as to keep the runs clean.
On some farms where turkeys are raised more extensively;
a corral or enclosed lot is found to be convenient. This servi
not only to protect laying and brooding stock from molest
tion by predatory animals but also enables the attendant to ke,
in closer touch with what is going on. More eggs are savy
and better management is possible when a corral is used.
Fig. 3. Simple brooding coop for young turkeys. The A-shaped type.
can be moved about as the occasion and need demand. If the hen is
lined to range too far for the poults, nail on another slat and confine I
while the little fellows come and go. (Photo reproduced from "Turl<
Raising" by Lamon and Slocum.)
is made of poultry wire fencing. Be careful to enclose enoun
land to insure clean grounds and runs. Provide a slatt
opening-about 2 feet high-in one side of the corral we
through which the turkeys may secure feed and water, plac
there from the outside, which in this manner is kept unce
taminated. This also cuts down labor costs and prevents t
much annoyance of the stock. Within the corral place roo:
ing racks, brooder coops and nests.
Hatching: The period of incubation for turkey eggs is
days. It is a good practice to set several hens at the sai
time. This will insure a sufficiently large number of pou]
TURKEY RAISING IN FLORIDA
r one or more brooding flocks, each of which is headed by
other a turkey or a chicken hen. In this way the surplus
rkey hens may be broken of their broodiness and induced
lay another clutch of eggs. Some turkey hens will lay as
any as 100 eggs in a season, and the greater the number of
-gs obtained the greater the number of poults for sale in fall.
Caring For and Feeding baby poults for the first few days
a labor of love and the reward justifies the inconvenience.
le brood coop should be of light material so that it may be
adily moved about. An A-shaped coop about 4 feet square
adequate. Confine poults for the first two days after hatch-
4. Give the turkey a roost and drive him to it a few times and pretty
n you will see him headed in its direction just about sundown every day.
slatted walk, as shown here, is a great aid to a turkey. There can be no
ticism of such a roost, save that it does not give protection from prowlers.
(Photo reproduced from "Turkey Raising" by Lamon and Slocum.)
g and keep them as free from disturbance as possible. Access
clean drinking water and a little coarse sand is all that they
1l need. A short-grass pasture is ideal for young poults. On
they may get plenty of green feed without becoming soaked
th dew. The amount of feed necessary must be judged by
e amount of green feed available and by the appetites which
e young poults display. But keep them slightly hungry.
ed should be eaten readily and any excess should be re-
aved to prevent molding. Exercise is quite essential and
arching for food is the best way to induce it. Two or three
edings a day is usually enough, if the birds have access to
Isturage. There are several satisfactory feeds.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Hard-boiled eggs, rolled into a crumbly consistency witl
cornbread crumbs and fed for the first week, is excellent
Whole wheat and hulled oats are good to feed next.
Clabbered milk or buttermilk, mixed to a crumbly consis
ency with dried bread or cornbread, is also an excellent star
ing feed. Follow this at the end of a week with whole whea
and hulled oats. Grit and green feed must be available o
supplied while the poults are young, but as they begin to rang
after the first or second week, depending on the weather, the
will probably obtain plenty of this for themselves.
Care must be taken to protect young poults from morning
dews and showers during the early part of the brooding period
After they are partly feathered out, the brooding hen may b
given her liberty during the day. But bring her back at nigh
Feeding a whole grain feed at this time will bring her bacl
It also keeps the poults near the farm buildings at night an
gives them some protection at least from predatory animal
During early spring when unsatisfactory climatic condition
are apt to spell disaster to young turkeys, Florida ordinaril
is having dry weather. Normally from December to Februar
occasional rainy days are interspersed with long periods c
sunshine. From March until the middle of June we usually
have only occasional showers to mar brilliant sunny weather
From June until September we usually have our customer
rainy season with brief heavy showers nearly every day. Thes
so moderate the heat that the summers are quite comfortable
and all kinds of vegetation thrive luxuriantly. From Septen
ber to December is another dry period with only scattered
showers. Such climatic conditions are nearly ideal for th
raising of poultry of all kinds and especially turkeys.
Advantages: The artificial- raising of turkeys has not d(
veloped to so extensive an industry as has that of chickenI
and it probably never will. However, in recent years som
attention has been given to this practice and it has its advw
cates. The advantages claimed for it are reduced costs, less
ened danger of disease, and labor saving. The production o
turkeys on a large scale, provided operation methods are sati6
factory, reduces the unit cost in that one person can care fo
a larger number of birds. Also the buying of feed in large
amounts should mean money saved. Then a larger number o
turkeys of uniform size and condition often can be marketed
more easily and this ought to mean more income in proportion
to effort and expenditure.
TURKEY RAISING IN FLORIDA 13
Even with the best of care, turkeys raised naturally are
able to disease infection and insect infestation. As disease
s the most- common cause of failure, anything that reduces it
shouldd be sought. Artificial hatching and brooding help avoid
disease and insects. At least they enable the producer to more
carefullyy protect young turkeys from infection and infestation.
Equipment, houses, runs, .etc., where artificial methods are
followed, is more extensive than where natural methods are
n force. This is necessary, of course, because of the larger
lumber of birds on such farms. The equipment includes in-
-ubator, brooders, brooder houses, etc.
Incubator Operation: Artificial hatching of turkey eggs fre-
juently is as successful as that of poultry eggs or even more
so, and the practices of the two are about the same, save for
;light modifications. The employment of artificial incubation
nethods presumes that there are available sufficient turkey
'ggs to warrant the operation of an incubator.
In operating an incubator run it at a temperature of 102
legrees, Fahrenheit, with the bulb on the thermometer kept
)n a level with the top of the eggs. This temperature should
lot be increased until hatching time, when it may be increased
o 103 degrees. The period of incubation is about 28 days.
gIore moisture should be added for turkey eggs than is pro-
,ided for by most incubators. This may be accomplished by
)lacing moistened clean sacks in the bottom of the machine
)r by sprinkling the eggs with warm water several times a
Test the eggs on the 10th day and again on the 20th. Re-
nove all infertile ones and those with dead germs on the first
est. Remove all those which do not show the presence of a
vell developed germ on the second test. These removals pro-
7ide plenty of room in the incubator for the satisfactory hatch-
ng of the balance of the eggs. After the seventh day the
*ggs should be cooled until the small end of the egg feels
either hot nor cold. The period of cooling varies with out-
Do not use eggs for hatching that weigh less than 3 ounces
'ach. Hatching eggs may be successfully kept and stored in
i cool, well-ventilated place for two weeks, provided they are
;urned daily, but after that time the percentage of those that
vill hatch decreases rapidly. In order to avoid the necessity
)f holding eggs for longer periods of time, small machines, or
arge machines with compartments, should be used.
Brooding young turkeys for the first few days is a task
vhich calls for exacting care and attention. The size of the
lock should not exceed 150 poults. The equipment is the same
Fig. 5. Typical farm flock of turkeys ranging on bermuda pasture. The turkey is about the only form of livestock which can
be fed entirely on nothing but home-grown pasturage. Besides perhaps a little extra special feed during the brooding age, this
___ __ ______ __ farm hirri findfc anti fngthftrcits noun gligt n ware i tM hn fiorric wa sf w*orfc ____________________
TURKEY RAISING IN FLORIDA 15
is for baby chicks, but as the poults do not seem to have the
same mental poise, more supervision is needed to keep them
from huddling away from the source of heat. For the first
_ew days the brooder should be surrounded with a piece of
small mesh poultry wire a foot or two from the outside of the
canopy. As the little turkeys should not be encouraged to
exercise too much for the first week, this will keep them some-
what subdued. The size of the run can be gradually increased
antil the entire floor of the brooder house is in use. It must
be remembered that the first week is the critical period. The
proper temperature at the outside of the hover should be 90
degrees, Fahrenheit, for the first week. After that gradually
Caring for and Feeding: The young poults should be watered
after 48 hours, and it will probably be necessary to take each
individual and dip the end of its beak into the water, in order
to start it to drinking. No feed should be given before the
60th hour. This may consist of hard-boiled (for 30 minutes)
egg, crumbled up with the shell, 1. egg to about 20 birds. Feed
three times a day. A little alfalfa-leaf meal added to this
greatly enhances the value of this feed. After the third day
t is necessary to change the ration, and now sour, skim milk
and finely cracked wheat or yellow corn make very desirable
feeds. Where milk is not available, semi-solid buttermilk is a
satisfactory source of those food factors which are so abun-
dantly supplied by milk alone.
Turkeys in confinement should be furnished plenty of green
feed which adds bulk as well as nourishment to the diet. An-
other ration which may be used when the turkeys are kept
confined, consists of-
Shorts .................................................... ..........-- 35 pounds
Yellow corn meal ...... ....... .. ..-......... ..--....-- 35 pounds
Alfalfa-leaf meal ............... ...............----- 25 pounds
Dried milk ............. .. .. ....... .......-..--------....--- 20 pounds
Bone m eal ................................. -.. ................. 5 pounds
Salt ..--. ... --.... .... .. ----- ...........-- -----.-.. 1 pound
This dry mash should be kept in clean hoppers until the young
poults are able to range for their living.
FLORIDA CROPS FOR TURKEY PASTURES
Pasturage for turkeys can be grown in Florida during al-
most all seasons. Certainly it can be grown during the tur-
key's growing period. And, strange as it may seem, this pas-
turage furnishes just about all the materials needed to put
growth on and to fatten these birds. For these reasons much
16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
time and attention may be. profitably spent in studying an(
growing a number of crops for pasturage. Several are dis
cussed here by seasons. For convenience the year is divide<
into spring, summer and fall.
Spring Crops for Poults
Cowpeas: One of the best early crops which furnishes legu
minous pasturage is the cowpea of which there are many va
rieties, all satisfactory for turkeys. They may be planted a
soon as danger of frost is over, which means, in the central
part of the state, as early as the middle of March, ordinarily
The poults may begin to graze on cowpeas as soon as they ar
18 inches high. And if peas are not too closely grazed, the,
2 o.r- ..- -.'- -.- '.i"' .
Fig. 6. Cotton and turkeys go well together. The insects consumed by the
birds might include destructive pests like the boll weevil.
will make a good pasture throughout the summer, furnishing
considerable grain as they reach maturity. This crop may bE
planted broadcast or drilled in rows. Cultivate once or twice
depending on the need.
The Peanut is another early legume which furnishes grazing
as well as grain. The Florida Runner, a long-growing crop'
should be planted in 4-foot rows about the time field corn i,
planted. Work several times. As soon as they begin to rur
turn the turkeys into them. They ought to provide a valuable
leguminous green feed for five or six months. In the fall o
very fine fattening food may be furnished by opening up a
few furrows at a time and allowing the turkeys to harvest th(
nuts. A peanut-fattened turkey is a treat for an epicure.
Another method of planting peanuts is to use corn as a side
TURKEY RAISING IN FLORIDA 17
*op. Plant the corn in rows 8 feet apart; between the corn
)ws plant peanuts. This gives variety to the feeding rations
ad also provides some surplus for other forms of livestock.
There is another variety of peanut which may be used either
a spring crop, planted early at corn-planting time and har-
asted in June or early July, or used as a catch crop for
wanting in July and letting the turkeys harvest the crop in
le fall. This provides a very desirable fattening food to con-
tion birds for late market. It may be used with even the
te corn crop by planting the Cuban flint variety which will
ature in time to be consumed as a fattening feed.
Corn and Velvet Beans is another excellent combination.
Thile it may not be a turkey feed, strictly speaking, it is an
cellent turkey pasture. Whether these companion crops are
own for other types of livestock or for turkeys exclusively,
e results are very satisfactory. By planting the corn and
sans in four- or five-foot rows, using a combination drill to
ant both seed in the same row at the same operation, a sum-
er and fall pasture is furnished which is hard to equal. It
ovides forage and abundant shade at the same time. Even
ough cattle or hogs may be used to harvest the crop, turkeys
ay be relied upon to get their share of it.
Summer Crops for Turkeys
Beggarweed: That summer pasture crop intended to bring
rkeys to maturity in a hurry must furnish abundant growth
d supply plenty of forage. The one most important crop of
is nature that appears in Florida only after summer rains
gin is beggarweed. Its name is a misnomer; it is far from
ing a pest or a poor relative. It may be planted as late as
ne and then give a good account of itself. But once it has
en established on the land, there is no more planting of it,
it springs up naturally each summer to furnish a rich,
avy growth and an abundance of most excellent forage for
I types of livestock. It may be grazed well into fall. Besides
ese advantages, beggarweed is a great soil builder. Too
ach can not be said for it.
Kudzu is another crop which can be started at this time and
rich will not need replanting, as it develops a permanent
ot system. It is a legume and furnishes abundant pasturage
r all kinds of livestock. It is also a remarkable soil builder,
oducing large quantities of foliage to build up the humus
intent of the soil, to say nothing of its ability to add nitrogen
the soil. It is slowly winning just popularity.
Cowpeas can also be planted in July and, though they do
it develop as much forage as if planted earlier, the grain
Fig. 7. Getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas on the farm of Charlie Williams near Trenton in Gilchrist County. Mr.
Williams has made the turkey a leader on his farm for years and he has established an enviable reputation with the buyers and
TURKEY RAISING IN FLORIDA
field is greatly increased. It can be planted either broadcast
r drilled in rows the width of which may be from 1 to 3 feet,
pending on time of planting, soil, rainfall and cultural prac-
Spanish Peanuts can be planted in July for a fall crop. It
liould not be overlooked as a source of very desirable food to
nish off market turkeys. However, do not allow breeding
Lock to feed to excess on these fattening feeds, as it is not
rise to let breeders take on too much fat. But for those going
b market, remember that a peanut-fattened turkey can not be
Chufas is another crop which is not planted strictly as a
)urce of forage for turkeys, but it is good for them anyway.
Sis used almost exclusively as a hog feed. If allowed to range
ith hogs on chufas, turkeys will glean much fattening ma-
rial from this ground nut. Plant chufas in early summer in
)ws from about 31/2 to 4 feet apart. Its cultural needs are
bout the same as for Spanish peanuts.
Crops for Winter Pastures
Oats: So far we have considered only those crops which aid
I taking the birds from poults to the marketing stage-those
litable to provide rapid growth and to add substantial flesh
id fat. The wise turkey raiser does not stop here. He
alizes that his breeding stock must be carried through what
naturally the leanest season of the year, winter. He also
,alizes that these birds must store up sufficient energy and
irry it over to spring in order to produce eggs abundantly
ad of high quality. Therefore, he provides some form of
inter pasturage, planting it in fall. Nothing is better for
lorida conditions for this purpose than oats with rye a fair
'cond. Fulghum or Texas Rust Proof varieties are perhaps
le best oats for this state. Harrow in the seed not later than.
ovember or early December. A good oat crop will furnish
asturage well into spring. A little whole grain should be
,d in order to balance up the ration.
Greens of various kinds-turnips, rape, collards, cabbage,
:c.-can be grown during winter and they, too, to a certain
is kind are easily grown on Florida soils and ordinarily they
not have any great commercial value. Therefore, do not
terlook them as sources of winter feed for your turkeys.
In reviewing the crops which are available for feeding tur-
iys, it will be observed that there is an abundance of them
id they furnish wide variety. It should not be difficult,
erefore, to select several that fit into any farm program
20 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
without too greatly altering plans. Keep in mind that afte
the first few weeks the problem of feeding is largely a matte
of providing forage crops for the turkeys to graze upon.
At marketing time exercise great care to make sure tha
the birds are in prime condition, that is, well fattened. Thi
will insure the top market price for the product and frequently;
sell it when it might otherwise not sell at all. A few cents pe
pound on a 12-pound bird may mean the difference between
profit and loss.
Fig. 8. Posing for the cameraman is nothing in the life of these happi
"gobblers" who show real devotion to their masters, Mr. and Mrs. Charliq
Williams of Trenton, Gilchrist County, Florida.
At present the home market seems most dependable. As :
rule in this state turkeys are raised on a small scale on indi
vidual farms and not in great flocks. For this reason the indi
vidual raiser can not enter the big markets in competition
with big producers. 'So far cooperative marketing in Florid&
has not worked out very satisfactorily to the turkey raisers
though it has been known to. While this method may be th
ideal thing to advocate and unquestionably it will ultimately:
prove to be the saving grace of the industry here, it is the pur
TURKEY RAISING IN FLORIDA 21
)se of the authors to suggest what appears best for the indi-
dual raiser now. This is to raise only a few dozen birds for
le each year, combine this with your other farm operations,
id find and cultivate your own markets. Strive to please a
istomer, once you have found him, for there is nothing truer
an "Satisfied customers mean more business."
Selling direct to consumer eliminates the middleman and
ieans more money. It also means that the customer learns
here he can buy turkey on short notice, and this means
at he buys not only for Thanksgiving and Christmas but
perhaps for half a dozen other occasions during the year.
Prices vary from 35 to 45 cents a pound, live weight. Lower
ian 35 cents means little if any profit for the producer. Above
5 cents means nice profits, but above that figure is the excep-
on rather than the rule. Those who make the effort can
Eten secure as much, or more, by raising breeding stock as
y selling their birds for eating purposes.
DISEASES AND INSECTS
Sanitation is the watchword to successful turkey raising. Of
[1 causes of failure, disease is probably the most common. Do
ot try to keep turkeys on the same ground or runs as other
>rms of poultry. Many of the diseases which are practically
armless to other types of poultry are exceedingly dangerous
Rotate yards so that young poults may have clean soil upon
which to grow. Keep feed and water and troughs clean. Select
ily the more vigorous individuals for breeding stock, in order
build up natural resistance to diseases. Carefully protect
lung poults for the first four months and then provide them
ith plenty of free range. But even now do not permit the
Birds to come in contact with sick birds or land where sick
irds have ranged. These are some of the fundamentals to
Blackhead is perhaps the most common disease of the turkey.
certainly it is the most destructive and widespread. It is
Named for the customary black appearance of the turkey's
?ad when suffering from this trouble. However, a black head
ay mean the bird is sick but it is not a positive indication of
ackhead. Other symptoms must accompany it. The thirst
the turkey is excessive and its appetite falls off, the indi-
dual becoming steadily weaker until it dies. This usually
,curs in about a week. Diarrhea usually accompanies the
;her symptoms, the droppings being bright yellow. A post-
22 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
mortem examination discloses the ceca, or "blind gut," e
large and obstructed by a yellow, ill-smelling, cheesy su
No satisfactory remedy has as yet been discovered for blacd
head. Prevention is the only cure. Keep the grounds and su
roundings clean. Do. not allow young poults to use the san
runs used by chickens. Quarantine all new stock brought
the farm. Thoroughly inspect brooders and coops at sho
regular periods. Thoroughly disinfect them if you have reason
to fear the presence of any disease or insect enemy. Prever
all intestinal parasites. These precautions need not b
come excessive or burdensome. But remember that constai
vigilance is necessary, if the flock is to be kept safely guarded
against trouble. Prevention is always better than cure.
A few other diseases are more or less common, but clean]
ness, supplying fresh clean ground for runs by frequent]
moving the coops, and quarantining new stock will, in mo:
cases, keep trouble at a minimum and partly insure success.
There are two types of parasites common to all stock, ii
ternal and external. Of the former, round worms are the moi
destructive. There are two round worms, the large roun
worm which infests the intestines and the cecum worm which
is found in the ceca or "blind gut."
The large round worm is quite commonly found in young
turkeys. They vary in length from 2 to 3 inches, have roun
bodies, are pointed at both ends, and are yellowish white j
color. Their eggs are liberated in the intestines and are voided
with the feces. Those eggs hatch and the young worms ai
picked up by the turkey in feeding and the cycle is complete,
The more common symptoms are loss of weight, foani
diarrhea, and general unthriftiness. Masses of worms will 1
found in the intestines upon post-mortem examination.
Use some form of tobacco in treating. One method is -
mix 2 pounds of tobacco dust (containing from 1.5 to 2.5 pe
cent of nicotine) with 100 pounds of dry mash. Feed this ft
three weeks and after discontinuing for three weeks repe;
for a like period.
A pound of Epsom salts per 100 mature birds should 1
given at the end of the first week after they are treated ar
once every two or three weeks thereafter, if there is any indic
tion of worms. Exercise the greatest of care to keep tl
grounds and surroundings carefully cleaned up, if worms g
to your birds, in order to stamp out this and to prevent ne
TURKEY RAISING IN FLORIDA
The cecum worm is not readily treated. Practically the
nly thing to do is to prevent; keep the turkeys away from
their forms of poultry, and clean up and keep clean.
The turkey is not immune to the common chicken mite and
)use. Keep a lookout for these pests. If the mites appear,
pray houses and runs with a form of crude oil or kerosene.
'ub the affected parts of the birds with something similar to
aseline. For lice, dust the birds with sulphur or a tobacco
reparation. The same methods for controlling mites and lice
other forms of poultry may be used in the case of turkeys.
Acknowledgment is made of information drawn on, in pre-
ring this bulletin, from many publications of the United
ates Department of Agriculture and from several publica-
ans of various state experiment stations and extension serv-
es. "Turkey Raising" by Lamon and Slocum was referred
frequently. This book and many government and state
lletins on this subject should be read and studied by anyone
ntemplating the raising of turkeys. For government bulle-
is write to your congressman or United States senator.
Prof. N. R. Mehrhof, extension poultry specialist of the
orida College of Agriculture, cooperated in the preparation
the bulletin by offering suggestions and by reading and
iticising the manuscript.