Housing and Management of Turkey Flocks in Canada

Nienke van Staaveren, Emily M. Leishman, Sarah M. Adams, Benjamin J. Wood, Alexandra Harlander-Matauschek, Christine F. Baes
2020 Animals  
An increased understanding of the turkey sector and how farmers manage flocks can help maintain and improve the health and welfare of turkeys. We conducted a cross-sectional survey among turkey farmers in Canada to gain information regarding general farm characteristics, housing aspects (incl. lighting, ventilation), litter management, feed and water management, flock characteristics, and flock health management. The survey was distributed to 500 farmers through the Turkey Farmers of Canada in
more » ... pril–December 2019. A total of 83 final responses (response rate approx. 20%) were used for a descriptive analysis to determine the frequency of housing and management practices (77 commercial flocks, 6 breeder flocks). Hen flocks (n = 53) had a median age of eight weeks (IQR: 7–12 weeks) and tom flocks (n = 30) had a median age of 12 weeks (IQR: 9–14 weeks). Turkey flocks within Canada are typically kept in indoor barn systems on a concrete floor (87.5%), with bedding (e.g., straw, wood shavings) provided (100%). The majority followed a brood and move growing system (68.8%), and a large proportion of farmers indicated that they raised turkeys under the 'Raised Without Antibiotics/Antibiotic Free' or the 'Responsible Use of Antibiotics' certification (70.5%). Possible room for improvement could be found in terms of litter management and biosecurity practices, however, further research is needed to make clear recommendations.
doi:10.3390/ani10071159 pmid:32650501 fatcat:7oaunpu46fbh5gl22vhxe47jse