The effect of population density on the production of market turkeys
Coleman, Joel Watkins
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Population density as high as 0.70 square foot per bird had no apparent effect on growth, feed conversion, mortality, and market quality on Medium White turkeys to 10 weeks of age. At 14 weeks of age body weight and feed conversion decreased slightly for both males and females allowed less than 0.85 square foot per bird. Market quality and mortality were unaffected for both sexes allowed less than 0.85 square foot per bird. It was noted that consideration had to be given to litter management when high density production methods were practiced because wet litter at decreased floor space levels may contribute to potential disease outbreaks and added cost of dry litter for replacement. Both males and females reared on range were significantly heavier at 18 and 22 weeks of age than those reared in confinement at two and three square feet per bird. Bird density of two square feet per bird in confinement did not adversely affect body weight or feed conversion from 14 to 22 weeks of age. Market quality and mortality were approximately equal for confinement and range reared turkeys. Economic returns above poult and feed cost were found to be approximately 13 and 25 cents higher per square foot of floor space for females and males respectively, when allowed 0.70 rather than 1.30 square foot per bird to 14 weeks of age.
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