Turkey Farming: Another Livestock Venture and Intervention in the Offing

The new turkey farmers
The new turkey farmers

27 March, Sarpang: To enhance livelihood options of farmers, different interventions have been felt necessary to provide them opportunities for “diversity” and a “coping strategy”. Considering this, the Department of Livestock (DoL), has initiated “Turkey Farming” on a pilot basis. With the success in hatching Turkey eggs and its rearing protocols, the Department is now set to up-scale such interventions at the farm level.

In this regard, a brief sensitisation meeting on Turkey farming was organised for the Poultry Cooperative members from both layer and broiler. During the meeting, Dr. Tashi Samdup, the Director of DoL informed the farmers on the up-scaling of Turkey farming at the farmers level as it was found very promising in the Bhutanese climatic conditions and the farm trial on Turkey breeding and farming has been successful. Farmers were also informed about the government policies and the Department’s strategy in the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP) on import substitution of the poultry products.

Mr. Tshewang Tashi, the Sr. Livestock Officer from the Department informed the farmers on how the Turkey bird looks like along with some of its general characteristics. The general management guidelines for Turkey farming was also shared such as its free range of nature, lower concentrated feed consumption and small shed requirement. They were also informed that Turkey birds are generally meant for meat purpose, it is regarded as one of the leanest meat species among poultry birds which weighs around 4-6 kgs of marketable size in 16-17 weeks of age. Its average eggs laid per cycle are estimated between 80-100 eggs and it has higher cholesterol level as compared to other poultry eggs.

Training in session
Training in session

Further, farmers were informed on the Department/Govt. support packages to those who take up Turkey Farming highlighting that initially 40 to 50 farmers will be selected on a pilot basis. To start with, the farmers shall be provided with 4 turkey pullets and 1 male turkey (TOM) along with CGI sheets, cement, feeders and drinkers items. The similar model shall be replicated in other parts of the country depending on its success. The farmers were also informed that Turkey meat has a fair share of market compared to chicken and other meat products both within and outside the country due to its leanness and tenderness.

In addition, Dr Karma Wangdi, the Programme Director for the National Poultry Development Centre (NPDC) stated that the number of interested farmers to take up Turkey farming was overwhelming. NPDC has been asked to impart general Turkey management training to the interested farmers and help them accordingly.

To move this initiative forward and promote Turkey farming, the Department has established a new Turkey breeding farm at Relanthang in Sarpang and currently there are 226 Turkey birds with NPDC. Such initiative is aimed to boost the livelihoods and income generation of the farmers and realisation of the 11th FYP targets.

Reported by Towchu Rabgay, Livestock Officer/Media Focal, DoL

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