Basic Husbandry for Turkeys

Factsheet - ISSN 1198-712X   -   Copyright King's Printer for Ontario
Agdex#: 453
Publication Date: 02/93
Order#: 93-039
Last Reviewed: 06/00
History: Original Factsheet
Written by: Diane Spratt - Poultry Specialist/OMAFRA

Table of Contents

  1. Handy Hints
 Criteria Norms During Growth Norms After Maturity Trouble Shooting Checklist


(At birds height)

Under Brooders

Day Old - 1 week:
1-2: 32°C
2-3: 29°C
3-4: 27°C
4-5: 21-24°C

Room Temperature


(Bird's comfort)

Too High: pasty cloacas, spreading and flapping, crowding away from heat source

Too Low: feather ruffling, huddling and piling near heat source
Ammonia (P.P.M.) Maximum: 25 ppm (see next page) Maximum: 25 ppm Too High: eye burns, higher incidence of breast blisters - leg problems
Air Movement 0.11 m3 per minute per kg live bird


2.75-3.0 cfm per kg live bird
0.11 m3 per minute per kg live bird


2.75-3.0 cfm per Kg live bird
Poor: high ammonia levels, wet, caked litter, Respiratory problems, increased foot problems, poor growth because of wet litter
(see next page)
Lighting First 5 Days:
50 lux

After 1 week: adequate light for feeding and activity
Daylight Interval

Intensity must be 10 X greater than DARK interval to ensure good production levels
Too High: cannibalism, flighty, nervous behaviour

Too Low: poor intakes, poor growth and feed conversion
Feeder Space
(per bird) - ad lib

Water Trough
(per bird)
0.4 wks. - 3.5 cm
4-12 wks. - 8.0 cm
12 weeks - mature

Feed - 10-12 cm
Water - 10-12 cm
Too Small: poor intakes, poor growth and starveouts

Density - Floor or Cage Space

(per bird)


0-4 weeks: 0.5 m2
4-8 weeks: 0.22 m2
8-12 weeks: 0.3 m2


0-4 weeks: 0.5 m2
4-8 weeks: 0.25 m2
8-12 weeks: 0.30 m2


12-16 weeks
16-20 weeks
at least 0.3 m2/bird


12-16 weeks
16-20 weeks
at least 0.4 m2/bird
Too Dense: feather picking, cannibalism, more injuries, more health problems, poorer carcasses or lower feed efficiency, wet litter - leg problems

Handy Hints

Humans can detect the smell of ammonia at 7 p.p.m.

When human eyes are affected (watering/burning), ammonia levels are at least 20 p.p.m.

Fan Diameter in Inches Fan Capacity, CFM
 8 200
10 400
12 1000
14 1500
16 2000
18 3000
20 4000
24 5000
30 7000
36 10000

Figure 1. Guideline: Lamping Requirements for Poultry Chart. Shows Number of Square Feet per 60 Watt Bulb. Peter Nicholas, Energy Advisor - Agriculture, Ontario Hydro

Graph of number of square feet per 60 watt incandescent light bulb

Text Equivalent of Figure 1

Example (Real Barn):

A maintained light level of 20 lux may be achieved by using one standard 60W/120V incandescent bulb for every 200 square feet of floor space, or by using one long-life 60W/130V incandescent bulb for every 120 square feet of floor space in a dark barn.

Example (Research Lab):

A white clean room will have 40 lux with about one lamp per 280 square feet, or about 20 lux if one bulb per 560 square feet is used.

  • Save Energy: Use 9 Watt to 11 Watt compact fluorescent lamps instead of 60 Watt/130 Volt incandescent bulbs
  • Save Energy: Use 13 Watt to 15 Watt compact fluorescent lamps instead of 60 Watt/120 Volt incandescent bulbs

For more information:
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