Overview

Turkeys are the only farmed bird to originate in the Americas. They were domesticated around 200 BC in the areas that is now Mexico. The Spanish brought them to Europe after they found them in 1519.

A settler is feeding chickens, turkeys, and ducks in front of the barn.

This early settler is feeding his turkeys, chickens, and ducks.

Who is Who?

A male turkey stands close to the camera, as if for a portrait.

Toms

Male turkeys are called toms. Male turkeys are grown to weigh more than ten kilograms.
Baby turkeys eat from circular feeders.

Poults

Baby turkeys are called poults.
Did you know?

Broilers & Hens

A female turkey that is grown to be less than six kilograms is called a broiler. A female turkey that is grown to six – ten kilograms is called a hen.

Animal Care

Farmers make sure their animals have a clean environment, nutritious food, and clean water. The barn is cleaned and sanitized before a new flock of poults (baby turkeys) come into the barn. This prevents disease spreading from one flock to another. In Canada, turkeys are not given hormones or steroids to help them grow faster.

A close-up of two white coloured turkeys are shown.

Canadian turkeys are not given steroids or hormones.

Animal Housing

Turkeys have access to nutritious food and clean water at any time of the day. The barns provide them with a clean environment. The turkeys will not have contact with other birds which helps reduce the chance of getting or spreading disease.

Turkeys are eating out of feeders in a turkey barn.

Turkeys eat from feeders that can adjust their height as the turkeys grow.

Free-range turkeys can go outside in the warmer weather. They stay in a fenced off area to protect them from predators and other birds.

Turkeys are seen eating grass outside in a fence.

Free range turkeys can roam around outside.

Technology

Turkeys are raised in barns that have technology which controls the temperature, humidity, food systems, and water systems. These are all very important to raising healthy turkeys. If the barn suddenly got very cold, the turkeys would huddle together and could suffocate each other.

A modern turkey barn is shown with a bunch of turkeys in it and feeders and water lines long the side.

Turkey barns have a lot of technology that help make it a safe and clean environment.

Turkey farmers usually have their cell phones connected to the systems in their barn. Farmers will get an alert on their phone if something has gone wrong, such as a temperature change.

A turkey farmer has a cell phone that is getting an alert from the barn.

Turkey farmers get an alert on their cell phones if something has gone wrong in the barn.

Products

Turkeys provide us with meat such as thighs, breast, feet, liver, and heart.

A turkey sandwich is shown.

After you roast a turkey, you can use it for many dishes including a turkey sandwich.

Nutrition

Turkey meat is popular at Christmas and holidays, but is a healthy option all year round. White turkey meat is from the breast and only has 3 grams of fat and is low in calories. Turkey dark meat is from the thigh and has 6 grams of fat and slightly more calories than the white meat. Turkey is a great source of protein.

A Christmas dinner table is shown with a roasted turkey, amongst other dishes.

Many Canadians have turkey as part of their holiday dinners.