Raising Turkeys – 4 Reasons Why You Should Start
Turkeys have been around for a long time. Turkey history actually starts millions of years ago. Their fossils have been found in Pleistocene deposits which means that they have been around more than twelve thousand years and their predecessors go back 50 to 60 million years to the Eocene period. Since the modern domesticated turkey is a descendant of the Wild Turkey, it is surmised that ancient Mesoamericans had chosen to domesticate this species rather than the Ocellated Turkey which is found in far southern Mexico.
They require most of their care and attention during the first couple months. After this time they become much easier to care for. They are friendly and curious by nature.There are many reasons to raise them.
1) As food
They are traditionally eaten as the main course of large feasts at Christmas in much of the world, as well as Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada, though this tradition has its origins in modern times, rather than colonial as is often supposed. Its sliced meat is frequently used as a sandwich meat or served as cold cuts. Its ground meat is sold just as ground beef, and is frequently marketed as a healthy beef substitute. Without careful preparation, its cooked meat is usually considered to end up less moist than other poultry meats such as chicken or duck.
Wild turkeys, while technically the same species as domesticated turkeys, have a very different taste from the farm-raised. Almost all of the meat is “dark” (even the breast) with a more intense flavor. It is often found as a processed meat. It can be smoked and as such is sometimes sold as ham. Its white meat is generally considered healthier and less fattening than the dark meat, but the nutritional differences are small.
2) As pets
While most people raise them for eating, some keep them as a pet. This has been known to destroy their commercial value as Thanksgiving dinner. And some do both, keep some as a pet while eating the others. There are many different breeds; however there are two varieties, domestic and wild. The wild turkey lives and breeds in the wild and some are kept as pets. It can fly and is said to be smarter than the domestic. The domestic turkeys are the type eaten on thanksgiving and they cannot fly. The domestic and wild turkeys are physically different.
Animal welfare groups such as Farm Sanctuary claim that they are bright and social animals that can make suitable companion animals. US President George W. Bush noted the long tradition of keeping them as pets in his 2001 National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation speech. Bush noted that Abraham Lincoln’s son Tad kept a turkey as a White House pet.
3) They provide built-in pest control service
They may have the most varied diet of any animal known. They eat a variety of foods depending on availability, preference, and nutritional needs. All age classes eat insects when they are available. In the summer they eat large quantities of insects, grass seeds, berries, and green leaves. They eat bugs, mosquitoes, ticks and flies too.
4) Dung as fuel
Their droppings are being used as a fuel source in electric power plants. One such plant in western Minnesota provides 55 megawatts of power using 700,000 tons of dung per year. The plant began operating in 2007. Three such plants are in operation in England.
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