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                                         Information @ a Glance
  • A turkey is either of two species of large birds in the genus Meleagris native to North America.
  • A typical turkey will live on three farms during its lifetime. Each farm will provide the requirements of the three different stages of production. The farms are called breeder farms, hatcheries and turkey farms.
  • The domesticated turkey is a large poultry bird raised for food.
  • The turkey is reared throughout temperate parts of the world, and is a popular form of poultry, partially because industrialized farming has made it very cheap for the amount of meat it produces


  • Breeder flocks are kept to produce turkey chicks for rearing. The selective breeding of turkeys to produce huge amounts of breast meat has resulted in welfare problems in parent birds. Male breeding turkeys must now undergo the repeated stress of being ‘milked’ for semen collection, whilst females endure the process of catching and insemination by tube or syringe.
  • Turkey should be processed and stored at the proper temperatures to ensure that risk of foodborne illness is minimized. After processing, a carcass should be chilled to below 40ºF or frozen for later use. The Turkey should be taken off feed 8 to 10 hours prior to slaughter to reduce the amount of material in the digestive tract.


  • Turkey production in the United States for was 296 million. The number one production state was North Carolina with production of 63 million and Minnesota was second with production of 41.0 million.
  • The common turkey was probably first domesticated by the Indians of  pre-Columbian Mexico. The birds were first taken to Spain about 1519, and from Spain they spread throughout Europe, reaching England in 1541. When the birds became popular in England, they were called by the name turkey-cock, a name formerly used for the guinea fowl of Islamic lands.


  • Turkeys are marketed between 14 and 16 weeks of age. At this age turkey will typically weigh from 14.7 to 17.5 pounds.
  • Two hundred million turkeys a year, or 3.7 billion pounds at about 80 cents a pound, are sold to the American people, each of whom consumes an average of 13 1/2 pounds a year.


  • Turkey is estimated to produce about 50,000 MT of turkeys and 55,000 MT of spent hens and other poultry.
  • Among broilers, eggs, turkeys, and chickens, Salmonella contamination of ground turkey is highest at 49.9% prior to Pathogen Reduction and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (PR/HACCP) implementation and 26.6% after PR/HACCP implementation.

  • Female turkeys raised for slaughter in the U.S. are typically allotted 2.5 square-feet of space per bird, while toms are given a mere 3.5 square-feet of space each. The typical 50’ X 500’ factory farm warehouse holds approximately 10,000 hens or 7,000 toms.

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