Turkey Nest

Turkey breeding farming: "The mother animals are very different".

3 min read published on 26 March 2021

"Turkey breeder farmers are very different from chicken breeding farmers, they talk about individual animals like cows. After all, a turkey hen is expensive, you have to invest a lot and have relatively high costs. Then it is logical to look at it differently."

Peter-Bart Lichtenbeld is Region Sales Director at Vencomatic Group, he has a lot of experience with Vencomatic's turkey nests. Because of that, he also knows a lot about the differences between keeping breeder hens and broiler breeder hens. Like about the fertilisation: "The mating of turkey hens does not happen naturally, but the hens are inseminated, which is very labour intensive. And that's why there are no males in the house."

Turkey-Nest-(5)
Why is this different with turkey breeder hens?

"A turkey male weighs as much as 25 kilos, they can't mate naturally so farmers have to 'milk' them every week. You also have to keep a close eye on turkey hens, if they see an egg they want to sit on it. With our system, the egg therefore rolls immediately out of the nest onto the egg belt."

"Our founder Cor van de Ven started with turkey nests back in 1984. He worked together with some Dutch turkey breeder farms to develop the littered turkey laying nest. Turkey hens are very different from broiler breeder hens. So we got the idea to make a roll away nest, the hen lays her egg on a rubber mat and from there it rolls to an egg belt, where it lies safe and protected. You don't have to push the egg to a conveyor belt with an arm, like with other systems. This saves extra handling and reduces the risk of breakage."

 

What is different with turkey breeding hens?

"The turkey nest is an individual mechanical laying nest, over a length of 2.30m it consists of 6 compartments where in each compartment one turkey can lay its egg. Via a self closing trap the nest is closed, so that another turkey cannot enter the nest. This prevents stress among the animals and the possibility of eggs being damaged in the oviduct. This is not the case with chicken breeders, which is why they can be kept in family mechanical nests."

"Turkey hens are also more difficult to get to the nest, they are more stubborn than chickens. So you have to use a good nest and do your management well. They are also not the smartest animals, farmers often put marbles in the water during rearing period so that they can find it better because of the glitter. A chicken is much more likely to see the water."

 

What is special about Vencomatic's turkey nests?

"The turkey breeding industry is very labour intensive. With manual collecting, the turkeys have to be taken manually off the nest every hour, otherwise they quickly become broody. This causes them to stop laying eggs. If customers use an automatic nest from us, the hens are taken off the nest automatically, several times a day. This saves a lot of time and labour. Due to the tipping floor and perforated eggbelt, they have more and cleaner hatching eggs and the percentage of broken eggs is considerably lower. So the Vencomatic turkey nest is friendly to the animal and to the egg."

"Keeping turkey breeders is a trade. A turkey hen eats much more than a chicken breeder and is more sensitive to moist soil. That is why a lot of bedding material is used, which is often changed every week."

"The egg-laying cycle of a turkey hen, in all lines, is around 24 weeks. So in a year, 2 flocks are possible. You have a duopoly in the world market in the development of turkeys: Hybrid Turkeys from Hendrix Genetics and Aviagen Turkeys. They have different lines. But for all lines applies: turkey hens can become broody very quickly, which can damage profitability. So our mechanic automatic rollaway nest can help you to minimise broodiness."

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Published by

Edwin Vlems
Edwin Vlems is Marketing Manager at Vencomatic Group

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