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How Much Does It Cost to Raise a Turkey from Birth to Processing?

According to industry experts, it will cost around $30 – $50 to raise a turkey from birth to processing depending on its breed.

For instance, a broad-breasted turkey will need around 16 weeks and cost $42.90 to raise, while a heritage-breed turkey will take 28 weeks and cost $52.49 to raise.

Broad-breasted White are known as the most commonly domesticated breed of turkey and they are raised to produce more breast meat and meatier thighs and are easily identified by their white feathers. Other variations are also bred in niche markets.

As per industry reports, it takes 75 – 80 pounds of feed on average to raise a 38-pound tom turkey. You will also want to note that feed ingredients make up almost two-thirds of the expenses that go into raising a turkey.

Advancements in production methods have further reduced the time it requires for turkeys to reach maturity. A hen tends to take 14 weeks and weighs 15.5 pounds when processed, but a tom takes close to 18 weeks to attain a market weight of 38 pounds.

Hens are usually processed and sold as whole birds, while toms are further processed into products like cutlets, tenderloins, turkey sausage, turkey franks, and deli meats.

To guarantee production continuity, laying hens are artificially inseminated in a well-monitored environment. Within a 25-week laying cycle, a hen tends to lay 80-100 eggs. 

Once the cycle comes to an end, the hen is more or less “spent” and then processed. It is possible to find breeders who would prefer to molt the hen (allow a resting period) before another production cycle.

Factors That Influence the Cost of Raising a Turkey from Birth to Processing

There are a whole lot of factors that will determine the exact cost of raising a turkey from birth to processing. Those factors include;

1. Breeds

This is one of the primary factors that will determine the exact cost of raising a turkey from birth to processing. Keep in mind that some breeds of turkey tend to grow faster and are cheaper to raise.

2. Feed Costs

Truth be told; feed ingredients make up almost two-thirds of the expenses that go into raising a turkey. The amount you spend on turkey feed is known to fluctuate depending on critical things like conditions and the quality of feed used.

3. Housing and Equipment

Just as was noted above, modern farmers in the United States are breeding turkeys in well-designed, environmentally controlled barns that guarantee adequate protection against elements such as predators, disease, and weather extremes. Owing to that, the exact type of housing and equipment utilized to raise turkeys will impact your general expenses.

4. Labor Costs

There will be other pertinent costs that come with turkey care, such as feeding, cleaning, and health management. Note that the exact amount you pay to guarantee good health and hygiene for the turkey will vary depending on the size of the operation as well as the wage rates within your location.

5. Healthcare

To ensure you make the most of your investment, your turkey will have to be in premium health and meaty enough to attract a good price. As such, when considering the cost of raising your turkey, ensure to account for the cost of vaccines, medications, and veterinary care.

6. Utilities

Same as with many other agricultural businesses, there are vital utilities needed to ensure that your livestock are healthy and remain in premium condition. These expenses will have to include things like electricity, heating, and water.

7. Transportation

You will want to take this expense into consideration especially if there is a need to transport the turkeys from your facility to processing facilities. In this line of business, transportation costs can add up really quickly.

8. Processing Fees

Don’t neglect the costs that come with processing the turkeys. Most often and in a good number of facilities, you will have to pay for the slaughtering and packaging of the turkeys.

9. Economic Factors

Keep in mind that economic factors such as inflation rates, currency exchange rates, as well as overall economic conditions can directly impact how much you pay for things like feed and equipment. All these will determine your overall expenses at the end of the day.

10. Regulations

Agricultural businesses, especially those that deal with the rearing and raising of livestock, are expected to stay in line with certain regulations. Complying with both local, state, and federal regulations will indeed add to your overall costs.

11. Scale of Operation

You would want to take the size of your farm operation into consideration because it will factor when determining your overall expenses.

Same as with other livestock rearing businesses, the size of the turkey farming operation, be it small-scale or large-scale, will have a direct impact due to the economies of scale it offers you as well as the overall costs.