The Domestic turkey is classed in the taxonomic order of Galliformes. The female (hen) is smaller than the male (tom or gobbler) and is much less colourful. They are raised throughout the world and there are around ten million turkeys in Canada (Poultry and Egg Statistics, 2009) which makes it a 388 million dollar business. The average lifespan for a domesticated turkey is ten years. The incubation period is 28 days. Hens are harvested at about 14 weeks and toms at about 18 weeks. Approximately two to four billion pounds of poultry feathers are produced every year by the poultry industry. Most are ground into filler for animal feed or used for knitting. Broad-breasted White, Broad-breasted Bronze, Bourbon Red, Slate, or Blue Slate, Black, Narragansett, Beltsville small white, Midget White are the common breeds listed in the American Standards of Perfection (1905).</li></ul> Artificial insemination is commonly employed to obtain desired fertility levels. In natural mating, a male female ratio of 1:5 to 10 is desirable. The average age at first egg is around 30 weeks. The average egg production is around 100 eggs/hen turkey/year weighing around 75-80 g. It is noticeably pointed at one end with strong shell, palatable and as nutritious as chicken eggs. Turkeys are traditionally eaten as the main course of Christmas feasts in much of the world, as well as during Thanksgiving. The white meat of turkey is generally considered healthier than dark meat because of its lower fat content, but the nutritional differences are small. Although most commonly used as fertilizer, Turkey litter is 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. <br />References <br /><ul><li>American Poultry Association. American Standard of Perfection. 1905 from the Harvard University Press, digital version (2008) from Google Books. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ turkey_breeds
Poultry and Egg Statistics. 2009 Statistics Canada . Available at http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/23-015-x/2009002/t003-eng.htm</li></ul>2. FOWLS<br />The production of broiler meat and eggs is an important source of farm income in Canada. The Poultry and Egg Statistics 2009 reported that there were around 6.39 billion chickens in the Country. This accounts for around 8% of the total farm cash receipts. Proudfoot et al (1991) reported that about two-thirds of the cash income of poultry farmers came from the sale of poultry meat. The basic white egg producing breed is the White Leghorn, while brown eggs are produced by hybrids, most notably the Rhode Island Red, Barred Plymouth Rock and New Hampshire. The commercial white egg layer is white feathered and weighs about 1.8 kg. Brown egg layers are coloured and weigh slightly more. Laying chickens produce 300 to 340 eggs during the 12 to 13 months they are in lay. They are expected to produce one dozen eggs for every 1.55 kg of feed. Broiler birds are produced from crosses that originally involved White Plymouth Rock and/or New Hampshire for the dams’ side and Cornish for the sire. The commercial broiler is white feathered, fast growing, vigorous and well fleshed. Chicken broilers are generally slaughtered when 35 days old, at a live weight of 2.1 kg. They require 1.8 kg of feed to produce 1 kg live weight. Currently, 2 international companies supply the large majority of the industrial market for both layer and broiler chickens. <br />Besides improving the production and marketing of poultry meat, broiler producers and processors have helped to create many new supporting enterprises. These include feed mills that prepare special poultry diets, plants that manufacture special processing equipment and packaging materials, specialty chicken shops and restaurants, food processing plants, and plants that make useful products such as fertilizers from broiler by-products.<br /> References <br /><ul><li>Poultry and Egg Statistics. 2009 Statistics Canada . Available at http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/23-015-x/2009002/t003-eng.htm.
Proudfoot, F.G., Hamilton, R.M.G., DeWitt, W.F. and Jansen, H.N. (1991) Raising chicken and turkey broilers in Canada. Agriculture Canada Publication 1860/E. Research Program Service http://dsp-.psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collection/A63-1860-1991E.pdf.