Sunday, February 18, 2018

Before You Raise TURKEYS - Terminologies and Interesting Facts You Should Know

Wild Turkey - Photo: Pixabay
Ideally, before you raise turkeys, it is helpful that you know the terminologies and interesting facts about turkeys so that you wouldn't be thrown off guard when you read any related materials about turkeys. Raising turkeys on a small farm can be fun and profitable because they can be rotated like any other cash crop on your property. If you have a few acres that you could rotate pastured turkeys on, this could be a good side business for the small farmer.

Here are some terminologies to broaden your horizon when you raise turkeys:

Adult male turkey

Adult female turkey

Young one of turkey

Snood or Dew bill
The fleshy protuberance near the base of the beck

The fleshy protuberance on the head and neck usually pink or red in color which appears from about 5th week of age

A large flap skin is seen immediately below the chin

A tuft of hair attached to the skin of the upper chest region

Mating behavior of male turkey

Shooting the red
The development of caruncles and this is supposed to indicate the most difficult time in the life of young turkey

Poults should be debeaked to control feather picking and cannibalism. Debeaking can be done at day old or 3-5 weeks of age. Remove the beak at about one half the distance from nostril to the tip of the beak.

Removal of the snood or dewbill is to prevent the head injuries from picking and fighting. At the day old the snood can be removed by thumbnail or finger pressure. At 3 weeks of age, it can be cut off close to the head with sharp scissors.

Detoeing or toe clipping
Clipping is done at a day old by removing the tip of the toe just to the inside of the outer most toe pad including the entire toenail.

When most people think of a turkey they think of Thanksgiving dinner. While most who raise turkeys raise them for eating, some keep turkeys as a pet. And some do both, keep some as a pet while eating the others. There are many different breeds of turkeys, 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 turkey is the type eaten on Thanksgiving and they cannot fly. The domestic and wild turkeys are physically different. Domestic turkeys are much larger than the wild turkeys. Wild turkeys have brown tipped tails, while the domestic is white. A wild turkey is much faster than the domestic turkey. The fastest wild turkey can run up to 35 mph, while a full grown domestic turkeys pace is a slow walk (females are a little faster because they weigh less than the male). Wild Turkeys have better eyesight and hearing than domestic turkeys. Only male turkeys gobble, female turkeys make a clucking sound but cannot gobble. Only the male turkey can fan his tail feathers, females cannot.

The turkey's crop is also called the craw. When turkeys feed they swallow lots of food which is stored in their crop. They then go to a safe place to loaf and process the food. Before you raise turkeys too, you need to know that turkeys don't have teeth, but they grind their food (even hard seeds and nuts like acorns) in their second stomach, the gizzard. This is the muscular stomach below the crop which is the glandular stomach. Look for the gizzard in the giblet bag.

All commercial turkeys produced today are the white broad breasted turkey breed. This breed was first used for commercial turkey production in the late 1950's. By the late 1960's the majority of the industry used this turkey breed.

The cost of raising a turkey is affected by many factors, including buildings, equipment, labor, feed costs, and interest on loans. Feed costs amount to almost two-thirds of the cost of raising a turkey. Geographic location, degree of automation, and size of the farm all contribute to differences in the costs of raising turkeys.

    By Andrew Grey
    Andrew Grey is the author of "The Essential Beginners Guide To Raising Turkeys". If you would like to learn more tips on how to raise turkeys and avoid the costly mistakes. Learning the right path to start to raising turkeys is vital for new turkey owners.
    Don't forget to claim your FREE "Fast-Start Guide: What You Need To Know Before Raising Turkeys" eReport!
    Article Source: EzineArticles

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Fact Sheet: RED-TAILED HAWK - Buteo jamaicensis

(Original Title: Red-Tailed Hawk)

Female Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) eat...
Female Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) eating a squirrel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Red-tailed Hawk is the most common hawk in North America. It soars over the open country in search of its prey or perches in a tree at the edge of a field or meadow. With its sharp eyes peeled, it watches for the slightest movement signaling the presence of prey.

The Red-tailed Hawk is a large bird measuring 18 to 25 inches in length and has a wingspan of 37 to 52 inches. Its back, head, and throat are reddish-brown, and its chest and belly are white with brown streaks. Both the adult and immature birds have a prominent brown belly band that can be seen from a distance.

When perched, the coloration on the wings blends with the back, but when in flight, the pale underside is exposed. The wings have a dark bar at the leading edge and dark tips. Its broad tail is reddish-brown or rust colored on the top and pink below. The legs and feet are yellow.
The Red-tailed Hawk's coloration is variable depending on the subspecies, age, and habitat. The shape and color of the tail and the belly band are the best identification markers to look for in an adult.

The Red-tailed Hawk tolerates a wide range of habitats. It can be found in deserts, grasslands, deciduous and coniferous forests as well as tropical rainforests. Its preferred habitat is mixed forests and fields with cliffs or trees that can be used as perches. The Red-tailed Hawk can be found throughout North America except the arctic region.

Mating and Nesting Habits
The Red-tailed Hawk reaches sexual maturity at three years of age. Once he finds a mate, he will stay with her year after year only taking a new mate when the first one dies. The courtship ritual consists of aerial maneuvers with both flying in circles and shrilling loudly. The male will break off and shoot upward only to dive back down again. After climbing and diving several times, the male approaches the female from behind. He grabs her talons and the fight begins.

The pair uses and defends the same nesting area year after year. They build the nest together usually placing at least 12 feet off the ground. It's not uncommon for the Red-tailed Hawk to build its nest on a cliff ledge 35 or more feet in the air.

The nest is huge, sometimes 35 inches in diameter and can be up to 3 feet tall. It is built of twigs and lined with pine needles and other soft plant matter. The nest is kept clean with fresh plant matter throughout the breeding season.

The Red-tailed Hawk competes with several different birds, including the Great Horned Owl for nesting sites. It is not uncommon for one species to destroy the eggs and kill the young in a hostile takeover.

The female starts laying her eggs in April, producing one every other day. The eggs are a bluish-white and the clutch is composed of 1 to 5 eggs. Both the male and the female Red-tailed Hawk incubate the eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the female tends the hatchlings and the male hunts. He provides food for the chicks as well as his mate. After 42 to 46 days, the chicks begin leaving the nest for short flights. For the following 10 weeks, they continue to depend on their parents while they learn to fly and to hunt.

Feeding Habits
The Red-tailed Hawk is carnivorous. Its diet is mainly composed of small mammals such as rabbits and rodents. It will also prey on snakes, lizards, birds, and fish. It is an opportunistic feeder and feed on whatever is available. It usually hunts from an elevated perch. Once its spotted prey, it swoops down and seizes it. It will even snatch a bird right out of the air.

The Red-tailed Hawk soars rather than continuously flapping its wings. The strokes are deep and slow. During the regular flight they average 20 to 40 mph, but when diving after prey it can reach speeds of close to 120 mph.

The Red-tailed Hawk's harsh kk-eee-er is often described as a scream.

Conservation Status
It is protected in the United States, Mexico, and Canada by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Interesting Trivia
o The Red-tailed Hawk displays sexual dimorphism. The female is 25% larger than the male.
o The Red-tailed Hawk is a popular bird in falconry.
o The feathers of the Red-tailed Hawk are considered sacred by some Native American tribes.
o Their eyes are keen. The Red-tailed Hawk can spot a mouse a mile away.
o The Red-tailed Hawk can live up to 20 years in the wild.

Friday, February 16, 2018

8 Basic Guides To TRAINING Your PET BIRD

Bailey Bird
Photo by Jen’s Art&Soul

You brought home with you a beautiful Macaw, you’ve done your research and got it what it needs to be a happy bird. Now its time to train your pet bird to do all the neat tricks you’ve adorned from a distance in envy. Where to start? Here are some basic training tips for those of you who recently brought in a feathered friend.

The more you spend time with your pet bird the more you will become familiar with their unique personality. Like humans, these birds possess unique personalities that tell you how they feel in their own special ways.

1. Have you ever had trouble concentrating during long class hours or business meetings? Like people birds get bored too, so keep the training session short. 10 minutes are about the ideal length in retaining your bird’s attention.

2. Comfort and familiarity are important to birds too if you’re using props to train your bird then leave them near the cage and let the bird warm up to those items.

3. Once again, birds are like people in that they can’t concentrate very well with distractions. Turn the TV and your stereo off when you’re training your pet and try to find a quiet place away from the cage. If the bird, however, has some insecurities or is frightened you should probably keep the bird near the cage to let it feel secure.

4. We all remember things better when there’s a reward involved. (Remember that gold star you got for turning the homework in on time back in elementary school?) Find a treat that your feathered friend will be rewarded with if it performs a trick correctly. The treat doesn’t necessarily have to be food but if you do choose to give your pet something to eat, make sure it’s small and something that is easily consumed. Though praises or a good head scratch is always preferred.

5. Consistency is the key to success. Try to train your bird same time every day. That way your bird has something to look forward to and can get used to the routine.

6. Try to avoid your pet from developing bad habits. Biting can be avoided by keeping your hands out of beak range when training your bird. That way your bird won’t be as tempted to take a bite out of your finger.

7. If your bird starts to misbehave don’t get intimidated, remain calm and stay close until the bird calms down. You can leave when the bird has stopped stirring, this way it teaches your pet that acting out won’t get it what it wants.

8. Remember that each bird behaves differently and all birds require patience and commitment. Don’t expect for your bird to behave like a Harvard student after one or two training sessions. With abundant affection and consistent training, your bird will learn to build bonds with you and perform tricks.

By Roy Tanaka - Article Source: EzineArticles

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Red Throated Conure - A Guide For Care and Health

Red Throated Conure - Photo by crazyanimal 
If you have a Red Throated Parrot, you have a very rare and beautiful pet bird. To raise and enjoy your bird, you must be willing to be patient, work hard, and dedicate a lot of your time. But you will be rewarded with the affection of an incredibly colorful and personable companion.

Here is a guide for its care and health that will help you enjoy a long and wonderful life together.


The Red-Throated Conure will thrive on fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Supplement this with a high-quality pellet mix. Table food is also good including eggs, pasta, bread, crackers. Nuts make an excellent treat when given occasionally.

Don’t forget to vary their diets to keep their interest high. And try to make their food as visually appealing as possible by mixing different colors and textures.

One of the most nutritious food sources is sprouted seeds. They are low in fat as they sprout and offer a different set of nutrients daily as they continue to grow. They are truly a food that keeps on giving. You can buy seeds that are already sprouted, or you can opt to do it yourself. But they are a wonderful investment in the health of your Conure.

Avoid avocado, peanuts, caffeine, chocolate, rhubarb and foods that are high in sugar and salt. These can prove to be fatal.

Living Quarters

The bigger the cage, the happier your Red Throated beauty will be. The cage should be large enough for your bird to spread its wings fully in any direction that it faces. A variety of horizontal perches at different levels will allow for climbing, but they must not cramp your Conure’s ability to spread its wings inside the cage.

They also need to spend several hours a day outside the cage. Providing your bird with play areas and perches outside the cage in an area that is bird safe is an excellent way to keep your bird fit, engaged, socialized, and healthy.

Human Interaction

Making a happy home for this parrot means dedicating several hours of your day each day to interact with your bird. This can include talking, petting, training, or just hanging out together as you read, pay bills, watch TV, or work on your laptop.

Scheduling this time every day will increase the level of trust between bird and owner and will help your bird remain tame and relaxed around you and other family members.

Because they are members of a flock in the wild, they need and expect this social interaction. By spending this time with your bird, you are more likely to avoid behavioral issues such as aggression, feather plucking, and screaming.

If you are unable to dedicate at least this amount of time with your Conure, choose another bird as its companion, or rethink your choice of bird.

Disease Prevention

Red Throated Conures are subject to a number of diseases. And even though there is no guarantee, there are many things that you can do to lessen the chance that disease and infection will cut your Red Throated Conure‘s life short.

Schedule an appointment at least every 6 months with an avian vet. Remove fresh food from the cage after an hour to reduce the chance of your bird ingesting mold and mildew that has grown on the food. Clean the cage daily to eliminate small pieces of dried droppings from becoming an airborne and potentially spreading disease.

Filter your bird’s air to keep its air passages clear by removing a large number of airborne pollutants that are present with a bird in captivity. Filtering the air continuously will help your Red Throated Conure avoid respiratory infections that can be so deadly.

Author: Debbie Davis - Source:

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Ugly(?) turkeyThe turkey is a large bird, native to North America. It is distinguished by its white plumage and a bare wattled neck and head. The name turkey was first applied to the guinea fowl that was thought to have originated in Turkey. However, the American turkey is a quite different species from the guinea fowl, though the name remained. In fact, the wild turkey was a staple food in the North American diet. It was known as a "Peru" in the 18th century. Some common breeds of turkey are Narragansett, Bronze, White Holland, and Bourbon Red.

There are three stages in Raising Turkeys: the breeder farm, the hatchery, and the turkey farm. The breeder farm is the place where the hen lays the eggs. These eggs are collected and sent to the hatchery. In the hatchery, the eggs are kept in special incubators after cleaning. These incubators provide the right temperature and humidity levels for allowing the eggs to hatch. Generally, turkey eggs take 28 days to hatch. The baby turkeys, also known as poults, are kept in the hatchery until they are moved to the turkey farms. 

In the turkey farms, the hen turkeys and the tom turkeys are reared separately. The poults should be fed properly and watched carefully, at least until they shed their down feathers and get the outer feathers. For this, they are put in climate-controlled barns that have soft flooring covered with straw or wood chips. They are fed on a soft powdered mixture of soybean, corn, and wheat. Other nutrients like barley, milk powder, meat meal, limestone, salt, vitamin premix, methionine, lysine and insoluble grit can also be added. Adequate water should also be provided.

Today, many advances have been made in the genetics of turkeys. This has helped to increase the size of the bird with lesser feed and in lesser time. The white broad-breasted turkey has been the most common commercially raised turkey breed, since the 1960s. There are also different strains of the white broad-breasted turkey that are reared in different parts of North America. Turkeys are bred specially to have more meat in the breast and thighs. White feathered turkeys are generally preferred since they do not leave any ugly pigment spots when plucked.

Turkeys take around 4-5 months to grow to full size. Birds less than 8 months of age are known as young turkeys. The hen turkeys take 16 weeks to mature completely and average around 8 to 16 lbs in weight. The tom turkey takes around 19 weeks and weighs anywhere between 16 and 24 lbs. Larger tom turkeys may weigh up to 40 lbs. These take a few more weeks to mature. A breeder tom turkey can generate up to 1,500 poults in a hen's six-month laying cycle.

Turkeys are given a balanced diet comprising mainly of soybean and corn. This is also supplemented with minerals and vitamins. A 30-pound tom turkey (male) needs around 84 lbs of feed on an average. The cost of the feed is generally 2/3 of the total cost. Use of growth hormones for Raising Turkeys is banned. Sometimes, antibiotics are also given to turkeys to prevent diseases and to increase feed efficiency. The quantity of antibiotics to be given and the withdrawal period are determined by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service). 

The turkey's health is inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or other state systems, and it may also be graded for quality. Turkeys that have been on antibiotics are not allowed to be processed for some time until the residue of the medicine has cleared from the body. Turkey farms are generally comfortable, providing shelter from harsh weather, predators, and disease.