Association News


Meet a Turkey Farmer

Let’s talk turkey. Did you know there’s a lot of turkeys in North Carolina? 32.5 million to be exact! Raising that many turkeys makes North Carolina #2 in the country for raising the most turkeys behind Minnesota. Sampson County raises the most turkeys in North Carolina.

Speaking of raising turkeys, what’s it like to raise turkeys? We caught up with a few farmers to find out. Meet Anniston and Ashton from Clinton, NC.

At 7:30 am these little farmers start their day. They’ve got 32,000 turkeys to take care of! Their turkeys are kept in barns to keep them safe from predators and weather. In the barns, there are lots of feeders and waters for the turkeys to use. They feed their turkeys special feed that is made from corn, soybeans, and other minerals and nutrients. It is made especially for turkeys from a nutritionist to help the turkeys stay healthy and grow.

Anniston and Ashton help their parents make sure everything works like it should. They also till the turkey bedding to make the turkeys more comfortable. They keep the turkeys for around 12 weeks until they are all grown up.

For Ashton and Anniston, they love everything about the farm! They especially like helping their family and riding the four-wheeler.

Now that you’ve met a few turkey farmers, let’s learn a few more turkey facts:

  • A boy turkey is called a tom and a girl is a hen. Babies are called poults.
  • Most farmers raise broad-breasted white turkeys, but there are also bronze, red, gray, and even black turkeys!
  • Domestic tom turkeys can grow to more than 50 pounds, but most are an average of 38 pounds. Hens are normally around 14 pounds.
  • Turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving. It’s a great protein all year round! On average, Americans eat 17 pounds of turkey a year.
  • You can tell a turkey’s mood by their head color which changes from red to blue, red and white.
  • Only boy turkeys gobble. Male turkeys also have beards on their chests.

Now, let’s hear your gobbles. Can you cluck like a hen or gobble like a tom?

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