Turkey birds farming is gradually gaining popularity in Rajshahi region as it is more profitable than other poultry farms along with low farming costs, taking less space for rearing the birds and less risk of diseases.
Ashraful Islam of Dargapara area under Bagmara Upazila has been operating a turkey bird farm successfully. After starting the business with 45 birds, he's now the owner of 120 birds worth around Taka 3.5 lakh with gap of only three to four months.
"With my curiosity, I had bought turkey chicks from Joypurhat and they started laying eggs at the age of three months," Islam said, adding that the eggs are being hatched in incubator machine."I am earning around Taka one lakh through selling both adult birds and chicks per month," he continued with smiling face.
Like him, many others including youths and housewives have brought happiness in their respective families through turkey birds farming in the region.
Azizul Alam Bentu, a turkey bird farmer in Haragram area of Rajshahi city, said farming of the bird is suitable for small and marginal farmers as it can be easily grown in an open space or under semi-intensive system.
He said, "I started my farm with 43 turkey chicks a year ago. In nine months, I started selling chicks and eggs." He also said that currently there are 365 big turkey birds, 250 chicks in his farm. He gets 75 to 80 eggs per day.
Bentu said that many people, specially youths and housewives are building farms taking eggs and chicks from him. Every day, people come from neighboring areas to take eggs, chicks and advice about turkey farming.
He said one pair chick aged one month can be sold at Tk 2,000, and for two months, it can be sold at Tk 3,000.
Additional District Livestock Officer Dr Zulfikar Akhter Hossain said turkey birds grow very fast in a short duration. Currently, every kilogram of turkey meat in the market is being sold at Tk 500 to Tk 550.
In five months, the weight of a turkey bird stands five to six-kg, whose market value is TK 3000 to 3500.
Besides, the expenditure of turkey farming is very low. The turkeys eat the same foods that are available in the market for other poultry chicken. Turkey birds also eat grass and vegetables. As a result, farmers do not have to depend only on market's food.
Hossain added that it can be kept in open areas. The possibility of contracting diseases to turkey birds is less. So it needs less medicine.
Professor Dr Jalal Uddin Sarder of Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Rajshahi University said the turkey bird farming is gaining popularity among youths and housewives in the area.
Commercial turkey farms have been developed in the city area and its outskirts as well as different upazilas in the district. More than 70 turkey farms have been established here in last one year. Besides, many people have started keeping the bird in their houses in small-scale.
Dr Sarder said substantial and sustainable farming of the birds can be the vital means of poverty reduction with ensuring the supply of safe and quality poultry meat and eggs. Meat of turkey birds contain very low-fat, so its consumption is good for health.