All About: Turkey!

Whether it be enjoying a big turkey dinner during the holidays, or simply enjoying a turkey sandwich, turkey is a staple in many people’s diet. But how much do you know about turkey and turkey production? Durham Farm Connections is passionate about teaching the public about the food they are eating, and how farmers produce it. Ontario produces 45% of all turkeys grown in Canada! Today, we will be talking all about turkey!

Turkey-A nutritional SUPEROOD!

Turkey is a tasty, lean protein that is naturally low in cholesterol and provides essential nutrients such as niacin, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12, which help booster heart health while lowering cancer risks. In fact, turkey is such a nutritional powerhouse that it is the only meat protein to have every been labeled a superfood.

TURKEY FACT: A Hen is an adult, female turkey. They make a “clicking” sound but don’t gobble
So, where do they live? 

Turkeys are raised in specially designed, environmentally controlled barns that provide protection from predators, disease and bad weather conditions. Turkeys are not kept in cages and are free to roam on floors that are covered with soft bedding. The environment is monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure access to feed and water, adequate, lighting, temperature, air quality, and space per bird.

Day old turkey’s (poults) come from the hatchery and are placed in a Brooding Barn, where they are kept warm and given special care for the first five to six weeks of life.

Turkeys are then moved into a growing barn. There is plenty of space to move about and birds stay here till they grow to their market weight!

TURKEY FACT: Poults are young turkeys from hatchlings until they are 14 day old. Poults are covered with a soft yellow “down” and make a peeping noise.

What do Turkey’s eat?

Ever wondered what Turkey’s eat? Turkeys are fed nutritionally balanced diets of mixed grains and oil seeds, which typically include corn, wheat, barley, soybean meal and canola meal. This helps with healthy growth and development. Turkeys have free access to feed 24 hours a day, which means they can help themselves to food or water anytime.



In Canada Turkeys are not given hormones or steroids. The have been prohibited for over 30 years!


How do farmers care for their turkeys? 

Consumers and farmers alike want to ensure that birds are cared for in the most humane way possible. To ensure safety and care standards are being met, all farmers who raise Turkeys in Canada must meet or exceed the national standards outlined in the National Farm Animal Care Councils (NFACC) code of practice for the care and handling of hatching eggs, breeders, chicken and turkeys. This code of practice was developed by the Canadian poultry industry, along with researchers, retailers, the Canadian Federation of Humane societies and The Federal Government. Its purpose is to ensure that the highest standards of bird care, health and welfare are met by Canadian farmers.  It outlines;

  • Optimal Housing
  • Transportation Practices
  • Processing Practices

In addition to the code of practice, Turkey Farmers of Canada has also developed and implemented an auditable National Flock Care Program (FCP) to complement and augment the code. The FCP applies the code of practices and requires that all farmers keep detailed on-farm records and documentation that verifies that they are meeting all requirements to properly handle and care for their birds.

TURKEY FACT: Toms are adult male turkeys. Only toms make the famous “gobble gobble” sound.

Turkey farmers in Durham Region, Ontario and all of Canada work hard to ensure that you can have safe, healthy delicious turkey to enjoy all year round. For more information on turkey, visit Here you can find delicious turkey recipes, read about real Ontario turkey farmers and learn about all thing’s turkey!

Durham Farm Connections is a volunteer organization passionate about engaging the Durham Region community in conversation about all things farming and food. For more information on agriculture in Durham, check out Durham Farm Connections on Facebook @durhamfarmconnections and on Instagram @farmconnections 

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Buying Local Food

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