There does not seem to be much variation in different genetics among meat type commercial turkeys. Unlike the swine industry, the turkey world has two choices of genetic companies from which to purchase poults. Producer’s choices are a Nicholas or Hybrid when purchasing poults for their farms. At the same time, many growers feed the same ration to both types of turkeys on their farm. However, there are differences in nutrition requirements between the two different turkeys. It is important that producers are meeting these nutritional needs properly in order for the birds grow to their genetic potential.
Although the two genetics are similar, their differences re-quire the use of different diets. If you are under-feeding amino acids the birds aren’t reaching the full growth of their genetic potential. Conversely, over-feeding amino acids can have an impact on your bottom dollar. On starter diets, Nicholas birds have a requirement for lysine, arginine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, isoleucine, methionine+ cysteine. However the hybrid bird has a higher requirement for methionine. This trend in difference among methionine requirements remains the same for the rest of the grower phases of the hybrid birds. While the rest of the required essential amino acids vary among differences.
When considering commercial performance objectives, Nicholas birds have a larger harvest weight potential than that of a hybrid bird. Thus, the energy requirements differ among the different genetic types. From start to finish the Nicholas bird has a higher requirement for energy. Not meeting those energy needs can result in a slower growth phase. Conversely, over feeding energy can lead to other issues during the finishing stages of the bird’s life. Over feeding or under feeding energy can mean the loss of valuable dollars at the end of the feeding periods. It is crucial that proper energy is being met to achieve proper genetic growth potential.
The two genetic types of birds need different vitamin and mineral supplementation levels to prevent major issues including meeting growth and development goals.
A one-size ration is not the best choice when feeding turkeys. If you are feeding both Hybrid and Nicholas birds on your farm, it is important to feed two separate rations to meet the proper nutrient requirements of that particular bird. Feed cost is the largest expense of raising turkeys and it is imperative costly ingredients are not over or under fed. Consult with your nutritionist and to ensure that nutrient requirements are met, as that could improve your overall bottom dollar on your farm!