One of the most productive turkey breeds, the Big 6, was born thanks to the work of British breeders and is highly regarded by poultry farmers around the world. Impressive appearance, rapid body weight gain, intensive growth of young stock - all these qualities were formed through a long journey of trial and error. But the result exceeded all expectations: keeping and caring at home in the case of these birds is not difficult. Growing chicks to the desired weight is also very quick. And the reviews about the content of Big-6 turkeys are one of the most laudatory.
Description and origin of the breed
Large and fleshy Big-6 turkeys are distinguished by an impressive appearance, the description of the breed from the very beginning declares their leadership ambitions. But the cross was bred relatively recently - in 2008, and it managed to gain wide popularity mainly among European farmers. The breeding work was carried out using Big-5 females and But-6 males.
The resulting broilers acquired early maturity and many other characteristics necessary for breeding poultry on an individual farm or on a farm.
Among the distinctive features that these broiler birds are endowed with are the following.
- Heavy, massive body.
- Snow-white plumage. Males are more lush.
- All individuals have a black speck on their chest.
- Compact head on a long neck.
- Wide back without curves.
- Deep, protruding rib cage with well-defined muscles.
- Large wings.
- Large feet that can support the impressive weight of adult birds well.
- Coral skin folds on the neck, scarlet earrings, whose length during arousal can reach 15 cm.
The standard weight of an adult turkey is 20-24 kg, turkeys are half as light, their weight does not exceed 12 kg. Broilers gain the main muscle mass by the age of six months, then the growth of adipose tissue is already underway. Among the features of the big-6 broiler cross, one can note its good adaptation for home breeding. The bird easily tolerates the Russian climate, does not require complex care.
Its meat belongs to the dietary category, has excellent taste.
In addition, eggs, valuable down and feathers, which are light and soft, can be obtained from the bird. It is important to note that big-6 turkeys grow only up to 100 days, their further maintenance has no practical meaning. The total meat yield from an adult animal is up to 80%, with more than a third of the breast, the most delicious part of the carcass.
Differences from other species
All breeding breeds included in the list of big crosses are characterized by fast weight gain and maximum weight gain. Big-6 and Big-8 belong to the wide-breasted direction of selection, but the first option is considered predominantly meat, while the second can be called meat and egg, females demonstrate egg production up to 150 pcs. for half a year.
But-8 is allocated to the line of low-weight turkeys, but broilers still show quite impressive body weight indicators.
Big-9s differ from these two types in the average weight gain. A heavy cross of this type grows up to 21.75 kg. It is worth noting that all three varieties of poultry poultry were bred by British United Turkeys Limited and have obvious common features. The main difference between the big-6 cross and other species is the maximum intensity of weight gain. If you need exactly the maximum yield of meat, you should choose only this breed.
Distinguished by early maturity, Big-6 turkeys demonstrate excellent weight gain. Already three-month-old males weigh about 5 kg, five-month-old - more than 10 kg of live weight. Poultry is usually slaughtered from 4 to 6 months of age until it begins to gain fat. In the first months of life, the growth dynamics is calculated in weeks:
- seven-day-old chicks, regardless of gender, weigh 160 grams;
- at 2 weeks males reach 390 g, females - 360 g;
- four-week-old birds gain 1.03 - 1.22 kg, depending on gender;
- from the fifth week, the standard weight gain is at least 650 g, males can gain up to 900 g in a seven-day period of time.
The egg production of turkeys during the season reaches 110 eggs per season, there are 6-8 females per male. When growing a non-meat line of birds, you have to wait for the moment of their puberty - it occurs at 6-7 months.
The maternal instinct of the bird is well developed, it demonstrates readiness for incubation, willingly settles in the proposed nest.
Advantages and disadvantages
Among the obvious advantages of the Big-6 turkey cross is :
- the status of the largest meat producer;
- the optimal ratio of the costs of growing and the volume of the resulting product;
- high quality feathers and down that can be used in industrial production;
- good egg production, well above average;
- lethal yield is about 80%.
Not without its drawbacks. The disadvantages include the absurd nature of the bird, which can be quite difficult to cope with as it grows up. In addition, young growth is extremely sensitive to dampness, needs a warm room for growth, protected from drafts, and requires immunoprophylaxis.
Conditions for maintenance and care
With the industrial keeping of the Big-6 turkey cross, they create spacious poultry houses without window openings, daylight hours for at least 12 hours are provided by special lamps. Broiler rearing is often done in a cage manner. In households, Big-6 turkeys also do not cause much trouble. When they are kept outside, they are driven into the poultry house only at night, allowing them to receive additional pasture during the day.
This allows you to maintain a healthy backbone, which is under serious pressure in a rapidly growing livestock.
Features of the poultry house
When creating a poultry house on the site, it is recommended to use durable materials, brick or concrete, allowing further preventive sanitization. If there are windows, they are equipped with gratings, the aviary also requires a stationary roof - adult birds fly well. The poultry house floor is covered with a thick layer of straw and sawdust to provide a comfortable bedding for heavy birds. Peat can be added to winter flooring for additional heat generation.
As it becomes dirty, the litter is replaced, and wet areas are removed.
The door for turkeys in the house of the poultry house is located quite high from the floor - at a distance of 15 cm.Inside the room, you need to equip high (from 100 cm) perches made of solid timber. In addition, a nesting house is equipped, one for 4-5 layers. For adult birds, the indoor temperature is maintained at about +15 degrees. For bathing, containers filled with sand and ash are provided for cleaning feathers from parasites. Due to the scandalous, quarrelsome nature of the Big-6 turkeys, they need a separate placement, away from other birds.
Adult males must be separated to avoid fights, aggression towards the owner.
Heat-loving birds need protection from drafts and cold, artificial lighting in winter. Ventilation is carried out using a forced ventilation system. The area of the house should be from 1 m2 per head, the house requires daily cleaning. The water changes twice a day - in it the birds rinse their beaks after eating. Special feeders with shell rock, coarse sand should be installed.
There are ready-made diagrams and tables that allow you to compose the optimal diet for broiler Big-6 turkeys. But it is important to remember that it is necessary to feed the chicks separately from the adult bird. For young animals, starting compound feed is used, which includes all the necessary additives. From the fifth day, natural food is introduced. The optimal daily feed contains fresh herbs and cottage cheese, which provide a supply of protein and fiber. Recommended supplements include:
- fish or meat and bone meal;
- dandelion leaves, nettle;
- feathers of onions and garlic;
- chalk feed.
It is recommended to periodically solder the poultry with yeast mash, as well as warm fermented milk mixtures from skim milk, yogurt. From the fourth month of life, vegetables are introduced into the feed - potatoes, beets. Root crops are given in a mixture with grain feed, carefully chopping them. You should not offer youngsters zucchini, pumpkin - they provoke an upset stomach.
Babies of the first week of life are mixed with vitamin D3 on the 6th day, they are given it again on the 56th day.
An adult bird is fed a factory-made ready-made food specially developed for turkeys. But if there is no opportunity to purchase it, you can prepare meals yourself. Grain components are necessarily ground in a crusher to facilitate their digestion. A standard diet should include:
- 1/3 part of crushed wheat (barley can be used instead to accelerate weight gain);
- soybeans and corn;
- fish meal 1/10 part;
- crushed shells and shell rock;
- premix of vitamins and minerals.
Big-6 turkey poults are hatched in incubators, offspring from the producers of this breed do not fully inherit the characteristics of their parents. Chicks when kept in large quantities without a turkey can huddle at night, which leads to the death of weak individuals. In this regard, it is required to place young animals in brooder boxes in small groups, 10-15 individuals each, to provide additional heating, to use covering materials with good air permeability.
For novice poultry breeders, it is recommended to purchase daily or grown turkey poults. It is better to acquire hatching eggs with some experience. It will not be easy to raise a livestock of young animals from them. And the incubation itself will take a long time. The recommended temperature regime for keeping turkey poults in the first days of life is at least +30 degrees with a humidity of 72-74%. Further, these indicators are gradually reduced, and by the end of the first month the young live in the pen at standard indicators.
It is recommended to maintain the humidity at the level of 60-52%, the temperature in the range from +20 to +22 degrees.
Free range is an important component of successful breeding of Big 6 turkeys. Walks in warm weather are recommended for five-day-old turkeys. But in wet weather, it is better to leave them without exercise - the first month of life, birds are sensitive to dampness, they can catch a cold and die.
Incubation of young stock
It is recommended to lay turkey eggs in the incubator in the summer months, in this case the young livestock will gain maximum weight just in time for the New Year holidays. Ovoscopy on the 7th day will help to exclude empty options. The survival rate of the big 6 cross is about 83%. During the first two months after hatching, the chicks require a lot of attention, vitamin prophylaxis is given from one week of age, and nystatin, which prevents aspergillosis, is given from the second week.
The duration of incubation of young animals in turkeys is 27-28 days, in the last two weeks ventilation is required. From 1 to 25 days, the temperature is maintained at least +37.5, then it is reduced to 36.6 degrees. After that, the eggs are no longer turned over, the air humidity in the chamber is increased to 75%. Young animals are pecked at 25.5 days.
When laying in an incubator, the egg is placed down with the blunt part.
Reviews of fans of the Big-6 turkey breed indicate that this poultry has very good prospects in Russia. Cross is suitable for keeping in cages and for walking living in a poultry house with an aviary. There is a high meat productivity - up to 10 kg of high-quality fillets from one bird, but when the males are kept together as they grow up, conflicts and even fights can arise.
Aggressive behavior is one of the few disadvantages according to breeders that can complicate the process of raising turkeys.
Cross Big-6 has a high growth rate, suitable for farms. The not too high survival rate is compensated by the good health of the offspring, which has overcome one month of age. It is noted that birds are quite sensitive to changes in diet - only specialized feed, characterized by an increased level of calorie content, is suitable for them. It will not work to do with simple chicken compound feed, the chicks do not grow too well on it and gain weight weakly.
Review of Big 6 turkeys in the video below.