Facts & Myths
Turkeys, like any other living creatures, can sometimes become sick. Medication, approved by Health Canda, is given only when necessary to prevent and treat infections, and is always administered under the supervision of a veterinarian. If medication must be used to care for sick birds, a withdrawal period is required before any bird can be marketed.
The farmer is responsible for documentation fromt he first day of medication use until the last day of use. He or she must also sign a record stating that the correct withdrawal times has taken place and report this to the processor.
Through poultry inspection programs, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) monitors and tests to ensure turkey farmers follow the rules and that consumers receive a safe, wholesome product.
What Turkeys Eat
Turkeys are fed nutritionally balanced diets of mixed grains and oilseeds, which may include corn, soya, wheat, barley and canola, for optimal health and development. There may be a very small percentage of animal by-products included in the feed.
Feed is often adjusted to match the growth stages of the birds. Young turkeys (poults) are fed a "starter" mixture. As they grow, the feed is changed to meet nutitional requirements. Each type of feed includes the proper balance of protein, energy, fibre, fat and other elements such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and vitamins.
Turkeys have free access to feed 24 hours a day, which means they can help themselves to food or water at any time.
In Canada, turkey are NOT given hormones or steroids! These have been illegal for over 30 years. It is scientific advancements such as selective breeding, better feed formulation and modern management practices that are responsible for the larger, healthier turkeys produced today.