EFFECT OF BREED, AGE AND SEX ON GROWTH, HAEMATOLOGICAL, SERUM BIOCHEMICAL AND CARCASS CHARACTERISTICS OF TURKEYS (Meleagris gallopavo)
Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is a source of animal protein and one of the world’s most demanded poultry and its meat consumed in large quantities in Nigeria. Despite the increase in demand for turkey consumption, there are no large scale commercial turkey farms in Nigeria to meet the ever increasing demand (Ogah, 2011). Turkey breeders have selected birds for fast growth and large body size in order to maximize production (Kranis et al.,2008).
Turkey has been found to contribute to the economic and social life of Nigerians in that they are used during festive periods (Smith, 1990). Growth is defined as the increase in the numbers of cell of the body. Growth performance of an animal is the phenotypic expression of the animal genetic makeup (genotype), (Oluyemi and Roberts, 2000). The exact time at which the animal is ready for slaughter can be consider on the basis of body weight and general development (Kabir et al., 2006).
Nowadays with the vast majority of poultry products being marketed in cut-up parts, yield of high value items such as breast and thigh have become critical to processors (Young et al., 2001). Watts and Kennett (1995) reported that demand for high quality parts have driven poultry industry to change their marketing practices to cut-up parts in response to consumer’s needs. Linear body measurements are useful in live weight determination (Gul et al., 2005). The relationships existing among linear body traits provide useful information on performance, productivity and carcass characteristics (Kabir et al., 2010).