Tom Turkey’s Big Week

November 24, 2016 – Modesto, CA

Travel, family, football, gratitude, sanctioned gluttony and post-meal naps are all on many people’s agendas this week. But the big star and most popular topic of the week will probably be Tom Turkey.

Cooks across America will be thinking about how to prepare good ole Tom for his starring role at Thanksgiving dinner. Cranberries, bread, spices, and whether he should be treated to hot oil treatments or roasting could come up in conversations. But, for many of our customers, thoughts are starting to come up around how to prepare Tom for next year’s festivities.

Raising healthy, heavy (and tasty) turkeys doesn’t have to be as complicated as many conventional feed mills might make it out to be. Some mills promote as many as ten different stages of turkey development with feeds to match. Modesto Milling has boiled it down to three: starter, growth and finisher.

In the early stages of turkey development, these birds need a lot of protein. The protein gives them energy and helps with growth, but also reduces their mortality rates. Our Turkey Starter features 28% protein. Other feeds with lower protein percentages often come up short when it comes to getting the turkeys off to a strong start in life. We find that soybean meal (which we mill ourselves) is the best source of protein for this stage of turkey development. This phase is typically 7-9 weeks, but may be longer for heritage breeds.

The next 7-9 week phase of growth has lower protein requirements, so turkey breeders and growers can switch to a standard chick starter with a 22% protein formulation. The higher protein feed will still be fine for the birds, but many of our customers like the ability to save about $3 per 50 pound bag of feed. $3 per bag may not be an issue for people raising a couple turkeys, but when congressional numbers increase or dozens, hundreds or thousands of birds are being raised, savings can quickly add up.

The final phase of finishing can be open ended in terms of time. Finisher feed reduces the protein percentages to about 17%. These pellets can be fed until the turkeys reach the desired weight.

As always, you can reach out to Chris Wagner at or 209-523-9167 ext.9107 if you have questions about turkey feeds or feeds for other species.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!