Last updated 27 September 2020

Stocking densities

Hens are most commonly processed at 10 weeks of age, weighing approximately 5kgs, while toms are generally processed later, at approximately 17 weeks, weighing roughly 16-18kgs. Stocking densities allow for 46kg equivalent of turkeys in just 1 square metre; this means up to 21,000 turkeys can be housed together in just one shed, affording them little room to express any behaviours that come naturally to them.

High stocking densities also contribute to flock cannibalism and poor air quality.

A turkey who has fallen victim to cannibalism due to high stocking densities.

Artificial lighting

Artificial lighting is used to distort and manipulate the behaviour of turkeys, encouraging more frequent eating, and controlling their productivity. This artificial lighting affects the turkeys’ growth rate, body weight, mortality and susceptibility to metabolic diseases and circulatory problems. Lighting has also been used to reduce aggression among turkeys due to the stress of constant confinement.

Artificial lighting in a turkey shed.

Barren environment

Research has revealed that the barren environment turkeys are forced to live in causes aggressive behaviour and cannibalism among flocks. Lack of stimulation can cause turkeys to become aggressive toward one another out of frustration and boredom.

A standard Australian turkey farm; barren with no enrichment.


Turkeys live on the same litter for the entirety of their lives (10-17 weeks). A buildup of urine on litter causes ammonia gases in intensively farmed sheds. Spending extended periods of time in contact with soiled litter can cause hock and breast burns as well as footpad dermatitis.