Pros: Big, Beautiful, Breeds well
Cons: Heavy Toms require stout perches for roosting, they lack the breasty Thanksgiving look on the table
I ordered 20 of these birds my first year farming because "Mother Earth Magazine" posted an article, "How Eight Heritage Turkeys Kicked a Butterball’s Butt". The article caimed in a blind taste test Midget Whites and Red Burbon turkeys were the best tasting bird available. I prefered a larger bird so I got the Reds.
This breed isn't flighty and I have never had a problem with aggression. They bred well the next spring. I had many fertilized eggs. The birds get to weight in 6-8 months. A well fed Tom can pack a solid inch of fat over the breast meat. Over fed hens will stop laying. The eggs also are edible and very tasty! If... you can crack them open. The shells are very hard.
I free range and find them exellent foragers. They can be taught to be called to the feed dish every evening to be cooped up for the night.
As for taste... since years have passed we have ordered Royal Palms and Naragansettes to run with our Red Bourbons. When processed they all go into the freezer... and when they get to the table I could not tell you what one is which breed. They are all outstanding! I believe - "It's not the breed - It's the feed." Get what you like looking at and feed it a good quality food or lots of garden items. Homegrown turkeys are exquisite birds for the table. I sear the skin at 425 for 10-15 min to seal in moisture then roast at 325 until finished temp is reached.
Too many Toms does cause squabbles. They will bite each others heads and not let go. You can not pull them appart (much like young teens in a fist fight over a girl). If you can't stand watching birds work out a pecking order and a few bloody faces from time to time I don't recommend more than 3 or 4 Toms.
Full grown Toms can reach 30 pounds. I am a "tough cookie" but these birds are not the easiest to scald and pluck due to the weight. 3 or 4 is my limit for a day on big Toms. They take a little extra work but the return is there on meat.
Overall it's a beautiful bird to watch. They gobble and drum constantly when I am around. Great socially! But for me... it's the dressed all natural bird on the table and the fact I never had a problem with this breed on the journey getting there.