Since we are graced with a number of experienced turkey owners, I would like to ask if everyone would share their knowledge of each of the turkey breeds. APA and non-APA.
Like which are meatier in the breast and thigh.
who are the good foragers
Temperaments are important with kids around, also include which lines within a breed
Actual adult sizes as I keep reading, needs improvement
and how to cook them!
we have been raising Heritage turkeys.. some are mutts and some are "purebreds" from Porters...
the Black Spanish and Chocolates are beasts.. absolutely the biggest ones in the bunch
We have a Red Penciled tom that is a close second in size
I have a Nargansett Tom that is a close third to the Spanish and Chocolates
I also have one mutt mixed between Lavender and Burbon Red that is rivaling him for size.. but not sure which is the heaviest between them
we got in one Oregon grey hen that is very petite.. though I believe she must be a fluke.. cause I have seen some good sized Oregons..
the Burbon Reds that I got from Porters and also the eggs I got from eBay seem to be close in size.. though I think Porters may have a pound on the eBay ones... they are a teeny bit smaller than the Bronze and Chocolate hens
the Bronze and Chocolate hens are the biggest.. with the Chocolates being a smidge larger than the Bronze
Lavendar and Burbon Red mutts are about the size of the Burbon Reds from Porters.. I would have to weigh them to see if there is much of a difference at all.. they came from the same place as the Burbon Red eBay ones.. so I wouldn't expect there to be too much of a difference
we have a Red Penciled from Porters that is the underdog.. everyone (even the hens) beat up on him.. he was the slowest maturing (not to be confused with growth... he just didn't show his "manly" genes til much later.. thought for the longest time he was a giant hen).. he still will not try to breed the girls.. i saw him strut once.. which earned him a beatdown from all the other toms.. he will be going to freezer camp today if it doesn't storm
the Black Spanish toms are without a doubt the most aggressive... they dethroned the Chocolate who used to be the alpha tom... and it seems they LOVE to fight among the other toms.. though in their defense none of our birds have ever shown any aggression towards me or my husband
the Nargansett tom is a favorite among the girls.. though he isn't a fighter.. he seems to be somewhere in the middle of the pecking order.. he doesn't fight and doesn't get attacked... a real sweetheart
The Chocolate Tom started out being our alpha.. he stayed on top until the Spanish joined forces and beat him silly
the Chocolate hens seem to be in charge.. we have a few Bronze hens (I always seem to forget about them) who always remind me of Miss Prissy from the cartoons.. really busy bodies.. they HAVE to come investigate the feed bucket and always want to check out what I am wearing to see if there is anything they can peck off of my clothes... they are not aggressive.. just incredibly nosy
the little Oregon Grey is very standoffish (to people at least).. could be because she is so tiny.. however she is also our "floozy".. lol always sitting down for each and every tom.. (seems like all the time too.. sheesh!)
the Bourbon Reds are "just turkeys".. they don't seem to have the personality that the chocolates and Bronzes have... they don't shy away.. but also don't see all that concerned to come over to say hello either
as for taste.. well.. they all taste MUCH better than store bought.. most of our birds go for turkey burger.. so I really haven't noticed a difference between the "varieties" of the heritage birds.. even so with several being mutts
for the birds we have deep fried.. they all were VERY yummy
oh.. and to answer the cooking question...
we grind up a lot of turkey burger at butchering time.. so we use it just like ground beef in any recipe that calls for it
for the whole birds we usually use a Cajun rub and Cajun Butter injected into the meat and deep fry them (hey.. this is Texas... that's pretty much all we do for turkey here.. lol)!
*warning:.. if you use an injectible with GARLIC .. it WILL turn the bird black.. but it tastes fine.. we just prefer the Cajun BUTTER which doesn't turn it black at all