Originally Posted by Arielle
THank you, I love this porter site. Good genetic info on color and weights. Do you know of anything that covers health, genetic quirks, disease resistance, growth rates, foraging ability,etc??
Over the years I have had Narrigansett, Bourbon Reds, Royal Palms, and currently have White Hollands and a Regal Red from Kevin Porter, some Jersey Buff Poults from the same source, and two Broad Breasted hens from a hatchery (a one year old and a two year old). A Broad Breasted will have the large breasts and grow fastest, the Royal Palms are on the smaller side with less meat than most other varieties.
Any of them can forage very well, even the Broad Breasted turkeys. In fact, I often turn my BB turkeys loose to forage and only feed them once a week to remind them that they live here. I watch to make sure they are in good shape, but they find their own food. That actually keeps their growth slower and helps them avoid the leg problems later (as well as keeps them small enough to fit in the oven at 6 months old).
Health, genetic quirks, and disease resistance are all pretty much linked to each other and boils down to the breeders management practices. I like Kevins birds, he is one that breeds for quality, not quantity. I think a lot of breeders for the big hatcheries do the opposite but I have still got some pretty nice birds there too.
In January 2010, my turkey barn collapsed under a heavy snow load, and I was scrambling to get my turkeys moved to another building. One of my White Holland hens flew out and landed on the greenhouse roof out by the garden. After I moved the rest of the birds and went to get her, she was gone. I finally gave up looking for a white turkey in the snow and figured she would find the rest of the flock and I'd catch her then. But after not seeing her for a week (during which we had a bad blizzard), I gave up. She either died from a predator, lack of food, or the elements (we had temps down to -30) It was pretty much a record year for snow fall and colder than average. So I was shocked when March came and a neighbor called to tell me that a white turkey hen was in her yard. I don't know where she was or what she ate, but she made it through the worst part of a bad North Dakota winter on her own. So if you start with good stock, you shouldn't have any problems.