J.F. Barbee is credited with developing the Bourbon Red turkey from a series of crosses of Bronze, White Holland and Tuscarora (dark Buff) turkeys in the late 1800's. Orignally called the Bourbon Butternut, Barbee renamed the breed Bourbon Red as a marketing tactic. Recognized by the APA in 1909, Bourbon Reds were promoted for their heavy breast and rich flavored meat. Like many other popular breeds of the early 1900's, Red Bourbons were replaced by the commercial broad breasted varieties. It has experienced growing interest over the past decade and is now one of the more popular heritage breeds.
- Breed Colors/Varieties:
- Breed Size:
- Large Fowl
Bourbon Red turkeys are chestnut brown to dark red with white tail & flight feathers. The tails have soft red stripes towards the tips. They have black beard, red wattle (sometimes bluish white), and a multi-colored light horn to dark beak. Toms can weigh in at 33 lbs and hens at 18 lbs at maturity. Active foragers, Red Bourbons can do well in a pasture setup. They are a great breed for both exhibition and backyard production.
BigMikeAz likes this.
Recent User Reviews
"Excellent for the table or farm life"
Pros - Usually friendly, inquisitive, chatty. Excellent growth on good feed. Good foragers. We see a minimum of 3-4 months of active lay. Handle spacious confinement well.
Cons - None!
This is the first Turkey variety we have stuck with, several others came and went. For Heritage type, these guys fit the bill. We picked our birds up from a small local farm out of show stock and continue with the maternal line, occasionally adding a fresh Tom who fits the look for genetic diversity.
We predominately raise them for our own table, we've been very happy with them! Over the winter we slim the flock down to the best all around birds, for the next season.Lady_Bat likes this.
"Love my hen"
Pros - sweet, docile, and good looking
Cons - none
i got a red bourbon hen about a month ago at auction and she is so sweet she doesnt exactly run up to you she just kind of stays out of your way but she will sit there and talk to you.
"Very Friendly and Beautiful"
Pros - Great Egg Layers, Hearty, Smart, Observant, And Friendly
Cons - None!
I love by Bourbon Reds... they are sweet and follow me wherever I go. You may want to get a male if you get 2 or more hens so the tom can keep them in line so the females don't get aggressive.
Overall, I love them and they are Perfect!