Red Bourbon

Average User Rating:
  • Breed Colors/Varieties:
    Breed Size:
    Large Fowl
    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.
  • 346fea6e_red_bourbon--781086.jpeg aaa0d6e9_turkeys-red_bourbon-72494-342419.jpeg 31e0f725_red_bourbon--777721.jpeg 77a4838c_red_bourbon--175156.jpeg a2f4b08d_red_bourbon--755188.jpeg db11ed2f_DSC000102.jpeg f66f59ff_red_bourbon--213000.jpeg f98a2953_IMG_0074.jpeg

  • Breed Details:
    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

  1. mandelyn
    "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. 23755322_1927933897529400_6094852042556661471_n.jpg
    lizzyb123 and Lady_Bat like this.
  2. dgibson0604
    "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.
    Lady_Bat and Tammy N like this.
  3. Book Em Danno25
    "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!
    Lady_Bat and Tammy N like this.

User Comments

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  1. kelly88
    Dont know if i can ask this here but i have a 2 year old red burboun today i went to let everyone out of the chicken house and he was completely blind!!! Im so devastated!! Is there anyone that can tell me why?? And can i help him???
  2. ShockValue
    Because when I'm looking at breeds alphabetically, it took me a while to find this...
  3. RezChamp
    Yes. These birds are nice. I found them to be inquisitive, intelligent, genetically strong and healthy, and friendly.
    They are of course still turkeys.
    Unfortunately , I don't know their lay rate. Mine were all killed by roving dogs this spring.
    Apparently they also have a very good hatch rate and survival rate.
    I hope to find out next spring(got 10 more turkeys this spring).
  4. Turk Raphael
    Narragansett...And.....that makes how much difference? Mercy!
  5. Turk Raphael
    Excellent review. We had them when I was a kid and you are dead-on!
  6. FarmTillURdead
    The really cool part about the Royal Palms is that they really don't "look" any smaller than the larger Red Burbon or Naragansette. They just don't fill out the same. They are still very impressive in color. I do believe it is also possible the couple of Toms could have been aggressive to my Border Collie was because she is also black and white and has been trained to round them up for me. I'm fairly certain they felt aggression coming from her. I have never been spurred by ANY turkey in my years doing this. But they do occasionally try to chug down a finger when I am not sucking them in. They eventually figure out they aren't going to get one and quit. I'll always do turkeys! Not really much different than chickens other than really having to baby sit the poults and checking gullets to be sure they are eating.
  7. debbyvenus
    Thank you for the great info! I am getting poults (6) soon and not sure which breed to get, the Red's or the Royal Palms. I love the looks of the Palms, but the Red's really look good too. I don't care about having a 20# turkey for my table so that is partially why I'm leaning to the Palms. I do want them to breed next spring so that is also a factor. Also a calm bird would be a plus. I plan to pasture them. Thank you again.
  8. JD4570
    Very informative. Have been thinking of getting a heritage breed, these sound like the way to go.
  9. MobyQuail
    nice review.

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