4H Heritage turkey - need feeding advice

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by GJ_Kate, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. GJ_Kate

    GJ_Kate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2011
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    So we signed my 8 yo son up for 4H last night and he wants to raise a bourbon red turkey as a Market turkey class. Well they have to be 16 weeks old by fair and our first two that we hatched will be 16 weeks and ONE DAY! They also need to be 14 lbs for a female or 16 lbs for a male. Is this even possible with a BR??? I'd love for him to be able to do this because I don't think we've ever seen more than a turkey or two at the fair! We could always switch him over to the Breeding Turkey class, but then he doesn't get to auction it off and get money.... which we all know is a huge motivator for the kiddos! Well at least mine... [​IMG]

    The two turkey poults are only 3 1/2 weeks old right now. Any tips on what we could supplement on their feeding? Since it's only two, we could "afford" to do a little extra. I know my co-worker's kids raise pigs and they supplement with goats milk to get their pigs extra big for fair, is there anything for turkeys?

    Thanks!!
     
  2. MissTurkey4

    MissTurkey4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2011
    How heavy are the parents? Seems like alot of weight for 16 weeks for a female. Are you sure thats what they want?
     
  3. GJ_Kate

    GJ_Kate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2011
    Grand Junction
    Mesa County Fair (Colorado)
    Market Class

    69. Turkey - (1 bird) 16 to 24 weeks old and weigh 16 lbs minimum on Toms and 14 lbs minimum on hens. There is no maximum weight set.

    So our problem is our turkeys will be RIGHT at 16 weeks old and they are a heritage breed, Bourbon Red.

    Impossible?
     
  4. MissTurkey4

    MissTurkey4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2011
    Genetics is going to play the biggest role here. Where are your poults from? I have a big BR tom that puts on early weight gain. I have selected for that with my breeding program. Many BR adult hens that I have seen are not over 10-12 pounds. Thats why I asked how big the parents are. Where they fast growers or late bloomers?

    I would not do anything weird with the food. Feed turkey starter the full 16 weeks. Some corn as a fatter at the last few weeks. Not to much or to soon, since it will lower your total protein. They will eat more if it is fresh, but also do not let them go with out food or water.
     
  5. GJ_Kate

    GJ_Kate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2011
    Grand Junction
    So if turkeys have to be between 16 and 24 weeks at fair (which is July 19-23 this year) that means that the poults would have to be HATCHED between Jan 30 and March 27.... to be on the top end, our turkey hens would have to be in lay mode in DECEMBER! Yeah, THATS going to happen!
    So basically fairs aren't set up for heritage breeds, I'm concluding... that sucks [​IMG]
     
  6. GJ_Kate

    GJ_Kate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2011
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    Quote:I honestly have no idea what the parents weigh. My tom is in my avatar. Nobody around me has turkeys, much less, Bourbon Reds, so I have no comparison. Last November, we butchered 3 other toms that weren't quite as big as this one. Their dressed out weight was only around 11 lbs, BUT I didn't feed turkey food after they left the brooder. I was only feeding layer pellets because they went in with my chickens when they went outside. I KNOW, I KNOW...
    As soon as we get our tax refund, we're building turkey pens, but since we have the adoption tax credit being refundable this year, all us adoptive parents are getting the pleasure of pretty much being audited!!! [​IMG] Sorry, off topic there! The poults are being fed turkey starter now and we're going to try to find a way to keep them separate from the chickens.

    Since last year was my first year with turkeys, I really don't know if they were fast or slow growers. sorry not much help there.
     
  7. MissTurkey4

    MissTurkey4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have never shown in 4 H but I have shown lots of things, and hold lots of state records. I can tell you one thing with the adults, they lie when it comes to ages. Its not fair but makes you feel good when you win against those that cheat. My local fair has not had any turkeys in a few years. When they did it was Broadbreasted in the meat pen. I would still go for it.

    Off topic, When I was audited for my animal business, it took almost 4 years to get a decision. [​IMG] They where pure evil too.
     
  8. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Can your son enter two classes? If so, get him a broad breasted white to enter in market and then he can show the Red in the breeder class. I suspect that the red has no chance of making weight in that time frame.
     

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