Backyard turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by jaredthefox, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. jaredthefox

    jaredthefox Chillin' With My Peeps

    129
    3
    63
    Jan 4, 2015
    Marshall Texas
    What's the best backyard turkey breed? I wanna get a male and female and begin a flock from them. What u they breed would be best for breeding and meat?
     
  2. feedman77

    feedman77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,170
    496
    196
    Jun 10, 2013
    From the turkeys I have I personally prefer the royal palms. But they are the one of the smaller body size birds. For larger body birds I would go with blue slates or bourbon reds.

    All hens will go broody if you want hens to set on eggs.

    Find a type that appeals to you. I have a few types of turkyes can't say which Is better than the others in the end I like them all.
     
  3. jaredthefox

    jaredthefox Chillin' With My Peeps

    129
    3
    63
    Jan 4, 2015
    Marshall Texas
    So there's not a specific breed that doesn't reproduce better than the others? I though some toms won't mate
     
  4. feedman77

    feedman77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,170
    496
    196
    Jun 10, 2013
    The only ones that cannot mate naturally. Are the broad breasted variety cause of their size. All heritage breeds can and do reproduce naturally.
     
  5. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    6,990
    2,157
    336
    Mar 16, 2014
    SE Michigan
    I've raised and marketed several varieties of turkey (Bourbon Red, Black Spanish, Blue Slate, Narragansett, Broad Breasted Bronze, Royal Palm, Broad Breasted White, Eastern Wild, and mixed varieties) and I have found that:

    There are three primary classes of American turkeys, wild turkeys, broad breasted turkeys, and the several APA and non APA heritage domesticated turkeys.

    Broad Breasted breeds tend to have heart and leg problems, and the toms can't breed either broad breasted hens nor standard hens. Larger heritage toms may be able to breed broad breasted hens,

    Wild turkeys and wild turkey hybrids are very thrifty, but are nervous. Even newly hatched wild or wild cross poults that were artificially incubated are less calm than poults with no wild parentage. Wild turkey dark meat is darker, and white meat is a lesser proportion of total mass.

    All heritage varieties have similar characteristics as far as broodiness, general temperament, ease of care, general care requirements, egg laying ability, and taste.

    Size is highly dependent on selection within the variety. Standard Bronze and Bourbon Red have been selected for many generations for size, and tend to run to the heavier side of heritage varieties, which may be a factor if you are raising for market. Black Spanish are a naturally large variety, but haven't been highly selected for meat production so they tend to be tall and slender. Royal Palm have been highly selected for color, and tend to be small when dressed for the table.

    Temperament is entirely dependent on the bird's genetic predisposition and nurturing. If the parents are crazy or mean, the poults will tend to be as well. I cull all young toms who are human aggressive, and when choosing between two otherwise similar breeding prospects, I will choose one with a good temperament and low aggression over one with better size or body mass.

    I raise primarily Narragansetts now, and I have a year old breeding tom who can be picked up and carried around mid-strut without any complaints on his part. He is not bird or human aggressive, and his father was also of good temperament, but not quite so much so. I am selecting to maintain temperament, conformation, and color, and improve size.

    For a backyard flock, there is no need to choose one particular kind of turkey. If you want to show or market show quality birds, then select show quality stock from Porter's or another source of show bird stock; if you want good all purpose birds in a one variety flock, find a breeder committed to improvement of the variety and buy grown birds with excellent temperament if possible. Otherwise buy hatching eggs or poults from a mixed flock, raise them to select your breeding stock and cull or segregate the others, then raise the next generation only from your best birds. You can have a very attractive mixed color flock and enjoy your very own turkey family.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by