best turkey breed?


12 Years
Feb 19, 2009
what is easiest and best turkey breed? Should I get the white commerical ones? they get to 44 / 50 lbs! or what is good about the bourban breed?

I want to have a pen of a few. Should I get just the hens/pullets because the toms get too big?
please tell me your favorite breed adn why..... thanks
i think it depends on what you want them for and how you plan to raise them. if you just want meat then the commercial whites are easy, fun, and grow out quickly - and dress beautifully

if you want to grow a flock you'll need a heritage breed or one that breeds naturally (the BBW's dont). we have Bourbon Red and love them - easy, fun, and love to free range

i'd love to try the midget whites and i think the blue slates are beautiful so lots of options

I wouldn't say one is any easier than another. We raise 6 varieties The Midget White is the best tasting, The White Hollands and Bronze the calmest, Bourbons the most curious, Beltsvilles the best layers, the Palms the most eye catching. We have pics on our website if you want to see.

Steve in NC
If you want lots of meat fast, then the BB Whites are what you want. As to tom or hen, just butcher the tom early and the hen late. I waited too long on mine and am getting ready to butcher a 49 pound tom! I probably could have butchered the toms at 3 months and still have gotten a decent size bird.

If you want to raise your own from egg, then one of the heritage breeds is your only option. I love the Bourbon Red, but can't really tell you why except their reputations as good mothers, good laying, decent size, and great taste.

This information is based on my vast experience as a turkey farmer for all of 5 months, so take it for what it is worth. I sometimes try to sound like I know what I'm talking about, but I really don't.
I have 2 Broad Breasted Bronze and 1 Narragansset. I love them all. The bronze are fat pigs and the hen gets quite moody with the little birds at times but they are super smart and really sweet most of the time. They also have absolutely beautiful plumage. My Narraganset is my favorite right now because he still cuddles with his mommy (me). Like Buster52, I've only been a turkey farmer for a few months.
I've raised the Broad Breasted variety but I like to have the option of breeding an animal that's really fantastic and that's not an option with the Broad Breasteds. Right now we have Midgets and Bourbons and mixed breed Bronze/Slate who will hatch the turkeys we will raise for meat. I love them all which is why my husband is figuring out that he may never actually EAT turkey again. I agree that the Bourbons are the most curious, at least in my flock. They're everywhere looking at everything and my hen likes to go visiting all the other animals on the farm. They're also very friendly. My hen still flies into my arms and at 15 pounds that's a real catch. I'm just glad the Tom quit doing it. The Midgets are wonderful chatty little birds who follow me everywhere and pat me down looking for treats. The mixed bird is the one who starts calling for me as soon as I open the door in the morning and won't leave her roost until I've petted her cause that's just the way she's used to having her day start by golly.
In a taste test of hertitage breeds the Borbon Reds always came out on top. They are pretty and fairly tame. I also like the Blue Slates. If you can find the old fashioned Bronze they make great homestead birds too.

If you just want to raise a few turkeys to eat, yes the white or bronze broad breasted will do just fine. For thanksgiving turkeys don't start them until June or even July.

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