1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Best Turkey to raise for meat

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Rammy, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. Rammy

    Rammy Chillin' With My Peeps

    731
    0
    139
    Oct 20, 2008
    I am considering getting some meat chickens this year, probably the Cornish X chickens, but am also considering getting one or two turkeys to raise also for meat. What is the best breed to get for butchering? How old should they be to process? Thank you in advance for your suggestions.


    Rammy
     
  2. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,635
    32
    228
    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Balance of taste and size: Bourbon Reds. Butcher at 28 weeks. Steve of Sands Poultry is the pro on heritage turks.

    Size and efficiency as well as clean processing: Broadbreated Whites, butcher at 16 to 20 weeks for optimum efficiency, or 24+ weeks if you like monster birds. I defer to Jeff Brunty's judgment on these, though.
     
  3. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    BBW or BBB
     
  4. Rammy

    Rammy Chillin' With My Peeps

    731
    0
    139
    Oct 20, 2008
    Okey dokey. Thanks for the info. I will probably order in another month when its warmer so I can keep them out in the barn. Too darn dusty keeping birds in the house. [​IMG] Thanks again!!

    Rammy
     
  5. TimG

    TimG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Maine
    If you're getting turkeys that you'd like to be able to eat fresh at Thanksgiving time, you should wait until August or so to start them. If you start in the spring you'll be feeding tons of food to giant turkey in the fall.
     
  6. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    If you get a broad breasted type they are ready in 4 months a heritage type takes 6 months plus. Broad breasted type are the cornish X of turkeys - all they do is eat, poop and grow. [​IMG] The heritage birds have a much better flavor. My fav is the Midget White or Bourbon Red.

    Steve
     
  7. Klutzy

    Klutzy Out Of The Brooder

    16
    0
    21
    Feb 7, 2011
    I agree with Steve, but the BB's are fine and will taste better than the store bought, especially if you usually eat the "flavor enhanced" brands. Don't overfeed them because they can get ascites or something similar just like the CX. The worst thing about turkeys is they are fragile when young. You should expect some to die in the first two months. If you want 2, I'd get 4 and hope 3 make it.

    Are you interested in having a small flock? Then you'd want a heritage breed. Turkeys are a LOT of fun to have around! Really friendly and sweet, and they'll forage much of their own food if you let them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
  8. Rammy

    Rammy Chillin' With My Peeps

    731
    0
    139
    Oct 20, 2008
    Actually, I thought about just getting two. One for me and one for my parents. So a Heritage breed is better? I was going to raise it and then freeze it after processing. I am not planning on doing it myself. I have been checking around for someone who is practiced in doing that and think I will use this Amish guy up in KY. I also am planning on him doing the chickens I am getting for meaties also. I just get too attached to my animals and dont think I would be able to do it myself. If I keep a detached attitude towards them then I will be ok. Its not easy, though.
    I am currently looking at McMurrays cataloge and am considering the breeds everyone has suggested. If anyone else has any other suggestions, that would be great. Im still learning so any information would be very helpful!! [​IMG]



    Rammy
     
  9. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,635
    32
    228
    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Quote:Depends on what you mean by "better". They taste better, but they take longer and cost more to grow out than commercial turks like the Broad Breasted White.

    Personally, I prefer heritage for eating.
     
  10. Neil Grassbaugh

    Neil Grassbaugh Chillin' With My Peeps

    741
    10
    151
    Sep 1, 2008
    Heritage turkeys are more like their wild cousins/ancestors.
    As far as eating goes - well - ever wonder why the Indians brought fish to the first Thanksgiving?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by