Bless you, free range turkey farmers.

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by new 2 pfowl, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. new 2 pfowl

    new 2 pfowl Overrun With Chickens

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    Excuse me for jumping in here from another continent of BYC, but I have to say "Bless you" to all of you who are willing to take the time, expense and care to raise happy turkeys.

    I had Xmas dinner at my mother's house and brought an 18-lb organic free range turkey for dinner (I didn't tell her how happy a turkey it was because she freaks out about spending money on that kind of thing. She's old.).
    Of course, it was an incredibly tasty bird. But what really amazed me, as the official carver, was the powerful and well developed legs and wings of a bird that has spent its life the way it was supposed to. The strong, sturdy bones and tendons of a bird that has roamed freely and flapped and flown. It was really a revelation, and I felt very happy knowing that the bird had a full and normal bird life.

    So I just had to pop in here and offer my appreciation! Thank you all, and happy holidays.
     
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  2. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Would have loved to taste that bird. :drool
     
  3. Scottingitup

    Scottingitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My birds were a big hit this year. After tasting one yesterday I agree! I was finally able to fence in my land this year so the birds were on range the entire time - they were very meaty and oh so tasty!
    I was able to sell 13 birds this year which covers ~75% of my feed costs - including the breeders and the ones I plan to eat.

    The only thing I did different was give them a little corn (100lbs about a month before the end) and i think I will skip out on that - some fatty birds!
     
  4. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Good job. Thanks for the corn tip.;)
     
  5. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the compliment! If the small farmer doesn't keep the heritage turkeys, thriving, who will? The big processor, can't afford to! We processed 3 Holland Whites for the holidays and I usually finish my chickens off with a little corn for the last couple of weeks, but turkeys have enough fat to be self-basting without it. I usually start roasting mine breast side down and turn it 2/3rds through the cooking time onto it's back to finish and they stay so tender and moist, they don't even need seasoning. I hope everyone gets the chance to taste what a real turkey should taste like, too!!
     
  6. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree. Almost everyone who has bought a turkey from me comes back and tells me it was the best turkey they ever had! It is unfortunate that people are not willing to pay the true cost of a bird. This year, heritage turkeys cost me $4.90/lb to raise, but I can only sell them for $4.50/lb. If I go to $5/lb, everybody drops out. But you can't blame people, $75 for a turkey is a lot. I have to raise some broad-breasted turkeys to subsidize my heritage hobby. This was the first year of trying that, and I actually came out ahead...barely. I think I sold 9 heritage birds and 16 broad-breasteds.
     
  7. Scottingitup

    Scottingitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What are you paying for feed? I break even at $40 per bird - I raise just enough extras to cover the costs of the birds that I personally eat. I do the processing myself to save money as well.
     
  8. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I pay about $15 per 50 lb bag. Feed costs $3.60/lb of bird raised. But I also consider electricity, some overhead, some labor cost, and the cost of transporting the feed. If the feedstore was 1 mile away instead of 40 miles, My birds would cost much less.
     
  9. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It doesn't cost me $4.90 a pound to raise a turkey, but then I have the land for the birds to free range. If I had to raise them in confinement, I wouldn't, because turkeys do not do well in confinement, except for the commercial BB type. But that IS NOT what this thread is about!!! What do you feed your turkeys, that costs sooooo much? I know feed is expensive, but at about 18 month maturity for a heritage Holland White, the toms finish out processed, without giblets, etc at 35 pounds. If I sold them for $4.50 a pound, that would be $150+ a finished turkey!!! WOW[​IMG]
    I charge $60 and just about break even! What breed do you raise? Heritage breeds under 1 year are all bone and very little meat except for the legs. Most heritage toms, like BR, Narg, Slate, etc average 33 pounds for toms at maturity. Figuring in 20% loss for processing should finish at 26 pounds! At $4.50 a pound comes out to $117. Since a Royal Palm is eye candy and usually raised as a pet and Midget White makes a much smaller bird similar in size to a large chicken, they cost a lot less feed to raise. BB birds are the most cost effective, since they gain weight so fast and finish out in 5 months, so you do not have to winter them over, but they do not taste the same IMO. I would love to know what breed you raise, what age do you harvest and what do you feed them, if you don't mind?????? $5 per pound at $75, comes to only 15 pounds for a finished turkey, add back in 20% and the turkey at maturity would only be an 18 pound turkey. The only breed I know of that would be that small at maturity, would be a Beltsville White. If they cost that much to raise, no wonder, so few people raise them. Beltsville is a cross between a Midget white and a Holland white and didn't go over very well with growers. Maybe the feed consumption is why!!!!![​IMG]
     
  10. ProfTi

    ProfTi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2012
    Minneapolis, MN
    Thanks for the compliment. I raised 40 this year. It is a labor of love. Feed costs are exceptionally high, even though I use enourmous amounts of donated fruits and veggies from the farmers market and let them range. You also have to consider the cost of the chick (about $8 including shipping), bedding, electricity, materials, turkeys have a high mortality the first 2 weeks, processing equipment, processing bags and tags....it goes on and on. At $3.75/pound, I made enough to pay for 4 of my own turkeys for my family. Not much more. It is truly a labor of love. I think it also depends on where you live. Here in MN, organic turkey food is upwards of $20/bag.
     

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