SavKel&RynKel

Free Ranging
Mar 16, 2018
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Bay Area, California
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Trying to get some feelers out for a Bourbon Red turkey over a Broad Breasted White or Bronze turkey, eggs or chicks. Anybody have any experience with this cross or pictures? Ideally we want this cross for a plumper version of a pure heritage Bourbon Red for next Thanksgiving as our BR girls this year were only a dressed weight of 9lbs. Our BBW ended up a dressed weight of 16lb female and 24lb male. The ultimate problem is we need them to not fly over an 6ft fence as they mature. We lost a few BR and Narragansett to the dogs this way. The turkeys have a 1/4 acre all to themselves and there were only 10 of them but the heritage wanted to forage outside that area. I assume our ideal turkey is not actually out there but it can't hurt to try. I've searched BYC for similar but people only end up asking the same questions and not updating their threads on whether it worked or not. I'm just looking for our perfect turkey, is that too much to ask for? :p So in conclusion I guess what we're looking for is the best of both worlds:
1. Plump- around 12lb female.
2. Stays put in a fence.
3. Can breed naturally if at all possible.
4. Isn't ugly like the BBW.
5. Will forage and eat turkey food.
Open to any and all discussion on the topic. Even if you have a breed in mind that you want to share that hits most of those qualities that aren't the ones mentioned. It was our first year with turkeys and the heritage were 7months old and the BBW were about 3.5months. Trying to look ahead to spring when we can place an order for poults or get someone to create a hybrid. :thumbsup
 

R2elk

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Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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Natrona County, Wyoming
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Trying to get some feelers out for a Bourbon Red turkey over a Broad Breasted White or Bronze turkey, eggs or chicks. Anybody have any experience with this cross or pictures? Ideally we want this cross for a plumper version of a pure heritage Bourbon Red for next Thanksgiving as our BR girls this year were only a dressed weight of 9lbs. Our BBW ended up a dressed weight of 16lb female and 24lb male. The ultimate problem is we need them to not fly over an 6ft fence as they mature. We lost a few BR and Narragansett to the dogs this way. The turkeys have a 1/4 acre all to themselves and there were only 10 of them but the heritage wanted to forage outside that area. I assume our ideal turkey is not actually out there but it can't hurt to try. I've searched BYC for similar but people only end up asking the same questions and not updating their threads on whether it worked or not. I'm just looking for our perfect turkey, is that too much to ask for? :p So in conclusion I guess what we're looking for is the best of both worlds:
1. Plump- around 12lb female.
2. Stays put in a fence.
3. Can breed naturally if at all possible.
4. Isn't ugly like the BBW.
5. Will forage and eat turkey food.
Open to any and all discussion on the topic. Even if you have a breed in mind that you want to share that hits most of those qualities that aren't the ones mentioned. It was our first year with turkeys and the heritage were 7months old and the BBW were about 3.5months. Trying to look ahead to spring when we can place an order for poults or get someone to create a hybrid. :thumbsup
It is my understanding that Valley of the Moon not only sells BB turkeys but also mid range turkeys.

2. Can only be accomplished by training and fencing that does not have a top bar or top rail. 1/4 acre for ten turkeys may seem like a big area to you but it is not a big area to the turkeys especially if it is bare.

I have a 50' x 100' run that my turkeys are kept in at night but during the day they have free range of approximately 2 acres of grass, bushes and trees that is all inside a 2"x4"x6' welded wire fence that does not have a top bar or rail. There are occasional instances of a turkey accidentally flying over the fence. A few times of herding the errant bird back in seems to decrease the likelihood that particular bird will continue to escape.

4. While BBW may be "ugly" to you, not everyone agrees with this assessment. Since you goal is a bird to eat, whites present the cleanest looking carcass.

I crossed a Bourbon Red tom with a BBW hen. The offspring was a Red Bronze tom that got nearly as big a BBW tom. The BBWs that I raised would dress out in the mid 30 lbs. for toms and low 20 lbs. for hens. To get the weights that you posted for your BBWs, you either fed them poorly or butchered them very young.

FYI, there is only one breed of domestic turkey and the breed is Turkey. There are many different varieties of domestic turkeys although the APA only recognizes 8 of those varieties.

Heritage - Broad Breast Crosses
 

SavKel&RynKel

Free Ranging
Mar 16, 2018
693
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552
Bay Area, California
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It is my understanding that Valley of the Moon not only sells BB turkeys but also mid range turkeys.

2. Can only be accomplished by training and fencing that does not have a top bar or top rail. 1/4 acre for ten turkeys may seem like a big area to you but it is not a big area to the turkeys especially if it is bare.

I have a 50' x 100' run that my turkeys are kept in at night but during the day they have free range of approximately 2 acres of grass, bushes and trees that is all inside a 2"x4"x6' welded wire fence that does not have a top bar or rail. There are occasional instances of a turkey accidentally flying over the fence. A few times of herding the errant bird back in seems to decrease the likelihood that particular bird will continue to escape.

4. While BBW may be "ugly" to you, not everyone agrees with this assessment. Since you goal is a bird to eat, whites present the cleanest looking carcass.

I crossed a Bourbon Red tom with a BBW hen. The offspring was a Red Bronze tom that got nearly as big a BBW tom. The BBWs that I raised would dress out in the mid 30 lbs. for toms and low 20 lbs. for hens. To get the weights that you posted for your BBWs, you either fed them poorly or butchered them very young.

FYI, there is only one breed of domestic turkey and the breed is Turkey. There are many different varieties of domestic turkeys although the APA only recognizes 8 of those varieties.

Heritage - Broad Breast Crosses

Thanks for the links!

Sorry about using the wrong terminology, we've only had the turkeys this year and only for food so I will admit I didn't put a whole lot of effort into knowing everything about them. Just figured we would get them and try them out and for the most part they were great minus them jumping the fence to be eaten by the dogs.

The pictures below show the type of fencing and ground cover that's in their area with the remaining males. They also have a few immature trees in their run. But obviously the fence is a perfect ledge for them to roost on.

I was looking at the medium whites as an option and maybe Holland White, which I also believe the Holland White is technically a medium white. I looked at the Midget Whites but I think they would be too small and jump the fence. I mean we might even just settle for the Broad Breasted Bronze if there's nothing better. Those were available as poults at the same place I bought the Heritage ones. I am really interested in trying to hatch turkey eggs but I wonder if its financially worth it since I have heard they are harder to hatch. I have a fantastic Broody Chicken that I am sure would love try to hatch some out.

And they are eating a 21% game bird feed. I do know typically they should be fed around 30% but the 21% was more readily available and we weren't looking for 40-50lb birds.

As for the ugly part, you can see in the picture they're quite disheveled, and I am sure it is due to their feed. However, the Narragansett is on the same feed and looks good.

Did your Red Bronze grow more at the rate of the BBW or BR? Did he forage more?

20181103_165210.jpg

20181103_165204.jpg
 

R2elk

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Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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Natrona County, Wyoming
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Thanks for the links!

Sorry about using the wrong terminology, we've only had the turkeys this year and only for food so I will admit I didn't put a whole lot of effort into knowing everything about them. Just figured we would get them and try them out and for the most part they were great minus them jumping the fence to be eaten by the dogs.

The pictures below show the type of fencing and ground cover that's in their area with the remaining males. They also have a few immature trees in their run. But obviously the fence is a perfect ledge for them to roost on.

I was looking at the medium whites as an option and maybe Holland White, which I also believe the Holland White is technically a medium white. I looked at the Midget Whites but I think they would be too small and jump the fence. I mean we might even just settle for the Broad Breasted Bronze if there's nothing better. Those were available as poults at the same place I bought the Heritage ones. I am really interested in trying to hatch turkey eggs but I wonder if its financially worth it since I have heard they are harder to hatch. I have a fantastic Broody Chicken that I am sure would love try to hatch some out.

And they are eating a 21% game bird feed. I do know typically they should be fed around 30% but the 21% was more readily available and we weren't looking for 40-50lb birds.

As for the ugly part, you can see in the picture they're quite disheveled, and I am sure it is due to their feed. However, the Narragansett is on the same feed and looks good.

Did your Red Bronze grow more at the rate of the BBW or BR? Did he forage more?

View attachment 1587416
View attachment 1587417
That is definitely not the type of fence that will keep any kind of turkeys in. They love that top rail as a perch and will almost always get down on the wrong side of the fence once they get up there.

The 21% protein feed is fine for adult turkeys but is not what you want to feed to day old poults. The BB turkeys in particular need to be started on a proper turkey or gamebird starter which is usually 28% to 30% protein. The amount of protein is important but is not as important as the higher levels of lysine, methionine and niacin which are also in a proper turkey or gamebird starter. These are the nutrients that are critical to keeping healthy legs and proper development of internal organs. Turkey starter is recommended for the first 6 to 8 weeks. The next step is turkey or gamebird grower which is usually 24% protein and contains slightly lower levels of lysine, methionine and niacin. Turkey grower is recommended for 6 weeks after which you can put them on any quality all flock, finisher or other quality adult feed.

Part of the reason those BBWs look the way they do is that they have been selectively been bred over the years for poor quality feather growth so they can be sexed as day old poults. The other part of it is that they try to destroy each others tail feathers as part of dominance struggles.

Shipped turkey eggs don't do well. Local eggs hatch just fine. I have had up to 100% hatch in my incubator, under a turkey hen or under a broody chicken. You do have to make sure the adults are getting proper nutrition to get good hatch rates.
 

aliciaplus3

Free Ranging
Oct 24, 2016
2,908
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Colorado
I am currently working on a BBW cross.... I have one hen that appears to be a Narraganset crossed with a BBW and she is bigger than my other heritage girls. I plan to hatch eggs from her this spring and see where this cross takes me.
2018-08-10 20.09.26.jpg
ok so this is a pic from early this fall that shows Spudley front and Center! She is currently bigger than Squeeker the tom both born march 2018
 

mandelyn

Crowing
11 Years
Aug 30, 2009
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Mt Repose, OH
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I had a guy come and buy me out on Bourbon toms so that he could cross them over his BBW hens, he said he does get a better meat bird from it as a result without needing to do the tom's work for him. He did mention reducing the protein on the BBW hens he intended to keep as breeders to prevent them from getting too large.

I'm sticking with the Heritage, I have a flock of Bourbons and 2 groups of Narragansetts. We see a dress weight of 9/10 lbs between 5/6 months of age. More if they go longer.

Ours have covered grassy runs and we use pasture tractors to grow out the boys in. Girls get sold in order to pay for the feed for the boys we keep for dinner.

We start them on 28% turkey starter, lowering to 26%, 24% and then to 20% once their structure is done growing.
 

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