Breed recommendations?


My Patronus is a Chicken
11 Years
Apr 22, 2008
We are hoping to raise some turkeys this year for our family and several others. Last year, a local farm that we work with raised an assortment of different breeds and I got to see how they all dressed out as we did the processing. The one I took home was a bourbon red tom and was a very good size for our family of four (he was around 15lbs I believe). Anyway, I am trying to decide what breed to get this year for us to raise ourselves. I would like a bird that is 15-20lbs dressed weight but I prefer heritage breeds if that is possible. What breed should I look into and at what age should we anticipate processing? Thanks for any help!
Heritage turkeys basicly come in 3 size ranges. Small would be a Midget White or Beltsville Small White, medium size Bourbon Red, Royal Palm and most of the others, large size would be Standard Bronze or White Holland. The Royal Palm was never really bred as a meat bird it's more an ornamental - they have a shallow breast bone so they don't have a much breast meat as other varieties.

Taste wise our fav is the Midget White followed by the Bourbon red.

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Royal palms are gorgeous, but might not be as heavy as you are asking for. Narragansetts or Bourbon reds would probably be good choices. Standard bronzes get a little biggest tom last fall dressed at 22 lb.

28 weeks is about the minimum age for heritage turkeys. Otherwise the breast meat can be a little thin. Last year I thought my narragansetts could have gone a little longer and my bronzes could have gone a week earlier.
The Royal Palms would be more like eating a Leghorn. Pretty to look at, but created for onamental purposes.

The other breeds were developed for meat.

Then you have the Broad Breasted...the cornishX of turkeys.

Most would agree with Steve. The small white and the Bourbon Reds have great flavor. We had a RPxBR young tom this year and it was good, just a bit shallow on breast meat. Flavor was great.

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