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Broad Breasted Bronze: How can I tell if they're ready to be butchered?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by LeslieDJoyce, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. LeslieDJoyce

    LeslieDJoyce Overrun With Chickens

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    I followed my usual strategy of finding an awesome answer to this question here at BYC by googling it, but I didn't get a link to BYC, so thought I'd ask ...

    How will I be able to tell when my BBB turkeys are ready to be butchered?

    I got these turkeys in late May of 2012. Will they be ready by Thanksgiving? They are already pretty big. The guys on the farm are saying "they're ready," but I have also read it takes 9 months, so that would be January, which isn't exactly turkey eating season. And if I wait that long the birds will be 50-60 lbs.

    I'm concerned if I do it early, they won't have enough meat on their bones or any fat to make them juicy ...

    Any tips on deciding when to butcher them, or how to "finish" them so they are yummy?

    I read one tip to feed them beer for great flavor. But is this tip for real?

    If there is already a great thread for this, I'd be satisfied with a link.

    Thanks so much in advance!
     
  2. LeslieDJoyce

    LeslieDJoyce Overrun With Chickens

    3,675
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    Jul 30, 2012
    Sherwood, OR
    My Coop
  3. LeslieDJoyce

    LeslieDJoyce Overrun With Chickens

    3,675
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    Jul 30, 2012
    Sherwood, OR
    My Coop
    And I found another thread that says BBB take 8 or 9 months, so that would mean February? [​IMG]

    The toms are over 20 lbs already ... Would be so nice to have meat that has never been frozen ...
     
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    No. Heritage turkeys take 9 month, not the Broad Breasted Whites or Bronzes. .They grow twice as fast. Butcher when they get to the size you want. Or wait until 1 week before Thanksgiving to get a never frozen bird.

    Meat will be lovely tender as old as 1 year of age, so any time you want to butcher will work and if your broad breasted bronze are over 20 pounds now, they will be plenty big enough for a large family for Thanksgiving.
     
  5. chicken pickin

    chicken pickin Overrun With Chickens

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    I just processed my BBWs last weekend. They were hatched out in may and I processed them at about 19- 20 weeks old. The tom came back at 27lbs and the hen was 17lbs. I found those to be good weights for my family.
     
  6. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2012
    Tickfaw, Louisiana
    I raised BBW turkeys and I can assure you that you won't be sorry if you wait until a few days before Thanksgiving and have a fresh bird for dinner. I bought 15 a couple of years ago and it was over a year before I got around to harvesting the last of them. I foolishly thought I could mate them and have perpetual turkeys, but only the first dozen or so eggs were fertile. The last few toms were over 80 pounds when I harvested them and I deboned one and got over 35 pounds of boneless white meat and about 20ish pounds of dark meat.[​IMG] Had lots of ground turkey burgers and sausage from that one bird and sveral white turkey roasts. Even after a year old, they were still tender and juicy! You do know you have to brine a fresh turkey? I like to leave a fresh turkey 2 to 3 days in a brine, but it can be done for as little as 24 hours on a really young bird like BBB.
     
  7. LeslieDJoyce

    LeslieDJoyce Overrun With Chickens

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    Sherwood, OR
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    Awesome! So if we don't find tables for these birds, we can keep them around a bit longer! Great news! Also great news we can harvest them now! I was having visions of heart attacks and crumpled legs like Cornish cross chickens. Or skin & bone soup birds.

    I was *planning* on brining my bird, because I always do, but hadn't heard it was required. Why so?

    Also, what type of brine does one use? I typically make a ton of broth with a ton of veggies, then do a pickling spice brine with the liquid. But there are SO many kinds of brine ... !

    I sympathize with not getting "keeper" turkeys! Our turkey experience started as a practical joke on me ... one bird turned into five. We love the birds so much as pets it will be sad to see them go. We'll get heritage birds next time. Turkeys are just so fabulous, even if they do require LOTS of space. Mine are HUGE!
     
  8. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2012
    Tickfaw, Louisiana
    They are hybreds, so Like the cornish cross chickens, they will litterally eat themselves to death if left to their own demise. I leave the feeder out for them no more than 12 hours and then take feed away for 12 hours. I lost several meat birds to heart attacks and lameness, until I learned better. Brining makes a turkey jusier and tender. Commercial turkeys in the grocery, are mostly BBW and if you read the lable you will see they have been brined already for you. The thing with raising your own, is you know what is in the bird you are eating, and because they are not extreemly young, they taste a lot better, too. Brine is mostly desolved salt and sugar, with whatever seasoning you like, to cover the bird completely, refrigerated, for a period of time to let the muscles relax and soften, so the meat is tender and not stringy. These birds get really big, fast !
     

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