Broad Breasted White - Pet or Thanksgiving?

teriz1091

Songster
5 Years
Oct 6, 2015
165
176
141
Kansas
My husband wanted a turkey last time we were at Tractor Supply, so we came home with a Broad Breasted White. Initially I told him it would be Thanksgiving dinner since they are meat birds, but our 3yr old has named it & handles it daily, so it’s friendly.

I’ve never had a meat turkey before. Is the BBW the Cornish X of the turkey world? Will it outgrow it’s body if I don’t butcher it in a timely manner? Would it be inhumane to try to keep Pebbles as a pet? I don’t know how large they get or how quickly. I have no problem putting Pebbles on the dinner table if the alternative is letting the turkey suffer because it grows too large to support itself.

picture of the curious little stinker because Pebbles is cute.
657D2B0F-D938-4E73-9315-DDC316A4CB26.jpeg
 

R2elk

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9 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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My husband wanted a turkey last time we were at Tractor Supply, so we came home with a Broad Breasted White. Initially I told him it would be Thanksgiving dinner since they are meat birds, but our 3yr old has named it & handles it daily, so it’s friendly.

I’ve never had a meat turkey before. Is the BBW the Cornish X of the turkey world? Will it outgrow it’s body if I don’t butcher it in a timely manner? Would it be inhumane to try to keep Pebbles as a pet? I don’t know how large they get or how quickly. I have no problem putting Pebbles on the dinner table if the alternative is letting the turkey suffer because it grows too large to support itself.

picture of the curious little stinker because Pebbles is cute.
View attachment 2158440
BBWs were developed to be processed by the time they are 6 months old. If you are raising it on chick starter, don't be surprised if it starts developing leg issues as soon as it starts gaining weight.

Chick starter does not have the higher levels of lysine, methionine, niacin and protein for proper development.
 

Lamontelle4

Chirping
Aug 11, 2019
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90
54
My husband wanted a turkey last time we were at Tractor Supply, so we came home with a Broad Breasted White. Initially I told him it would be Thanksgiving dinner since they are meat birds, but our 3yr old has named it & handles it daily, so it’s friendly.

I’ve never had a meat turkey before. Is the BBW the Cornish X of the turkey world? Will it outgrow it’s body if I don’t butcher it in a timely manner? Would it be inhumane to try to keep Pebbles as a pet? I don’t know how large they get or how quickly. I have no problem putting Pebbles on the dinner table if the alternative is letting the turkey suffer because it grows too large to support itself.

picture of the curious little stinker because Pebbles is cute.
View attachment 2158440
Oof. sadly yes pebbles will become over weight if her weight is not carefully maintained. My experience with BBW is that they are extremely aggressive as adults. If you want a pet turkey that will last heritage breeds will make wonderful pets. I am right now dealing with a pet broad breasted bronze that has come to the end of her life. She is three years old and has lived far longer than most broad breasted turkeys. There is nothing wrong with keeping broad breasted turkeys as pets. But you always have to be prepared for them to not live that long. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe pebbles will live a incredibly long life and won’t be aggressive. If you killed pebbles for thanksgiving would it be more humane? Its a moral dilemma that I have debated myself on for years because in the past I used to raise turkeys for food. I still have yet to come to a conclusion. I just cant bring myself to kill anymore of my turkeys.
 

teriz1091

Songster
5 Years
Oct 6, 2015
165
176
141
Kansas
BBWs were developed to be processed by the time they are 6 months old. If you are raising it on chick starter, don't be surprised if it starts developing leg issues as soon as it starts gaining weight.

Chick starter does not have the higher levels of lysine, methionine, niacin and protein for proper development.

I’m currently feeding 24% chick starter. Should I switch to the regular 20% chick feed?
 

R2elk

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Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 24, 2013
39,844
203,826
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Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
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I’m currently feeding 24% chick starter. Should I switch to the regular 20% chick feed?
You should switch to a proper turkey or game bird starter. I give my poults a 28% protein turkey or game bird starter. It is recommended to feed them this until they are 6 to 8 weeks old.

The stuff some manufacturers try to pass off as 24% protein starter for turkeys and game birds is the same stuff that reliable manufacturers sell as turkey or game bird grower and is what should be fed starting around 6 to 8 weeks old.
 

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