Butchering Time for Small White Beltsville Turkeys


In the Brooder
6 Years
Jan 25, 2013
Nova Scotia
Hello everyone. I have several SWB turkeys that are 6 months old now. For the last two months, they could not seem to get enough to eat. I was running food down to their pen three or four times daily. Now in the last week, they've laid right off. They are in good health and they are eating but not in the vast amounts they previously put away. Is this an indication that they are ready for slaughter? I've read that they take more time to lay down meat and fat and I don't want to be too hasty. I would love to have some advice from you guys. Thanks for reading.
Small White Belteville are small Heritage Turkeys and at this point you should be feeding them a 28% high protein turkey grower. Turkeys will sometime eat like they have no bottoms during growth spurts, and then slack off a little, but they are nowhere near grown! Most Heritage turkeys take 18 months to reach their fully mature size. They don't become sexually mature until 8 or 9 months and will lay the start of the following season. I have raised White Hollands for a few years and find they take about 9 months to grow out their large frame and then put on weight(meat) for the next 9, case in point, last Thanksgiving we harvested 2 toms @ 18 months old and 1 @ 9, the 2 older ones processed out at 34# and 35#, while the 9 month old was 20# 2 ounces! Heritage turkeys can be harvested any time they have enough meat on them, but the closer you get to 18 months, the more meat and the older they are the better the flavor! A turkey under 9 or 10 months will be mostly skin and bone. At least that is how it is with WH.

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