Can you keep a broad breasted turkey as a pet?

paigemn

Songster
May 30, 2018
65
91
111
Wisconsin
We were given two turkeys last year and never planned on butchering them. We weren't told they were broad breasted. Which is our fault for not doing the research and asking more questions. I wouldn't have taken them If I would have known. I had one of them die from a vent prolapse and being pecked by chickens so I've been doing a lot of research. I'm not 100% sure that they are broad breasted but I think we did. Can they be kept as pets? I weighed our girl that we have left and she's about 23 pounds right now and 10 months old. She's walking fine and doesn't seem to have any issues. Lays eggs every few days. But I was wondering if it's cruel to keep her as a pet? I don't think I have the heart to butcher her :( We were going to get more turkeys to keep her company and if we do that we definitely won't make this mistake again. I will be making sure they're heritage turkeys. Now if we do get more turkeys we'll have to get a few because I don't know how long this hen will live. Can broad breasted turkeys live a happy healthy life?
 

Kessel23

Hi Bug
Feb 6, 2018
2,561
71,682
1,232
Wisconsin
They can be kept as pets and will live shorter lives than heritage breeds on average. I have two hens that are 11 months old right now and they are doing fine. One of them has gotten bumblefoot for the second time and I am struggling a lot trying to treat it. The other seems very healthy. I had a jake too who was the healthiest of the 3 and very slim for a BBB but he was killed by dogs this fall. I think someone on here had a hen live for 9 years, I do not remember her username though. That is very long for BB. I do not know what the average is but I know it is a good bit lower than that.
 

R2elk

*
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
36,653
182,459
1,661
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
We were given two turkeys last year and never planned on butchering them. We weren't told they were broad breasted. Which is our fault for not doing the research and asking more questions. I wouldn't have taken them If I would have known. I had one of them die from a vent prolapse and being pecked by chickens so I've been doing a lot of research. I'm not 100% sure that they are broad breasted but I think we did. Can they be kept as pets? I weighed our girl that we have left and she's about 23 pounds right now and 10 months old. She's walking fine and doesn't seem to have any issues. Lays eggs every few days. But I was wondering if it's cruel to keep her as a pet? I don't think I have the heart to butcher her :( We were going to get more turkeys to keep her company and if we do that we definitely won't make this mistake again. I will be making sure they're heritage turkeys. Now if we do get more turkeys we'll have to get a few because I don't know how long this hen will live. Can broad breasted turkeys live a happy healthy life?
You can keep her as a pet but be prepared for your heart to ache when she does pass. Lots of free range time with plenty of walks for exercise will help maintain her health. Be very limiting of any treats, especially BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds) and any other high fat foods. Keep mealworms to a minimum.

It may be beneficial to treat her water with a good vitamin B complex. The recipe is one half of a tablet or capsule dissolved in one gallon of water. Do not add anything else to the water and it must be made fresh daily.

BB turkeys have a tendency to get their owners very attached to them because of their calm and mild manners. Many others have been and will continue to be in the same position that you are in.

Good luck.
 

uptown hens

Chirping
Mar 19, 2017
20
29
69
Troutville VA
We have two females that will be 3 in a couple months. The do free range in the day, but have food readily in the coop.
They live with the chickens. I love them to death, but they are eating all the chicken eggs. I really don't have a way to seperate them, and I keep thinking any time now they are gonna pass on because they are so big and have breathing issues, but they seem happy to just hang in there for the long haul. Sweet girls, dumb as an ox, but come running like a puppy when I go outside.

So at three years old, they are still going strong. And they are regular egg layers.
 

R2elk

*
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
36,653
182,459
1,661
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
We have two females that will be 3 in a couple months. The do free range in the day, but have food readily in the coop.
They live with the chickens. I love them to death, but they are eating all the chicken eggs. I really don't have a way to separate them, and I keep thinking any time now they are gonna pass on because they are so big and have breathing issues, but they seem happy to just hang in there for the long haul. Sweet girls, dumb as an ox, but come running like a puppy when I go outside.

So at three years old, they are still going strong. And they are regular egg layers.
If yours are only 3 months old and already have breathing issues, they are not likely to make it to 3 years old unless you make drastic changes to their diet which includes no treats.
 

FortCluck

Hatch-a-Long Queen
Sep 9, 2019
21,411
93,402
1,317
Central Virginia
You can keep her as a pet but be prepared for your heart to ache when she does pass. Lots of free range time with plenty of walks for exercise will help maintain her health. Be very limiting of any treats, especially BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds) and any other high fat foods. Keep mealworms to a minimum.

It may be beneficial to treat her water with a good vitamin B complex. The recipe is one half of a tablet or capsule dissolved in one gallon of water. Do not add anything else to the water and it must be made fresh daily.

BB turkeys have a tendency to get their owners very attached to them because of their calm and mild manners. Many others have been and will continue to be in the same position that you are in.

Good luck.
I just looked up BBW for pet on google and this popped up. I’m a hot mess. Swear we are keeping those 4. My husband already threatened to put them at Fort Cluck (my massive run) with 6 coops and aviary. He said he can’t kill them, but he had no problem butchering those 4 cockerels this weekend.
 

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