Comparing Breeds--need your experience!!

Arielle

Crowing
8 Years
Feb 19, 2011
16,722
615
411
Massachusetts, USA
I would really like to hear from people who have , have had, 2 or more breeds o f turkeys.

I would like to know if they grew at different rates, who liked to forage more, or who liked the feed trough more. who could handle the summer heat and who couldn't. Which of the heritage breeds has a big breast, or a lightly muscled one. That sort of thing. THey all start sounding alike.And I'm sure they are not.

This is info I have been searching for but cannot find. Only descriptions by color. Color is nice but it doesn't tell me about thrift or other vital characteristics.

Or if someone knows where such info is, I could be grateful for a link or a direction to search.

many thanks.
 

Arielle

Crowing
8 Years
Feb 19, 2011
16,722
615
411
Massachusetts, USA
THank you, I love this porter site. Good genetic info on color and weights. Do you know of anything that covers health, genetic quirks, disease resistance, growth rates, foraging ability,etc??
 

Frosty

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 30, 2008
2,935
109
256
ND
THank you, I love this porter site. Good genetic info on color and weights. Do you know of anything that covers health, genetic quirks, disease resistance, growth rates, foraging ability,etc??
Over the years I have had Narrigansett, Bourbon Reds, Royal Palms, and currently have White Hollands and a Regal Red from Kevin Porter, some Jersey Buff Poults from the same source, and two Broad Breasted hens from a hatchery (a one year old and a two year old). A Broad Breasted will have the large breasts and grow fastest, the Royal Palms are on the smaller side with less meat than most other varieties.

Any of them can forage very well, even the Broad Breasted turkeys. In fact, I often turn my BB turkeys loose to forage and only feed them once a week to remind them that they live here. I watch to make sure they are in good shape, but they find their own food. That actually keeps their growth slower and helps them avoid the leg problems later (as well as keeps them small enough to fit in the oven at 6 months old).

Health, genetic quirks, and disease resistance are all pretty much linked to each other and boils down to the breeders management practices. I like Kevins birds, he is one that breeds for quality, not quantity. I think a lot of breeders for the big hatcheries do the opposite but I have still got some pretty nice birds there too.

In January 2010, my turkey barn collapsed under a heavy snow load, and I was scrambling to get my turkeys moved to another building. One of my White Holland hens flew out and landed on the greenhouse roof out by the garden. After I moved the rest of the birds and went to get her, she was gone. I finally gave up looking for a white turkey in the snow and figured she would find the rest of the flock and I'd catch her then. But after not seeing her for a week (during which we had a bad blizzard), I gave up. She either died from a predator, lack of food, or the elements (we had temps down to -30) It was pretty much a record year for snow fall and colder than average. So I was shocked when March came and a neighbor called to tell me that a white turkey hen was in her yard. I don't know where she was or what she ate, but she made it through the worst part of a bad North Dakota winter on her own. So if you start with good stock, you shouldn't have any problems.
 

Arielle

Crowing
8 Years
Feb 19, 2011
16,722
615
411
Massachusetts, USA
Thank you. THAT is the kind of info I'm looking for.

I guess the white feathering helped your hen survive the winter.


I have been thinking of adding another breed of turkey, just not sure what to pick and why.

Narrigansets were developed not far from here.

I've heard BR are not as meaty in the breast as some heritage breeds.

Hawks pick off my white chickens, so I thought white turkeys might have the same fate.


Would love to hear more from anyone willing to share.
 

njduck

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 15, 2011
204
2
91
this is my first year hatching turkeys, so my results are all by accident. Last year I ordered standard bronze turkeys from mcmurray hatchery. they arrived healthy. I placed them in a large storage tote with no lid and placed in a 3 sided shed while I was plowing. They all got cooked but 1 and it turned out to be a hen. I went to reorder more turkeys and all I could get was chocolates. This year I bred 3 chocolate hens, 1 standard bronze hen to the chocolate tom. The standard bronze/chocolate cross males are growing at alot faster rate then either the chocolates, chocolate/bronze hen cross, ot my bronze last year. I don't know why this is. Again this is total accident, not some bright idea I had. But they are turning out to be real nice turkeys. shame is they are smallest number in the hatch each week. They should make me good money this fall
 

Arielle

Crowing
8 Years
Feb 19, 2011
16,722
615
411
Massachusetts, USA
this is my first year hatching turkeys, so my results are all by accident. Last year I ordered standard bronze turkeys from mcmurray hatchery. they arrived healthy. I placed them in a large storage tote with no lid and placed in a 3 sided shed while I was plowing. They all got cooked but 1 and it turned out to be a hen. I went to reorder more turkeys and all I could get was chocolates. This year I bred 3 chocolate hens, 1 standard bronze hen to the chocolate tom. The standard bronze/chocolate cross males are growing at alot faster rate then either the chocolates, chocolate/bronze hen cross, ot my bronze last year. I don't know why this is. Again this is total accident, not some bright idea I had. But they are turning out to be real nice turkeys. shame is they are smallest number in the hatch each week. They should make me good money this fall
" I don't know why this is" = WHen you cross breeds youget an increase in hybrid vigor. THe animals are healthier and faster growing.

What did you mean by " shame is they are smallest number in the hatch each week" Explain.

It is funny how things turn out! SOrry you lost your first batch, and because of that you have chocolates.
 

Frosty

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 30, 2008
2,935
109
256
ND
If I may offer a bit of nit picky info... With turkeys, they aren't 'breeds', they are 'varieties'. Don't ask me why, I haven't a clue.
 

exop

Songster
11 Years
Jan 10, 2009
487
40
176
NW Indiana
"Breeds" versus "varieties" doesn't have any basis in science; it is just a decree handed down by someone in the APA last century. Really, there is no reason that they shouldn't be called breeds, and they are in other countries. No one here should feel bad or ignorant for referring to different turkey breeds. It's not as if all turkeys have the same exact size, conformation, temperament and disease resistance, and differ only in their feather color! But that's what "color varieties" implies.
 
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