Crossbreeding?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Amarisus, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Amarisus

    Amarisus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a question and hope at least one had some sort of experience on this. I plan on getting a few turkeys come spring and I'm hoping to end up with a tom and two hens or so. I would like to hatch some of their eggs and raise their young for meat. I know the broad brested varieties can't breed naturally so I was wondering if I could crossbreed with a type that breeds naturally. I.E. If I have a bourbon red tom could he fertilize the eggs from broad brested bronze hens? I know they wouldn't be as big as a pure broad brested but I would just like a self sustaning meat flock for my family and I. Or would this just not work?
     
  2. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, you could do that. Broad-breasted turkeys usually can't breed because the toms get too big. But the hens usually can manage.

    I guess the question I would ask is why bother with the broad-breasted turkeys at all, and why not just go with the heritage birds. It is true that there is a little less breast meat and they are not as large, but they are good to eat and if you want them for occassional eating, they are plenty big enough. Bourbon red toms can easily dress out at 18 pounds, and that should get you through a meal or two.

    If you stick with just the heritage birds, your turkeys will certainly look nicer and behave more like turkeys, and a big old BB hen may develop leg problems or die prematurely from carrrying around the excess weight. There are many tales of people having BB pet turkeys, but BB birds were really created to be butchered young.

    IMO, in the long run you would be more satisfied with a small flock of heritage turkeys than with a really nice tom and some BB hens. Again, just my opinion.
     
  3. Amarisus

    Amarisus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the input, I just wanted to do the broad brested because I have a fairly large family but I suppose I could just process more than one turkey at a time if I had to. Now I have another question, What's the largest and/or best tasting heritage turkey in your experience?
     
  4. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    If size is a consideration, have you looked at the bronze or white holland--these are said to be the biggest of the heritage types.

    I am growing up a group of different breeds of turkeys to see if they muscle up differently and any other basic comparisons. I expected tthem to be the same, but I am finding some dfiferences as I read what others have. .
     
  5. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can only tell you about BBW and Holland Whites! I foolishly bought some BBW, before I was told that they had to be AI! I wound up keeping them on a careful diet, but they grew sooooo big that the toms weighted 80 pounds by the time we got them all processed and we had to be careful that they did not break a leg or die of heart failure and they did not live like a normal turkey. They were OBESE and could hardly walk on their own. The only thing we liked about them was the large amount of breast meat and the fact that a white turkey has no dark pin feathers! Now we raise Heritage Holland Whites, and the taste is soooo much better and they do not have any heart or leg problems. They take longer to mature to max meat weight of 35# for a dressed out Tom of 18 months, but they live a natural life and reproduce naturally, and they really do reproduce! My 2 hens, last year laid, every single day for over 4 months, before they slacked off, skipping only 4 days the whole time. I sold many poults and Hatching eggs to help offset the feed costs. They did not have double breasts but here are pictures of a couple we processed last Thanksgiving, but they are not going to reach this size in 4 to 6 months like BBW's do. BBW's do not forage well either, but Heritage turkeys do forage pretty well in the Summer, if they are on Free range. They are eating machines if you do not have the land to free range. Ours are not completely fenced in, but they know were home is and I don't know why, but they do not go far off our property. Maybe because our 2 OLDER hens stay at home. This year we have 13 hens and 14 Toms, most of which are filling out for freezer camp. If you start with 2 hens and 1 tom, keep an extra tom from them, for next year, just in case. You would not want to have a big flock of hens and have your only tom get killed, if you know what I mean![​IMG]
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    You might be interested in the taste testing some of us are planning for the end of this year. So far I am going to grow and have a tasts test between White Holland, Midget White, Bourbon Red, Black Spanish,Narragnsett and whatever other Heritage breeds I can get plus a BBW and a BBB, for a good compairative. I have a very large family, so when we get together for Thanksgiving, there are about 100 or so brothers, sisters, kids, grandkids, and friends, so a turkey from each breed will be cooked all the same and with no seasoning except salt and black pepper to see in a blind taste test, once and for everybody's info, which, most people liked better. Each will be processed and given a number and no one will know until everyone's score is added up, which ones they picked. They will all be raised with the same feed on the same land, too. Here is the link if you are interested:https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...t-which-breeds-of-heritage-turkeys-taste-best
     
  6. Amarisus

    Amarisus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm gonna have to read up on the hollands then they look nice. I had a bb bronze a year ago, we processed him at about 6 months and he dressed out at 35lbs he was huge! That was part of the problem though he didn't know how big he was and kept stepping on my chickens [​IMG] no health problems though but he was young. So something a little smaller will be nice lol My plan is to free range them with the chickens during the day and lock them up in a seperate pen at night. Are the hollands hard to come by? I haven't really heard of them until now, am I going to be spending major $$ on some chicks or hatching eggs? I only plan on have like three or four so if I had two toms and two hens with the toms fight? Sorry for all the questions I've only had the one meat turkey before so having some as pets/breeding will be different.
     
  7. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    As long as my toms stay together 24/7 they do not fight; when they have been apart ( could even be a fence between) they fight until position is determined again.

    White Hollands, ( not NEw Holland, which is a tractor, sorry) is based on heritage bronze. Reese has a line of white hollands that he developed out of his bronze line. That would explain why this white is aong the largest turkeys.

    I often think about crossing a broad breasted type to a heritage to create an f1 that can forage and get into the freezer before fall.
     
  8. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    BB turkeys, IMO, are very clumsy, probably because of their fast growth. If you order from a Hatchery, you will have to order 15 min. I free range mine along with my chickens, ducks and geese, with no problems, all 26 of them. I have 13 toms and 13 hens, and after they established their pecking order, there are no more squabbles. Nothing serious during, either, they would just grab each other's snoods until one would back down. No blood or any damage to any of them. I do not need that many toms but some of them need a little more time to fill out, before freezer camp. I am hatching out quite a few right now, with exceptional hatch rate, but I do not ship live poultry. However, if you would like to buy fertile Holland White Hatching eggs, PM me![​IMG]
     
  9. skookumchuck

    skookumchuck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just got a Bourbon Rd hen 8 months old for $15.00 and a Royal Palm Tom will this make an ok small meat bird? I was going to go with a straight Bourbon reds but the Royal Palm tom was free.
     
  10. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    You can do it. Palms are on the smaller side of meatiness compared to other breeds. Mostly ornamental. Maybe use him until you find another BR or if you want a meatier bird try bronze or white holland.
     

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