The turkey known as the Broad Breasted Bronze in the early 1930s through the late 1950s is nearly identical to todays Heritage Bronze turkey. The Standard's weights for adult Bronze turkeys are 36 pounds for toms and 20 pounds for hens. I have never had any go lame. Blackwing bronze are rare, and the same size. Also the white Hollands. Many of the other non palm breeds are in the 33 pound range for a tom. Keep in mind that the birds are only as good as the breeder you get them from. Many birds now a days are undersized and need you to select for utility in all areas.
The bronze turkeys raised at Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch have a long history. Most of the bloodline comes from Norman Kardosh. Norman got his genetics from his Mother. Mrs. Kardosh first developed her bloodline from Birds Brothers. In 1917, she purchased just 10 eggs from Birds Brothers (their ad is seen here, on the right). The eggs were $5.00 each, a lot of money in 1917. Five poults hatched from those eggs and that was the beginning. Other blood lines were added to this, but all Good Shepherd Bronze Heritage Turkeys can be traced to this start.
The Reese family have raised their line of Bronze Turkeys since 1917. Frank is a licensed judge and a Grand Master Exhibitor. Most would agree that Frank Reese has the best quality of the breeds he raises. He also wrote the definition for what a Heritage Poultry is for the ALBC.
We are pleased to announce that Frank R. Reese Jr accepted the nomination and was recently elected to serve the Exhibition Turkey Fanciers as District 6 Director (CO, KS, MO, NE). With his knowledge and experience the ETF is moving forward to promote all varieties of Exhibition Turkeys.
As the old guys told me,
You do not eat the feathers.
If we do not keep these turkeys up to standard weight,
Market weight and good conformation,
I don't think anyone can dispute Good Shepard's accomplishments or contributions to the birds over the years. If someone is looking to buy foundation stock, it would make way more sense to buy from a breeder with Good Shepard's credentials, rather than "Billy Bob's Turkey Farm". If you are looking to raise the best birds possible, then start with the best birds available. "No brainer" actually.