Eating very young heritage turkeys.


10 Years
Jul 26, 2009
I did a little experiment this year, some of which I shared previously. I hatched a number of eggs from my mixed breed heritage turkeys back in mid June. The parents are a cross of Royal Palm and Calico Sweetgrass. I did this with the intention of raising them for food of some sort ....

Because of space constraints, the burden of having to tend to them, and the cost of feed as well as factoring in the efficiency, or really lack thereof, of their feed use (which I believe is called the feed conversion ratio), I came to the conclusion last week that I needed to process the majority of them at their young age.

Which I did. I processed 14 of 19 that survived to this point. One died about 3 weeks ago, it had been severely pecked and I had to dispatch it humanely, so I cleaned it, and I had actually eaten it at the time. Because the hatch was staggered over about a 2 week period, I left the 4 very youngest to go a while longer.

I skinned them, as I have been doing with all of my poultry, since we really don't eat the skin and I find it much easier. Also, I did not save the feet as I had done with my Cornish Cross chickens, since they seemed much less "fleshy" than the chicken feet, and it just didn't seem worth the bother.

The end result - they averaged 2.53 lbs dressed, including the giblets and necks (but without skin). I haven't really kept track of how much feed they have consumed, so I can't really tell you how much per pound they cost me. Considering how much a Cornish Cross chicken grows in the time period, I would guess that these birds cost considerably more per pound than the chickens.

HOWEVER, what ever the economics, I have to tell you they are fabulous. White meat is extremely tender, drumsticks have no tendons yet and are also very tender. I actually cut up 2 of them this morning, breaded and fried like chicken. Essentially, they are the turkey equivalent of Cornish hens or very small fryers at this point.

Now, If I had to BUY poults at $5 or more each, I would never do this. But, since I had the ability to hatch my own, I found it an interested experiment. I honestly probably would NOT do this again, since it seems more economical and efficient just to raise Cornish Cross chickens, but I'm still glad I tried this, just to see how it would work out.

How old were they? Or did I miss that? I can't wait to try some of my homegrown heritage birds either. Especially since I got 8 toms to 4 hens

ETA...sorry, it's late....mid roughly 2.5 months?
Last edited:
They hatched over a few weeks period in June, from roughly the 6th to about the first of July. I just kept popping eggs into the incubator as they were laid.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom