Everyone should raise their own turkey next year!!!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by KatyTheChickenLady, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    This was my first year with the stinkers and the experience was great here's a quick run down:
    I started with four poults all a week apart. Black Spanish X Blue slate (so slower growing and not double breasted)

    I was hoping for two boys and two girls, got three boys 1 girl.

    They were healthy and hearty from the get go, I just threw them out with the free ranging chickens. Didn't baby or coddle them. Fed them Purina Flock raiser from the begining on, they also get cracked corn, red wheat and table scraps.

    The youngest was the female and one day the three males loved her to death (I had no idea they would do that!). The three males were beginning to get quite . . . "randy" and were beginning to turn their attentions to the (very unwilling) chickens, rabbit and roos . . . the roos were particularly insulted by this.

    To solve our testosterone issue I traded one Tom for a hen on CL, and had the least good looking remaining Tom butchered (four months).

    We have since purchased another hen and she integrated easily, leaving us with one Tom and two hens for next years breeding season. They free range the entire place and roost in the trees, they require the least amount of care and concern of any of the animals. If anything they're too friendly. My husband was worried that they would bother his customers, but so far everyone is enjoying the show that the birds feel is madatory to put on for every single customer.

    That brings us to the one we butchered and froze saving to cook yesterday. I thought he probably wouldn't be too great, he was the scrawniest of the three and the carcass really looked like it was all bones, butcher weight was 12 pounds - a little smaller than I would normally buy in the store. I was expecting dry and a little tough.

    I couldn't have been further wrong! That boy cooked up to be truely the best tasing turkey I have EVER had! (although he didn't look like a Betty Crocker bird on the table) the flavor was amazing and it was the moistest, densest turkey meat I have ever seen. Also there was WAY more meat than it looked like, the breast was shaped different than commercial birds but there was just as much meat plus far more on the thighs and even on the back. It was really incredible. I am a great cook with a lot of experience, and I was just blown away by how amazing this was - I'm telling you if you have the room, raise at least one heritage turkey next year!
  2. mom2to

    mom2to Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2010
    where did you buy them? breeder or hatchery?
  3. pringle

    pringle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    I would love to but we dont have enough space here [​IMG]

    RAREROO Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 22, 2009
    Alapaha, Ga
    I will hopefully, I hope to start as flock of White Hollands to raise primarily for meat. I raise Bourbon Reds now but I have never butchered any becauase I dont raise many off and the few extras we do have sell pretty well so we sell the extras. But I am planning on the White Hollands, if they do OK, to mainly be for raising meat turkeys every year.
  5. jambunny

    jambunny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2009
    Banner Wyoming
    I lost all my Bourban hens this year but am planning on restocking and starting one other breed this year. My sister and I are planning on growing our whole Thanksgiving dinner next year.
  6. HappySlappyFarm

    HappySlappyFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 4, 2009
    Massillon, OH
    I wouldn't dare eat my turkey. I invited him for dinner instead of having him for dinner!
    Grampa was our guest of honor! He got BOSS, pumpkin pie, peas, carrots, yam, fresh bread, cranberry sauce &
    an all natural berry yogurt! [​IMG]


    Grampa is a broad breasted bronze. I love him in the yard, he's beautiful. NOT in my oven! LOL
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  7. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    I am looking into it for next year. I thinking of getting 3 or 4. They wont need much of a shelter as they will be gone with the cold weather but will need a run so they dont wonder to the neighbors, they have already called the police for a chicken in their driveway. I currently feed my chickens gamd bird finisher, what would I feed the turkeys? Im looking for websites now and deciding what breed I should get. My dad always got a wild turkey for thanksgiving but didnt the last 2 years, they got smart on him I guess. My uncle used to raise turkeys, I bet he would butcher them for me if I gave him one.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010
  8. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Another BYC'er that lives close to me, and I, are thinking of doing this for next year.
    What breed would you recommend for BIG breasts? [​IMG] I want a big old 30lb bird...
    And where do i get them from? Hatchery day old poults or hatching eggs? And is there a difference in taste with males and females??
    I've had wild shot turkey from around here.. and i wasnt thrilled with the meat... too dark for me.. So i'm looking for a bird that has more "white" meat...
    OOh.. and when exactly do i get the babies so they'll be ready for Thanksgiving?
    Thanks for any ideas! [​IMG]
  9. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    I was THIS close to butchering mine this year..my breeding pair of midget whites 7 months old but she laid an egg!!! They are keepers as long as the Tom doesnt hurt anyone this Winter! Im about 1 day away from throwing one of her eggs under my broody-and if she lays a few more maybe those too:) Those will be for T day nexy year:) Awesome Katy Im glad it was as delicious as I pray mine will be..
  10. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    We found an egg in the hen we butchered today. We'll see if it hatches.

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