Free Range BBB Turkeys

Hardemans

In the Brooder
5 Years
May 8, 2014
98
9
43
Hello

We are new to turkeys and have 5 BBB that are growing very well. They are progressing according to the chart below (pulled this off a hatchery web site) and in fact are slightly ahead. They are 11 weeks old and the tom's weigh 13 lbs. We have them on a 30% feed.

Question is free ranging them?? We have a about 35 chickens that we free range during the day and have let the turkeys out with them a couple of times late in the afternoon. Will the free range slow their growth? I am not worried about them wandering off. They stick to the chickens fairly close.

We have 20 acres of which 14 is wooded the other pasture.






Tom​
Hen
Age in Weeks​
Lbs​
Change​
Lbs​
Change
2​
0.6​
0.6​

3​
1.2​
91%​
1.1​
89%
4​
1.8​
48%​
1.7​
47%
5​
2.8​
56%​
2.5​
50%
6​
3.8​
36%​
3.4​
33%
7​
5.2​
36%​
4.5​
33%
8​
6.5​
26%​
5.6​
25%
9​
8.1​
25%​
6.8​
23%
10​
9.8​
20%​
8.1​
18%
11​
11.6​
19%​
9.4​
17%
12​
13.4​
16%​
10.8​
14%
13​
15.5​
16%​
12.1​
12%
14​
17.6​
14%​
13.4​
11%
15​
19.7​
12%​
14.6​
9%
16​
21.9​
11%​
15.9​
8%
17​
24.0​
10%​
17.0​
7%
18​
26.1​
9%​
18.1​
7%
19​
28.2​
8%​
19.1​
6%
20​
30.3​
7%​
20.2​
6%
21​
32.2​
7%​
21.2​
5%
22​
34.2​
6%​
22.2​
5%
23​
36.1​
5%​
23.1​
4%
24​
38.0​
5%​
24.0​
4%​


Thanks

The Hardemans
 

R2elk

*
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
32,826
159,523
1,641
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
Hello

We are new to turkeys and have 5 BBB that are growing very well. They are progressing according to the chart below (pulled this off a hatchery web site) and in fact are slightly ahead. They are 11 weeks old and the tom's weigh 13 lbs. We have them on a 30% feed.

Question is free ranging them?? We have a about 35 chickens that we free range during the day and have let the turkeys out with them a couple of times late in the afternoon. Will the free range slow their growth? I am not worried about them wandering off. They stick to the chickens fairly close.

We have 20 acres of which 14 is wooded the other pasture.






Tom​
Hen
Age in Weeks​
Lbs​
Change​
Lbs​
Change
2​
0.6​
0.6​

3​
1.2​
91%​
1.1​
89%
4​
1.8​
48%​
1.7​
47%
5​
2.8​
56%​
2.5​
50%
6​
3.8​
36%​
3.4​
33%
7​
5.2​
36%​
4.5​
33%
8​
6.5​
26%​
5.6​
25%
9​
8.1​
25%​
6.8​
23%
10​
9.8​
20%​
8.1​
18%
11​
11.6​
19%​
9.4​
17%
12​
13.4​
16%​
10.8​
14%
13​
15.5​
16%​
12.1​
12%
14​
17.6​
14%​
13.4​
11%
15​
19.7​
12%​
14.6​
9%
16​
21.9​
11%​
15.9​
8%
17​
24.0​
10%​
17.0​
7%
18​
26.1​
9%​
18.1​
7%
19​
28.2​
8%​
19.1​
6%
20​
30.3​
7%​
20.2​
6%
21​
32.2​
7%​
21.2​
5%
22​
34.2​
6%​
22.2​
5%
23​
36.1​
5%​
23.1​
4%
24​
38.0​
5%​
24.0​
4%​


Thanks

The Hardemans

Free ranging the BBBs may slow their growth but it will strengthen their legs and help to prevent leg problems. I personally would switch them to turkey grower or a meat bird grower which has a lower percentage of protein. That will also help to reduce potential leg and internal health problems.
 

Hardemans

In the Brooder
5 Years
May 8, 2014
98
9
43
Free ranging the BBBs may slow their growth but it will strengthen their legs and help to prevent leg problems. I personally would switch them to turkey grower or a meat bird grower which has a lower percentage of protein. That will also help to reduce potential leg and internal health problems.
R2elk,

Thanks...we intend to harvest these birds about week 22 - 24. towards the end we will want to fatten them up with some corn or high carb feed.

Again - thanks
 

brittanimck

In the Brooder
May 21, 2015
75
3
31
Please don't wait more than 18 weeks to butcher a commercial breed turkey. No matter what you do, their quality of life is diminishes by genetic problems. It's cruel to let that carry on for too long.
 

Hardemans

In the Brooder
5 Years
May 8, 2014
98
9
43
Please don't wait more than 18 weeks to butcher a commercial breed turkey. No matter what you do, their quality of life is diminishes by genetic problems. It's cruel to let that carry on for too long.
Brittanmick,

Thanks for your concern and comment. Do you speak this from experience or from what you have read? If from experience, I would like to hear more from you on the subject of what have you seen when they reach that age (18 weeks). What type of feed did you provide at an early stage and prior to butchering.

Again thanks,

James Hardeman
 

R2elk

*
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
32,826
159,523
1,641
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
Please don't wait more than 18 weeks to butcher a commercial breed turkey. No matter what you do, their quality of life is diminishes by genetic problems. It's cruel to let that carry on for too long.

I have to disagree with you. I have raised BB turkeys well beyond two years of age without any issues. Free ranging them really helps prevent leg and other health issues.
 

Hardemans

In the Brooder
5 Years
May 8, 2014
98
9
43
R2elk

In your experience what is the best age to butcher?

How are the blue slate turkeys for the table?

thanks
 

R2elk

*
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
32,826
159,523
1,641
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
R2elk

In your experience what is the best age to butcher?

How are the blue slate turkeys for the table?

thanks

I normally got BBW turkey poults in mid April to early May and butchered for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some grew faster than others and those were the ones that I chose for Thanksgiving and the slower developing ones I waited fro Christmas. The ones butchered for Thanksgiving dressed in the mid 30 lb. range including giblets. The ones for Christmas also averaged about the same weight range.

In my opinion the best time to butcher them is when they reach the size that you desire other than my personal preference to have a fresh rather than a frozen turkey to cook.

I can't really answer the question on the Blue Slate turkeys since I have never eaten one. I have butchered them for others who claimed they were very good. There is much less breast meat and I believe that they fill out better if allowed to be raised until they are around 18 months old.
 

brittanimck

In the Brooder
May 21, 2015
75
3
31
14-18 weeks is the normal time commercial breeds are butchered. At this point they have reached marketable weights and their feed efficiency goes down. 24-28 weeks is when you butcher heritage breeds of turkey, for much of the same reasons, but heritage are stronger, healthier, and more flavorful. They also retain the ability to produce fertile eggs and rear their own poults. This is great for those that like turkey every year and have the know how.
 

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