Growing time for turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Minniechickmama, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

    7,129
    672
    371
    Sep 4, 2009
    Minnesota
    I am trying to gauge when to get some Broadbreasted White Turkeys for my freezer and some friends. We only want some that will dress out about 12-pounds or so. How many weeks to get them to this size? I know what the hatcheries say for growing them out, but I know realistically, that doesn't always mean that is how long it takes.
    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    It's going to depend on if you get hens or toms.. the kind of feed you give them as well as how much and how often you feed them.. on average a hen BBW can hit around 14 pounds in about 14 weeks... a Tom will be a lot heavier in those same 14 weeks...

    As to when to get them.. is there a date you want them grown by? If so you can get them a little earlier and then process once they hit the size you want.
     
  3. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

    7,129
    672
    371
    Sep 4, 2009
    Minnesota
    My processor doesn't like doing them until the weather cools here, which is Sept. or Oct. I don't want them to get too big on me before then, but I would like to let my kids show some for our fair in August. I am thinking I won't be able to do both. That is okay, I am not crazy about hauling turkeys to the fair. Maybe they will have to just take breeders and we get them early enough for that. Now, to decide on which breed.
    Thanks for the info.

    I have raised Beltsvilles, Royal Palm and Buff in the past, and they are no comparison for growth to the BBs.
    So, I appreciate some input.
     
  4. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    That's because those are Heritage birds.. think of it this way.. a Heritage turkey is like a regular dual purpose chicken.. takes a while to mature and fill out.. smaller breast but very good flavor and the meat is more firm
    But a Broad Breasted is like a Cornish Cross meat bird.. bred to grow fast to get to slaughter a whole lot sooner.. plus has the large breast meat that the average consumer wants. The flesh is much softer and they lack the flavor of DP birds or Heritage birds
     
  5. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

    7,129
    672
    371
    Sep 4, 2009
    Minnesota
    Thanks. I did know that. I thought I would try out the heritage first and then move up to a BB if I wanted more on them. I want to breed a couple of breeds of heritage turkeys, but can't really decide on which ones. However, until I have my turkey runs set up and have netting to keep them from flying out, I will have to wait on those. I am thinking Naragansets and Jersey Buffs. I had a Buff last year. Loved him, but unfortunately, I had no mate for him. He went in the freezer and we had Thanksgiving with him. He was a sweet bird and I hated doing it. He never bothered anyone. The Beltsvilles though, were not nice to the chickens at all.

    I do appreciate your input.

    I had passed on raising the CRX this last year because I had so many extra cockerels of various breeds and even crossed up some Buckeyes with my Dark Cornish for a meat bird, but I think I want to go back to raising a few of the freaky birds because they make a more tender broiler that my family likes. No doubt there is more flavor in the heritage and pure breeds, but sometimes we want a fatter, juicier bird for dinner. My DCs are quite meaty and I have a few of the culls in my freezer now. They take a little longer than the CRXs but still no as tender. The jury isn't out yet though, I may stick with just using my cull DCs for the freezer. They make nice little games for my mother-in-law who lives alone if I butcher them at a couple of months old, and are just right for a single serving.[​IMG]

    I will have to mull it over on the turkeys a bit, if I can wait until early summer to raise them for the freezer, that would be great. I have too many chicks to deal with up until then.
     
  6. Triplell

    Triplell Chillin' With My Peeps

    877
    21
    123
    Dec 29, 2011
    Brainerd, MN
    I too have been thinking of raising some turkeys this year for the freezer. I haven't decided on what breed to get yet. I would like at least a 15lb to 20 lb turkey dressed out.
     
  7. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    live weights.. the dressed weights are on my husband's laptop and it's out of the country right now

    Our black spanish toms got up to around 36 pounds.. the hens only hit about 19.
    Our nargansett toms were a few pounds lighter (closer to 32) and the hens were 18.
    Our heritage bronze (not to be confused with broad breasted bronze) were about midway between the two for toms (34 pound toms and 20 pound hens)..
    The bourbon reds never got that heavy.. The toms got to be 28 pounds in the same amount of time. The last bourbon reds that we bought are still pretty small even though they are close to a year old.. so I am culling the last of them soon. The only thing I can think of is this last batch were from a different bloodline.. so they may have been crossed with smaller birds somewhere in their heritage to keep the size down.
    But if you are wanting a bigger Heritage i would suggest the blacks, heritage bronze or nargansetts

    I haven't butchered any of our other breeds yet this year.. so I can't comment on their weights yet

    course it also depends on the age that you butcher them.. a 2 years old bird will be a lot heavier than one that is butchered in it's first year.. these weights were (I think) at the 8 month mark.. I would have to double check the weigh in books
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  8. Triplell

    Triplell Chillin' With My Peeps

    877
    21
    123
    Dec 29, 2011
    Brainerd, MN
    WOW!!! It takes that long. I am not sure what I will get but I am gonna get something.
     
  9. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    28 weeks is about the average for "market weight".. I just like for mine to have a little more meat on their bones.. lol
     
  10. Triplell

    Triplell Chillin' With My Peeps

    877
    21
    123
    Dec 29, 2011
    Brainerd, MN
    yup me too.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by