Help Selecting a Breed

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Esteri, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Esteri

    Esteri Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
    Hello!
    We successfully pasture raised 5 turkeys last year, our "straight run" wound up with 4 toms, and 1 jenny. (She was the belle of the ball.) They finished out at 35, 36, 36, 37, and 18 pounds at 9 months... TOO BIG!! They were Broadbreasted Bronze. They lived quite happily with our laying chickens eating layer feed, bugs, mice, grass, garden produce that didn't get picked quick enough. They were quite tasty.

    I'd like to have turkeys again this year, but I'd like a heritage breed. Something that won't get that big. Excellent pasture birds. Will mix in with our layers & llamas. It'd be great to have a breed that will brood and raise poults. That way we'll keep a tom and a hen or two for next year's chicks. And see what happens.

    The question is... What breed? I'd like something that will finish out in the 15-25 pound range. And where can I get them? (I'm in Northern CA - heat is our problem, not cold)

    Thanks!
    Esteri
     
  2. KrisH

    KrisH Chillin' With My Peeps

    check out http://www.porterturkeys.com for heritage breed descriptions How big do you want them to grow? Midget whites or beltsville whites are fairly small, jersey buffs top out in the mid to high twentys, burbon red and bronze low 30's but they will take longer to grow out, but they will be able to reproduce.

    RobertH
     
  3. Esteri

    Esteri Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
    Wow. There is a lot more the choose from than I thought. I've been eyeballing the Bourbon Red, but was curious to see what the folks here had to say. I'm interested in a hearty utility bird. An easy keeper on pasture. Something that will finish out in the 15 - 25 pound range. I dunno - maybe I should just get a mix of breeds and see what I like. Thing is, I have to order 15, but really only want 8-10. Will sell off the rest of the poults if I can't find someone to share an order. I'm not worried about how fast they'll grow - heck if I wanted that I wouldn't get a heritage breed. After all - I let those Broadbreasted Bronze go til 9 months. They were ready for the ranch butcher in July, but we kept them on until November... They were huge! LOL.
     
  4. KrisH

    KrisH Chillin' With My Peeps

    assortment sounds good to me. as for how many, I hate saying this, but not all of them may make it, so it doesnt hurt to have a few extras. if they are just for the farm, mixing varieties is no big deal, but if you wanted to show the offspring, stick with one or two varieties like bronze, burbon red, royal palm.

    RobertH
     
  5. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    15 is not a bad deal as shipping can be hard on poults. Any heritage breed would be good for you but the palms do have a small breast. So if your a white meat family, stay away from the palms.
     
  6. Esteri

    Esteri Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
    I show dogs - not interested in getting started showing something else - Yikes! So, no go on the showing off-spring idea. Hum.... this assortment idea is sounding more interesting. Right now I have 40 layers and 2 llamas pastured on about 1.3 acres. The chickens tend to roam into the neighbor's yards - which isn't a problem with them. The turkeys we had stayed behind the pasture fences - which was fine as they looked a lot like our local wild turkeys. And I'd hope this lot would do the same.

    I suppose I have space for an entire 15. Though I think I'm starting to push what can be raised sustainably on 1.3 acres. OR... I would wait till they're bigger and sell of any extra later. Craigslist is good for that sort of thing. On the other hand, I certainly wouldn't have any trouble sell them for Thanksgiving dinners. Yes, an assortment might be very interesting - I can wait to think about raising poults for another year till I get it figured out.

    Now, where to get them from.... Any recommendations?
     
  7. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    You can get some off CL, Here on BYC, porters, ect. I can tell you that heritage turkeys are not going to stay in your fence unless it has a top. They are very dood flyers. You said you have a wild turkey population, be sure to check your game laws in keeping turkeys. It is illeagle to free range domestic turkeys in some areas as they breed with the wild population and really mess up the gene pool.
     

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