Heritage - Broad Breast crosses

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by TurkeyTimes, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. TurkeyTimes

    TurkeyTimes Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2017
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    So has anyone had luck with crossing heritage with broad breasted? If so, what heritage variety and how was fertility/ hatch/ growth rates? I have 2 BBB hens I kept from last year and I put them in with my Royal Palms,1 tom 3 hens. The goal being to have a larger meat bird with slower growth and less health issues. So far its been hard to keep the RP and BBB eggs separate to track fertility rates. Out of the 32 that have hatched so far, 5 have been crosses. With the RP having well over 90% fertility and hatch rate. I'm assuming the duds were from the BBB which would put them around 35%. Even more interesting is the crosses have 3 color variants, a light sandy brown, a white and black, and the standard darker bronze. I am very curious as to how these will pattern out. It would be really cool if they're sex linked.

    Basically looking for any info on this as I haven't found any. Also any theories on why I would be getting 3 colors?
     
  2. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    According to Porter's Turkey Color Calculator the results from a Royal Palm tom mating with a Bronze (for color purposes a BBB is a bronze) are sex linked. The results should be Narragansett Semi-Color Semi-Gray hens and Bronze Semi-Color Semi-Gray toms.

    These are the possible results if the parents are not carrying any hidden recessive color genes. There are a number of recessive color genes that a bronze turkey can be carrying. One of the most common is the black winged bronze gene (b1). There are also a lot of turkeys that are being sold as Royal Palm which are not Royal Palm. Royal Palms are only black and white. If they have any color other than black or white, they are not Royal Palms.

    If you are getting 3 different color poults from the crossing, my guess is that you are dealing with hidden recessive color genes in at least one of the parents.

    As your BBB hens age, it will be less likely for the Royal Palm tom to successfully breed them since the Royal Palm is one of the smaller varieties of heritage turkeys.

    Good luck.
     
  3. BreanneRN

    BreanneRN New Egg

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    I'm confused... I thought the breeding problems with BBB turkeys was because the male got too big and heavy and the weight caused the hen to be unable to participate in the breeding? I need to know, as I have some 3 1/2 month old bronze turkeys (they have doubled in size at least in 1 1/2 months I have had them) and want to cross them to heritage breeds to produce a more hardy, productive flock, so was reading this thread. What is the best heritage breed to cross to a large bronze, I have heard Narragansett or Bourbon, so far. Wondering about wild (Merriman).
     
  4. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    As the BB hens age, they get big and stiff also making it difficult for their bodies to bend into the proper position for breeding. If one is going to use BB turkeys for breeding purposes other than AI, it is always best to use yearling breeding stock.

    There are already mid range varieties that have been created and are claimed to be able to breed naturally. You can check out the types available at Valley of the Moon Turkeys.
     
  5. BreanneRN

    BreanneRN New Egg

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    Thanks for the info, it is very helpful. I guess I will let them breed next spring and if it happens it happens. I live on the West coast and Virginia seems too far away to order turkeys. I am not completely certain if what I have is broad breasted or not, but they are bronze. I bought them at 8 weeks and they are getting quite big, but I have never raised turkeys before so I'm not familiar. Have raised many chickens in the past, since childhood, but don't have any now. I have read so much conflicting information so far (don't feed them layer pellets, too much calcium for them, then I read "they need lots of calcium for their bones"). Now, if you want them to live long, don't overfeed them, don't feed them grain, it will make them too fat, feed them grain, so they will taste good). Maybe it is all in the timing and purpose. Kind of confusing. But I do think I will pick up a grown Heritage breed Tom somewhere, keep the hens I have. I am not certain if the turkeys I had were naturally bred or from hatchery, but I think they must have been naturally bred, due to the price, but they could have been incubated. I don't really want to raise hatchlings. I would like a free range flock that will stay behind my 6 ft chainlink fence and eat bugs and weeds as well as other food on the 2 1/2 acres I have and be big enough to fend off some of the predators. I was all happy when they ate up all the stinging nettles. I do know that many years ago, I bought a couple of broiler hens to keep my lonely pet silky rooster company and they basically ate themselves to death and died around 8 mos of age, like they were programmed to do that. I am hoping that doesn't happen with these fellows. Anyway, thanks for answering my question. Worst case scenario, I will keep a couple hens and a tom each year so I will have some babies to keep around.
     
  6. TurkeyTimes

    TurkeyTimes Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes the toms get way too big too fast to breed naturally. I put my overly large royal palm (too big to be breed standard and is also semi pencilled) tom on my largest BBB hen. The fertility rate is great! I don't know if my hen will be able to breed next year, as she is a year old this year but I'm hoping she can. The poults from this cross are amazing! Very solid, hardy birds with a good growth rate, my BBB toms were ready to butcher this time of year last year. They are not having any leg or mobility issues and don't have nearly the appetite as the BB. Plus they are absolutely stunning gorgeous! Good luck to you and let me know how it works out, I'm very curious as to why there is very little information out there about broad breasted crosses.
     
  7. BreanneRN

    BreanneRN New Egg

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    Thanks for the info, turkeys now around 4 1/2 months, they look a lot alike in size, I weighed one at 20 lbs. They seem pretty large for that age, but, like I said previous, what do I know? Still don't know what I have here, though color wise, they resemble a pic of a Bourbon/Black Spanish cross, (that I found on another thread on this site)with some random mottled spots on several, and one just really mottled, getting more white everyday. Seriously, must be mixed mutt heritage birds, maybe crossed to BBB already, from the size, which to me seems quite large. Since they are very similar in size, I am not certain if I have hens or gobblers. So far, none have spread tail or gobbled. It has been very hot here, and maybe they just don't feel up to it. I know I don't! LOL. Love the pencilled palms, so beautiful! Porter's is having a sale of random poults, thinking of getting some of them. Then I won't have wasted a year if none of these can breed or are all Toms. Your crossbreds sound amazing, take pics if you can, and post!
     
  8. TurkeyTimes

    TurkeyTimes Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah that coloring sounds abnormal and strange, you may have ended up with some super mutts. I've realized people don't know much about the different colors/ patterns/ varieties of turkeys so you never know what your actually getting. Size wise, the crosses are physically the same size (height, width, shank length) as royal palms the same age but the weight difference is quite dramatic. I haven't actually weighed any but I estimate a minimum of 5lbs difference. They are rock solid compared to the RP which are light and kind of squishy with a very prominent keel bone. The crosses you can barely feel their keel, the hens more so than the toms. I am very impressed with their growth rate and will continue to try these crosses. Now to figure out whether to breed the crosses back to a heritage or maybe another BB? Or to just keep this half/half cross. I haven't decided yet. I have posted some pictures of my cross hens on pg .12 of https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/post-pics-of-your-turkeys.1165250/

    I really need some better pictures. I don't have any of my tricolor crosses yet :(
     
  9. TurkeyTimes

    TurkeyTimes Out Of The Brooder

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    The best decision I ever made about my turkeys was ordering from Porters. I thought I had higher quality birds..... until the Porter turkeys showed up, well worth the money! It's going to jump start my breeding program by at least 5-8 years. They are amazing! I got 22 royal palms and colored pencilled palms and imprinted them. They think I'm mommy and follow me everywhere, roost all over me if I sit down. They love to be held and snuggled.
     
  10. BreanneRN

    BreanneRN New Egg

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    Wow, that is a lot of Royal Palms, but I bet they are beautiful! Your cross-bred birds from the BBB hen look really nice! Great that they are sex linked, that way you can put them on a different feeding program early depending on what you want to do with them, and whether they are male or female. With the BBB genes you might want to feed differently depending on whether or not you were going to keep them for breeding or not. Keep us posted on how they are doing. Meanwhile, back at the ranch here, I'll be trying to figure out if my birds are male or female. They are mutts, but nice looking mutts, except for the very speckled one (that is probably a Tom). Still haven't ordered from Porter's, want to wait to be sure I have the time to raise hatchlings. But, can't wait too long, or hatching season will be over. I am going to aim for the end of July. That way the weather will be cooling down a little by the time they have feathers.
     

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