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Heritage Turkey with Broadest Breast?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by sms4g2, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. sms4g2

    sms4g2 New Egg

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    Columbia, MO
    I am looking at perhaps acquiring a few turkey this year and would like to pick the brains of all the experts out there. My family is very fond of turkey and we eat it constantly. We enjoy all parts of the bird, but do mostly prefer white meat (not the historic favorite, I know). Is there a heritage breed out there that is known for a breast-y carcass? I have done quite a bit of research in preparation for this acquisition, but haven't found too much info as to carcass character (dark vs. white) amongst the various varieties. Most of my reading has suggested that for the size, Sweetgrass and Midgets may have comparatively more breast? While not opposed to a broad-breasted variety, I do like the idea of having a few resident turkeys to keep as pets and maybe to proliferate and provide something for the table as well. Any suggestions for larger breasted heritage breeds or strains would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks so much,

    Sarah
     
  2. r4eboxer

    r4eboxer Crooked Creek Poultry

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    I have Bourbon Reds, blue slate, royal palms and Narragansett, the largest by far are the Narragansett, if you want a heritage breed for meat my choice would be the Narragansett, the hens are bigger than the toms of the other breeds I have . I've never had the midgets.
     
  3. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    sarah, I encountered the same lack of info. WIth lots of reading over the last year I have found a few nuggets of information.

    First, let me say, lines of any poultry varies. In the end trial and error of a line will find your ideal bird.

    THe sweetgrass at SandHIll, by their catalog description indicate that their stock varies in the breast; my assumption is that they are still breeding down this line to be a natural breeder. THis leads me to think some of these will have a BIG breast for a heritage.

    Bronze are heavily breasted ( this is not the BBB).

    White Holland-- are from the bronze.

    One of the little white ones is VERY heavy in the breast area. THe two get mixed and mixed up. Beltsville and midget white. One is supposed to be heavier in the breast meat than the other.

    I'm no expert-- I just read a lot; some of this info could be incorrect. I don't have any of the lines above.

    As for my own birds, the Auburn is largest , then narriganset, then sweetgrass and bourbon reds. These are all about t he same size though.
     
  4. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tickfaw, Louisiana
    I am no expert, but I was looking for the same criteria a couple of years ago and I went with the Holland White Heritage Breed for several reasons:
    1. A white feathered bird dresses out nicer and takes less time to process, because they have no dark pinfeathers. That's why most commercial breeds are white.
    2. They are the largest, giving you more overall meat per bird.
    3. They mate naturally and lay a lot of fertile eggs, make good mothers and mine will lay at least 28 eggs a month. In Louisiana they lay from December till October, depending on the weather. In the northern US, I would guess them to be seasonal layers, like all the other Heritage breeds.
    4. They have a very large breast if you allow them to reach full maturity, here is a picture of 2 toms that we processed for Thanksgiving. Is this the breast you might be happy with?These birds weighted 34 and 35 #'s after processing! Other than the Hybrid BB type, that needs to be AI, this is the largest that I have found so far, but I am still looking into some others. If you want hatching eggs from mine, PM me!
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  5. retlaw

    retlaw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It might be best to see what breeds are easy to get where you live.
    Specially if you don't want to keep a breeding set around.
    Some breeds might be a pain in the butt to try to get your hands on.
    Then narrow down your search from there.
     
  6. sms4g2

    sms4g2 New Egg

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    Jul 2, 2008
    Columbia, MO
    Wow! Those are some big turkeys (and the breasts aren't too shabby either)! I haven't really looked into the Holland, but I think now that I will. I may certainly be interested in some hatching eggs. How old were the birds you processed?

    Thanks for the suggestions all.
     
  7. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tickfaw, Louisiana
    Almost 18 months
     

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