How long does it take heritage turkeys to reach butcher age?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Viking84, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Viking84

    Viking84 Chirping

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    Mar 18, 2019
    I noticed a post about Porters Hatchery having an early bird special in which I can order 15 heritage turkeys if their choice for only $5 each. I would like to permanently have a heritage Tom and 1-2 hens in our yard. But no way can I keep 15 for very long. I may be able to sell or give some away. But would prefer to butcher the ones I will not keep. Question is, how long does it take them to reach minimum butcher size? Websites say market weight is reached at about 6 months. But if I butcher them earlier, will they simply be smaller, but still filled out? Or will they just be skinny lanky bones with little meat?
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
  2. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    I believe that most heritage turkey raiser prefer to wait until they are at least a year old or older. I have processed heritage toms as young as 4 months yielding an 8 lb. carcass. I believe that I also processed some at 5 1/2 months that were 12 to 13 lbs. dressed weight. No one who received them complained about the sizes. All claimed they were delicious. Of course none of them had the fat layer like one that has been raised to a proper process weight.
     
  3. Mylied

    Mylied Crowing

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    They'll just be smaller. I try to get poults in spring and raise them to thanksgiving. You can usually get a decent amount for a raised live turkey. Around here ~$50. I haven't tried selling processed ones.
     
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  4. Viking84

    Viking84 Chirping

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    Thanks, that is exactly what I was hoping. If I can start thinning out the flock at 4 months and have an 8lb bird in the grill, I'll be happy. Once I am down to 1 Tom and 2 hens, I'll keep them as breeding stock
     
  5. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    I try to keep a minimum of 4 to 5 hens for one tom. It makes life much easier for the hens.
     
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  6. Viking84

    Viking84 Chirping

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    Didn't think of that. Don't know if I have room for 5 Turkeys though.
     
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  7. Mylied

    Mylied Crowing

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    I only keep 1 tom and 1 hen. My tom is pretty nice and only mounts her when she squats for him during breeding season. Never have had a problem with him harassing her and they've been in a small space and a large open field. So I think it depends on the tom. Just watch things and decide from there.
     
  8. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    If you can't keep that many the more hens that you can keep with the tom, the better off the hens will be.
     
  9. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    You have been really lucky. Normal toms will try to mount the hen even when she is sitting on a nest. Some people have blamed the broken eggs on the hens and others have blamed the side wounds on predators when in both cases the damages were done by the toms.
     
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  10. Mylied

    Mylied Crowing

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    I know I have a good Tom. That's why I said keep an eye on things. My 2 have been together about 3 years now. We had another female for a while but she got sick and passed away. He's not only good to my hen but he's an awesome father and has taken care of poults. He sat a nest of eggs for a couple months once too.
     

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