In time for Thanksgiving?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by snewman, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. snewman

    snewman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Belleville, WI
    I want to try out turkeys this year. My goal is to get the fast growing fatties this spring and plan to have them all gone by winter. If all goes well this year, I'd like to get some "real" (as in naturally reproducing) turkeys next year and hopefully end up with a self-sustaining flock down the road. I recognize the downsides of the crazy commercial strains, but since the BBWs are the cheapest to buy and the fastest growing, I figured I'd learn on them and see if I even like having turkeys.

    My question is this; if I got BBW turkeys the first week of June, that would give them about 22 weeks until Thanksgiving. Is that long enough for them to be filled out and satisfying? Hatchery catalogs say 30+ lbs by 20-24 weeks. Is that true? If I wait until June, my chicken/duck/goose babies will already be well on their way to being teenagers and I can focus on taking care of the turkeys.
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Yes, you can do that in 22 weeks as long as you are willing to lay on the feed. The broad breasted varieties eat like hogs. You can't with hold feed or regulate the feed too closely. Keep the feeders full and let them eat. They really do need the calories. Also give them plenty of room to run outdoors to help keep their legs strong. The same as with meat chickens they can develop leg problems. I did some of mine at 28 weeks. Some at 34 weeks and still have one big momma moving around really well for her size.

    Turkey poults are fragile and you really need to give them intesive care the first few weeks. I don't pout mine on the ground until after 10 weeks. By them you are pretty much out of the woods.

    One more thing - my 28 weekers were over 50lbs each.
     
  3. snewman

    snewman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Belleville, WI
    Thanks for the info. I'll try this out this year and see what I think of turkeys; the raising, processing, etc. Are they a lot of work to process? Just like a chicken but bigger?
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Just like a giant chicken. LOL

    I prefer to dry pluck and not scald the turkeys.
     
  5. Jenlyn9483

    Jenlyn9483 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, FL
    I did BBW turkeys last year and they were great. I butchered some younger for smaller tender butterball type turkeys and others closer to 20-24 weeks. I really didnt want any larger than that since I cooked mine for family meals and at Thanksgiving I have several different kinds of birds. The older ones went around 20-22lbs dressed. I kept them in a Large enclosure with lots of plants and food and bugs to eat with plenty of exercise. I only had one that ended up with splay leg early on, so she was one of the ones we butchered earlier on. I plan on getting some more just as soon as the feed store has them in again. And the part about them being pigs is EXTREMELY accurate! These boys and girls can put away some food!
     

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