Is it possible to keep BBW hens slim enough to be happy?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Dusky Beauty, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We're fresh poults on the turkey thing, with our first batch of broad breasteds about a month old now.
    We're liking turkeys much more than we expected and we're starting to talk regular breeders.

    I'm aware males are too "busty" to do the job required for poults naturally, and that at a certain age BBWs become uncomfortably heavy for themselves. Is that mainly the toms? or can you manage a hen's weight to keep her on permanantly as a potential brood mom for breeding hybrid meaties? I'm just kicking around possibilities for sustainable market birds
     
  2. weirdturkeyfreak

    weirdturkeyfreak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Market birds are only used for the market. but i know if u get a BBB male he'll sit on the hen's eggs mine did. or maybe some silkie chickens, it was so cute when i lifted my little 1/4 pound chicken to see a turkey egg underneath [​IMG]hope i helped
     
  3. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Yes, they can be maintained on a `diet' and they can be successful breeders. Our neighbor had two hatches, over two years, from mating BR tom with the BBB hen. She was torn to shreds by a raccoon while brooding during her 4th Spring. At least one member kept a BBB hen as a pet for 5 years.

    Hope someone else can chime in, post pics? of a BB/heritage cross. Would wonder about how much `improvement' (if any) accrues to offspring of such (particularly for heavier varieties like BR's or Slates - our neighbor always sold her `cross' poults as day-olds).
     
  4. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a one year old and a 3 year old, both hens. I want to cross them with my White Holland tom, so far everything is getting in the way of my project (one year the turkey barn collapsed under snow, the next year too much mud everywhere...) If I get this to work I'll post pictures.

    Don't let them eat constantly, it will really help. Free range if possible and encourage exercise. I think all of that is most important during the time they are rapidly growing. I have never had the 'huge' turkeys that some folks talk about (like 47 pounds or so at 5 or 6 months old). The biggest we ever did dressed out at 36 pounds and that was an 18 month old tom.

    I had a 2 year old BBW hen torn up by a raccoon with sitting on eggs too. It didn't kill her outright, but she died later from the injuries.
     
  5. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like I have a pretty good arrangement then if I wanted to breed crosses, my goslings and turkeys are in a "nursery pen" at night and get out during the day from about noon to sunset to free range and forage, forage being the only noms available until they go back in the pen, as they get bigger the arrangement will stay the same, only they will move into a bigger chain link run.
     

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