Let's Talk Turkey ;p

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Theofire88, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. Theofire88

    Theofire88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2015
    Hey guys!

    So my friend and I have been raising chickens for the past year and a bit, and we have decided to expand our operation to include turkeys. We have begun our extreme research craze [​IMG] and have found out alot, but I am looking for any really helpful tips on raising turkeys and selling the carcasses. These birds will be raised for meat, not as pets. The following questions are my MAIN queries, any help would be greatly appreciated. I am most likely getting Bourbon Red's.

    - If I am hoping to have my turkeys ready for thanksgiving/christmas, what age should I buy them at? If they won't be ready, I respect nature, it's not my place to force it ;)

    - Toms or hens, or both? Keeping them separate that is, unless we decide we want to do this next year... maybe....

    - Best age for Bourbon's to be butchered?

    - Prices?

    - Anything I have missed...! [​IMG]


    Thanks so much for any help! I really appreciate it! Sorry if I sound like a stupid, crazy person, time for many sleepless nights of research!! [​IMG][​IMG]



    Thanks again!!
    TF88
     
  2. gKane14

    gKane14 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm pretty sure that heritage turkey breeds usually take about 7 months to be ready to butcher. In my area you can buy poults on craigslist for $7 to $10. The toms would weigh more if you just wanted to buy them every year.
     
  3. Theofire88

    Theofire88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, thanks. From what I read so far, it says 28 weeks to reach standard butchering size, but i would wait longer anyways. Very helpful! Thank you!
     
  4. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens

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    For heritage turkeys of any breed, 28 weeks is where all the feathers are grown in and a layer of subcutanaceous fat necessary for the best roasting quality is present for a mixed flock of hens and toms.

    You can raise longer, but harvesting earlier leads to low meat yields, unattractive melanin stains in the skin from pigmented feather nibs, and drier meat (if roasting) as they won't self-baste without the fat. Turkeys harvested younger are still good for frying.

    I'm harvesting my Bourbon Red, Slate, Black, and Narragansetts at 29-30 weeks this year.
     
  5. Theofire88

    Theofire88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, thanks so much! I just realized 28 weeks IS 7 months, so let's all just have a slow clap for my math skills......

    No, that is fantastic information, thank you, I am thinking we might just expand our chicken operation this year and wait on the turkeys, but you never know!
     
  6. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens

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    The next two weeks are the best time for Thanksgiving harvest for heritage poults. If you can source poults rather than eggs, you are not too late.

    If you want to grow Broad Breasted White or Bronze, you can start later, those are ready at 16-18 weeks. With whites, you don't have any melanin staining if harvested earlier.
     
  7. Theofire88

    Theofire88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I will definitely look into that, we have sourced poults, so that won't be the problem, but they are quite expensive, which we want less expense so that when we sell our turkeys, the cost evens out a bit. What would you normally pay for a poult? What is your opinion on kijiji, I am not really so inclined to take this path.
     
  8. gKane14

    gKane14 Out Of The Brooder

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    The usual price that I get poults for is about $7 or up to $11 but I usually just get the cheaper ones so that I can make some money selling the poults and the meat.
     
  9. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens

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    It all depends on your market and how available heritage turkeys are. I pay $10-11 for poults and sell for $6/lb dressed (about $100 for large toms). This year I am taking my chances on hatching eggs, which puts me at huge risk for not having enough poults to fill my orders.

    For broad breasted, the poults are cheaper, $6-7, but I can only get $3.50/lb for them. They dress out a lot bigger, though. My biggest tom, at 32 lbs, beat out my biggest heritage tom last year. I'm not doing BB this year.
     
  10. Theofire88

    Theofire88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks a lot! This is all SO helpful! You all really know your turkeys! The poults we sourced were 15$ for day old chicks and 25$ for "started poults" 50$ for juvinilles and 100$ for full grown, which I didn't see as working out financially.
     

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