meat birds ( Rasing B.B Turkeys )

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by DaKid, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. DaKid

    DaKid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2008
    Berkley , Ma.
    Ok we all have or had order Hatchery / Commercial day old Turkeys like the Broad-Breasted Bronze Turkeys and the Gaint Whites Turkeys at some point and try it , which we all or most of all has purchase and raise for meat birds . I for one has been doing this for the last 4 yrs. along with raising X-Rock Chickens each year for the frezzer camp ......

    1st I would like to keep it simple and have no bad mouthing , knock downs or anything else , Please let's keep this to a matter of differant opions but with some class and without kickin other's down for what they said-say and /or have had done : so let keepthis an open topic so it won't get shut down......
    Thank You [​IMG] so lets be nice [​IMG]

    My Question is this ; has any one ever keep a female or few hens from the Broard Breast line of commercial breeds and try to cross them with there Heritage Breeds Turkeys and come up with a good size meat bird in the same or a bit longer time then the hatchery/commercial BB Turkeys ......................................What I'm trying to say is that most Hatchery BB Turkeys are ready to go to camp freeze at about 22 -24 weeks and are about or around 20 /25 + lbs for a hen and 30 /40 + for a Tom ........vs the Heritage Breeds would take longer to get that weigth or a bit less ( hens 18 -22 lbs and toms 28-35 lbs ) but would consume less food and cost of feed and less stress on the bird then the Commercial BB Turkeys..........................

    So what I'm asking is this has anyone cross a Heritage Turkey (Male ) to a Commercial Breed Turkey (Female )....and what was the results of the offsprings ..........
    Why I ask is this in the last 4 years that I have order B.B Turkeys seems like 98% would be Males say I ordered 15 B.B Turkeys I would get maybe 3 to 4 Females and the rest would be Males .................So I'm thinking that the Hatcherys are keep the females for the next year breeding programs and using a heritage breed Male to mate the the B. B. Females ...........................

    So again has anyone try breeding a BB Hen to a heritage Tom ( of any breed ) to end up with a faster growing bird the the heritage breed but not as fast as the BB commercail breeds and what about there food to growth vs time to frezzer camp...............

    Some one had to or has try this : the reason why I ask is this I'm looking on getting a big heavy bird in a bit longer time then the comm. breeds but a bit less time then the heritage with say at lease half the food cost of the comm. breeds ................comm. BB Turkeys are ready at about 20 to 22 weeks ( say 5 months these guy eat tons of food in a short time period ) or so where as heritage birds would take say 9 - 12 months to reach a good size and weigth , the the food cost would be a lot less from my past experience on rasing and feeding heritage breeds vs the Comm. B.B Turkeys .

    So I would Like to try to CROSS a BB Turkey Hen with a Heritage Turkey and come up with a bird that would say take about 6-8 months to get a good weigth and with the lease amout of feed and cost of feed plus get a good looking bird while I raising it ........................

    Ok I know some where someone has ask or try it but what ur thougths or experience

    Last edited: Oct 29, 2010
  2. oldbat

    oldbat Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 1, 2009
    I can help you a little bit. I tried an "small" version of your experiment this spring. Some background:

    This spring, I had several Sweetgrass turkeys, half a dozen Beltsville Whites and a pair of BBW's....all hatched from eggs in an incubator in 2009 and wintered over. The BBW tom weighed about 60 pounds and was mashing the SG and BW hens. The BBW weighed about 35 to 40 pounds, and other than getting gouged by the tom's toenails, was holding her own and laying about 4 eggs a week. She started laying in November 2009 because all birds are housed in the same hen house and a light was set up on a timer to provide 14 hours of daylight for the chicken hens. She finally stopped laying in August of this year. Because the BBW tom also started having leg problems with his weight, he went into the freezer in January or February.

    Last spring, when the breeds should have been penned separately, I had some health problems that made turkey wrangling impossible and they all stayed mixed in together on 2+ acres of pasture ...still are. I had no intention of selling hatching eggs.....just hatching for my own use, so it didn't matter. Because the BBW laid an egg that was half again as big as the heritage breeds, I was able to track them quite easily. Have a neighbor who loves to eat turkey eggs, so he got most of my extras.

    One of the Sweetgrass toms became "head stud" in the flock and I personally witnessed him breeding her several times while doing the morning chores, so I knew the parentage, and as her eggs hatched, I marked the poults. Also leg banded them (upgrading in size as they grew) so I could see how they turned out. I only saved about a dozen of her eggs to person does not need a whole big turkey very often, and I mostly wanted to see what the results would be with the SG x BBW cross.

    Fertility wasn't real good. Six of the BBW x SG eggs hatched, while about 90% of the heritage eggs hatched. Surprisingly, all hers were toms. All had the same color combination....Steel gray, black, and white, patterned much like the SG. Very pretty, striking birds. I've put all of them in the freezer, and they definitely did have noticeably larger breasts than the heritage. They also grew faster and got bigger than the heritage....probably the hybrid vigor thing at work....weighing probably 10 pounds more than their non-BBW siblings at about 6 months....estimating 35 to 40 pounds. I did not keep closer track of time because the birds were just for my own and family use....didn't matter when they were ready.

    I did not notice that the crosses ate any less feed than the BB's....they seemed to stuff away a goodly amount....but I wasn't keeping individual track either. They were on pasture 24/7, got scratch grains morning and night, and had AllWay poultry crumbles in the morning. The chickens also used the same feeders. They also took care of any kind of bug that showed up....and a couple of snakes. When they got bigger and it got hot starting last June, they started roosting in the 30 foot tall trees around the coop, flying first to the coop roof (a 15 foot tall steel building with a leanto on one end), and from there to the trees. The 15 young birds now remaining (from 50 starting out) still do. The SG and BW hens also roost in the trees, but the toms are too heavy to get off the ground.

    The BBW hen is moving slowly, but seems to be completely healthy. She and all 5 remaining toms (keeping one BW) have an appointment with my freezer on Monday. The extra remaining hens (keeping 2 BW) will follow later in the week. They haven't had their wings clipped for a while, and they're having a heck of a time flying around the place....and the neighborhood.

    If you have any more questions, just ask. Hope I said something useful. Good luck with your experiment. et
  3. terri9630

    terri9630 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2009
    New Mexico
    Most hatcheries allow you to choose from male - female- or straight run. I know with our 4-H, most buy hens so that leaves all the toms that get tossed into the straight run. I've always found the males to be the majority in a straight run purchase.
  4. DaKid

    DaKid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2008
    Berkley , Ma.
    Thanks OldBat [​IMG]

    Some GREAT and good infor.

    I have about eigth different trios of Heritage Breeds of turkeys for next spring 2011 for breeding and a few X-tra toms and I'm going to try using 3 BBW Hens with 3 different breeds of Heritage Toms , and keep them in different runs and hopefully there breed and lay some hatching eggs then I"ll keep track of the hatchering growth/ feed/ time and weigth VS just the heritage breeds and VS a few Broad-Breasted turkeys that I'll try to purchase just a 1/2 doz for this project and keep track of them also .

    The thing I found this year with the Broad-Breasted turkeys was I feed them 3 time a day this year Vs twice a day last year , I found that they grew quicker but started to have more leg problems this year then last year and this year I had to prossess them earlyer and there weigth was about 8 to15 lbs ligther then the year before without any losses or leg problems , this year birds where 25-30 lbs where as last year birds weigth anywhere from 28 lbs to 43 lbs ,my largest turckey was 48 lbs dress out and clean a very big big Turkey.


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