Meat Turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by silkieluvr, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. silkieluvr

    silkieluvr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I need some extra money and a friend of mine did meat turkeys for 4H.She ended up getting about $15 per pound! [​IMG]

    So can everyone give me some insight of how I would get to starting this new project, in regards to breed, how long before butcher etc.

    Thanks in Advance!
     
  2. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hastings, Nebraska
    Turkeys usually are divided into two group, Heritage and non-Heritage.

    Non-Heritage are usually called Big Breasted Bronze and Great White They have double the breast meat and mature about twice as fast as a Heritage breed turkey. But they can have "Leg Problems" so sever that they can walk. Usually these will not make it to maturity. You can avoid the "Leg problem" by using a a combination water soluble vitamin /electrolytic in there water and using wild game starter. non-Heritage can not usually breed naturally and must be artificially inseminated.

    Heritage usually are ready to process in about 25 to 30 weeks , non-Heritage usually are ready in about 18 to 22 weeks. This depends on how the were fed and how large of a bird you want. Heritage will dress out at 10 to 18 lbs, depending on the breed and sex. It is possible for a non-Heritage male to grow to over 50 Lbs live weight.

    When compared to a chicken they eat and poop more, and can smell offensive. It takes more cleaning then with a chicken. They also grow larger faster, so you need to have appropriate housing ready much sooner then with a Chicken.

    Getting a turkey started is also more difficult. They have very poor eye site at first. So you need to place something like paper towels down or an old blanket the first weeks or so. The spread the feed on the covering so they can find it easily. You also need to dig there beak into the water so they can find that also. After the first week or so you should be able to use regular litter.

    Heritage breeds can and do fly higher and further then a chicken, so you have to keep this in mind.

    When selecting a breed that you are going to raise to sale you kind of need to know the market you will be shooting for. Like finished weight, organic, free ranged and who is going to process the birds.

    Many States will not allow you to sale processed birds any place but where they were raised and processed, unless they were processed in an inspected meat processor. So you need to check what local laws govern this. Most states allow the person raising the bird to sale from there location and if they did there own processing without the inspection as long as they are labeled correctly. But that all depends on where you live.

    Search this forum for turkeys and you will get a lot of additional information you will need

    Tom
     
  3. conny63malies

    conny63malies Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:OMG 50 lbs? How do you get that cutie into a oven, or let alone cull it? Id be scared to death seeing a tom coming at me
     
  4. deb1

    deb1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2008
    NC
    I want to raise a type of heritage turkey called Narraganesent(Spelling is wrong) I think that they are beautiful plus they are supposed to make good mothers. I've heard that they even taste better. YUM!

    I wonder if heritage turkeys are as dumb as nonheritage turkeys. Wouldn't they be closer to wild turkeys in behavior? If wild turkeys were as stupid as commercial turkeys are supposed to be wouldn't they all die off from predator attack?
     
  5. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Quote:Actually in a taste test done by the Americian Livestock Breeds Conservancy the Midget White won the taste test. All the stories about turkeys being dumb are old wives tales, they don't drown in the rain etc etc.

    Steve in NC
     
  6. lorieMN

    lorieMN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I have found my heritage turkeys to be very smart..the first thing they do when put in a new pen is look up and see if they can fly out..
     
  7. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fly out is right. I had to put poutlry netting all the way to the roof rafters of my pole barn to keep the Palms and Bourbons in.
     
  8. deb1

    deb1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2008
    NC
    Quote:Actually in a taste test done by the Americian Livestock Breeds Conservancy the Midget White won the taste test. All the stories about turkeys being dumb are old wives tales, they don't drown in the rain etc etc.

    Steve in NC

    When I lived in Iowa I ordered chicks from the local farm supply store. I was given a paper on chick care that included turkey care also. The paper said not to let the turkey chicks in the rain because they would drown!

    I am relieved to know that they aren't that dumb. My hubby and I were wondering how we would care for them if they didn't have enough sense not to look up when it rains.

    I will have to look into the midget whites.
     
  9. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've raised lot of turkeys and never lost one to drowning but they are ver suseptible to chilling to death if they get wet.
     

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