MORE Turkey questions, mostly about food...

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by WhiteMountainsRanch, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    So I have 4 turkeys that I got from the feedstore, I am guessing they are BBB. [​IMG]

    I got them in like April and they are already HUGE, I was told that I purchased them too late and they wouldn't be ready/ big enough for Thanksgiving, however, they have grown SO fast that now I am scared that one won't even fit in my oven. (But that's besides the point. [​IMG])

    My question is this;

    Is a BBB like the "cornish" of the turkey world? I ask because they grew so quickly and are eating me out of house and home. These Turkeys can REALLY pack away the food. We are going through a 25# bag every 2 days. [​IMG]

    Now, I have 15 heritage Turkey Poults on order, and I am wondering if they will eat as much as these ones, and grow as fast, I am hoping not, as I will be spending every dollar I make on Turkey feed! [​IMG]

    Please give me wisdom!
  2. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    Who ever told you April was too late to get thanksgiving turkeys doesn't have a clue what they are talking about! 8 months is a perfect time for heritage birds. The BB turkeys are the cornish of turkeys and they will out grow your oven if they don't die first. They should be butchered between 4-6 months. The heritage birds will not eat as much but 15 grown turkeys will put it away. Sounds like you need to start getting 50# sacks!
  3. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    Your heritage turkeys won't grow as fast or as big as the BBB's. you can save some money by free ranging the heritage turkeys. They will eat at least 1/4 the feed or less when free ranged.
    BBB's and Great White usually about 20 weeks for butchering plus or minus a few weeks.

    On those BBB's when you butcher then if they look to big for the oven you can always part then out. But gravy made from the dripping is not as good if it was whole bird.

  4. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2008
    BB turkeys can be free ranged if you have the space too, when I let them loose I only feed them about once a week to remind them where they live. If you have a lot of grass hoppers around when you turn the turkeys loose, in no time you will see a sharp decrease in the population. Apples that fall from trees will disappear before yellow jackets find them. I do periodically catch the turkeys to make sure they aren't getting thin. Letting BB turkeys fend mostly for themselves helps slow the growth (my late May/early June hatched poults dress out around 18 pounds for toms and 15 pounds for hens). I also don't see them with leg problems when I raise them this way. I have a 1 1/2 year old BBW hen, she waddles some and can't fly but she walks just fine and does not appear to be uncomfortable. For the BBB's you have now, they only have another week or so before they should be processed anyhow (I will be doing mine next Saturday). Do you have a source for apples? If they are plentiful in your area, supplement their food with lots of apples.
  5. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    I do free-range now but I would say they are getting less than 5% of their feed from the open. They just sit in front of the feeders and eat and eat.

    Also, I looked back and I actually got them in June, hence the people saying they wouldn't be big enough. So they are only 5 months old now and HUGE.

    Hopefully the heritage ones don't eat as much. We will be free-ranging them as well. We will be keeping all the females and 2 of the best males. So I am guessing I will end up with around 8 or so adults for breeding. Hope they don't sit in front of the feeders 24/7 like these ones.

    I do get 50# bags, but the feeders only hold about 25# and I fill them every couple days. [​IMG]

    Thanks everyone!
  6. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2010
    Aitkin, MN
    My experience is that heritage birds convert at a rate of about 5 to 1 while BB convert closer to 3 to 1. Also, the BB grow so much faster despite eating less food (come to think of it, I guess that's what high conversion rates mean.....hmm). But even though they are cheaper to raise and take less time, I'd rather have the heritage birds. Maybe its inconsistent on my part. I like to raise cornish crosses for meat chickens, but I guess I'm a heritage turkey snob [​IMG] Addictions willl do this to you!
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  7. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Processed 2 Turkeys today, the smallest and the biggest. The small one was 17 pounds and the biggest one was 26. [​IMG]

    I love my Turks, but I'm kinda glad I don't have to feed them anymore. [​IMG]

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