Time to process?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by TimTurkey, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. TimTurkey

    TimTurkey In the Brooder

    Jun 29, 2011
    Ashland, OR
    What is the best age for processing my broad breasted turkeys? By best I mean for texture, flavor, size, fat content, etc.


  2. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Songster

    Jun 30, 2010
    Aitkin, MN
    People have different opinions. Many like the birds to be at least a year old. Many others butcher birds that are in their first fall. Minimum age to do heritage turkeys is generally reported as about 28 weeks. Broad-breasted birds are often butchered at 12-16 weeks. If you let the broad-breasteds go for a year, you may have some mighty big turkeys!!!
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  3. Czech's_chicks

    Czech's_chicks Songster

    Jul 24, 2011
    Vista, CA
    For BB Bronze or white, 6 months was the premium age. Mine got so big my small oven couldn't accommodate them, so I am raising heritage from now on.
  4. Frosty

    Frosty Songster

    Mar 30, 2008
    I do mine at 5 1/2 to 6 months. I don't keep food in front of them 24/7 so they forage quite a bit. That helps keep them from getting obscenely huge and folks love them.
  5. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Songster

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX

  6. Frosty

    Frosty Songster

    Mar 30, 2008
    Quote:We did a few that were a year and a half... the tom dressed at 38 pounds and the hen was a bit smaller. At close to 6 months my toms average 22 pounds and the hens around 12. I let them forage. A lot of times I just feed once a week to remind them that they live here, but I also keep a close eye on condition. They decimate the grasshopper population and eat any apples that fall from the trees, so we don't have a bunch of yellow jackets hanging around the area either. For the last few weeks, I lock them up and start feeding them again. I also throw in extra apples.

    I think I'll brine and smoke a bird again this year [​IMG] But I'll probably do that for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas, trying to keep the smoker temp up in late December in North Dakota is difficult to say the least. Last year we actually had 36 degrees so it shouldn't have been bad, but we also had sustained winds at 29 mph gusting to 38. After fighting trying to keep the smoker temp up for about 2 hours, I finally brought it in and finished it in the oven.

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