Turkey lifespan

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by thereseiam, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. thereseiam

    thereseiam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Durant, Iowa
    Okay, I asked for help with breed ID, but because my dogs killed my laptop that had the software to download pics from my digital camera, I am stuck using hubby's computer and need to now find the software to put it on his. So pics are coming--hopefully soon!

    I do think that by looking at turkey pics that what I have in my henhouse is a bronze hen (I'm 99% sure the breed is bronze, but I'm very ready to be wrong about the gender!). So are bronze turkeys one of the ones with a very short life? Because I just really think this turkey is way cool. I mean if he/she is only going to live for six or eight months anyway, then yes, I will make it a Christmas turkey--it would be silly to just let it die of 'old age' rather than eat it if it's not long for this world anyway.

    So of the heritage breeds, what are the longest lived, most passive ones that I would be able to get ahold of fairly easily? (Yeah, I realize I'm probably going to have to wait until spring.) If I'm going to buy heritage turkeys to keep as pets, I assume that I should get one hen and one tom, right?

    Any other words of advice?


  2. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    The Broad Breasted types are the ones that don't live long, it usually comes down to the legs not being able to support the weight of the bird. - that would be the broad breasted Bronze and the broad breasted White. They are the Cornish Cross of the turkey world.

    Heritage breeds can live quite a long time, I have heard of 8 to 10 year old birds. We rotate our stock about every 3 years as the younger birds lay better and are more fertile than older birds.

    We raise 6 varieties so I can give you a break down of what we have seen, we also have pics on our website so you can see what they look like. They are all calm natured and it depends on how much you work with them as poults as to how people friendly they will be. One thing to remember is that cute little tom that likes to sit on your lap or perch on your shoulder will get to be a 20 or 30 pound tom that like to do the same thing. [​IMG]

    Midget White - they can be fence jumpers when they are young due to the lighter weight but once they get some weight on them they stay put, ours will eat out of your hand.

    Beltsville Small White - they are the most standoffish turkeys that we have, even when we are tossing out corn they won't come that close.

    Royal Palm - they are another variety that tends to keep their distance and the younger hens can be fence jumpers to

    White Holland - they are the largest of the white feathered heritage turkeys, very laid back. Most days I have to push them away from the feeder so I can put feed in. They always come running when they see us coming

    Bourbon Red - They are without a doubt the most curious turkey we have almost to the point of being a pest. I was working in their pen one day fixing a section of fence and they were all over me. They would take the nails out of the box , pecking at my shirt, I just knew I was going to bash one with the hammer. I would try to pound the nail in and it was pecking at the nail, the hammer. lol It was pound, shoo them away, pound shoo.

    Standard Bronze - Gentle giants pretty much describes them. They are huge compared to the others, the toms are waist high to me and they are another one I have to wade thru to feed them. They can be kind of hard headed and hard to train. Once they get a place to roost in their head it's hard to get them to go someplace else.

    You would want at least a pair of turkeys. They are very much flock animals

    Hope that helps some?

    Steve in NC
  3. cashela

    cashela Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2009
    South Eastern NH
    LOL Steve, now I don't know what kind of turkey I am going to get in the spring. I thought I'd like to try a bronze. But then I saw pics of the blue slate palm in your other post and that was a nice bird. I'm gonna have to build a bigger cage [​IMG]
  4. farmerlor

    farmerlor Chillin' With My Peeps

    I like my Bourbons best. Keep in mind I've only had a few breeds of turks but right now we have Bourbons and Midgets. The Bourbons are always sweet and follow you around like puppies. The Midgets are a little more aggressive though certainly not dangerous by any means. My husband just happened to put one of the roosts at head level so when I walk past the Midgets at night to lock them in my Tom Tattoo will always give me a little love tap on the head. The song Love hurts comes to mind.
  5. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    I love my Blue Slates..... my hen thinks she's a puppy. [​IMG] every one MUST hold her.


    Here she is, totally PO'ed that the chickens are in the house and not her! [​IMG]


    Of course my Emu thinks the same way.................. [​IMG]
    Heather berrian likes this.
  6. paulinaydern

    paulinaydern Out Of The Brooder

    May 23, 2009
    :lol:As I was laughing at your Emu looking through the sliding glass door of your house my DH walked into the room. He stood behind me and said, "Oh Sh*t, don't even go there, babe. You're not getting one."

    It's amazing how that man can read my mind so clearly at times.

    So...about Emu's as pets? Hoping this won't be hijacking the thread too badly if I ask. I'll be sure to open any answering posts when DH is nowhere near the computer.

    Back on topic, we have two big bronze turkeys, they're going on 8 months old. I'm worried about them as the hen is starting to limp just a wee bit. I know that if anything happens to one, we'll have to cull them both as they are inseperable. The worst thing is that we are leaving the country for the Christmas/New Year holiday. I'm leaving a number with our house sitters "just in case". I really hope they don't have to use it and I come home to a freezer full of 80lbs of turkey.

    If I had done my homework in advance I wouldn't have ordered these birds due to their short lifespan.

  7. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Yeah.................. I ain't trying to put a diaper on that puppy!!!!!!!! [​IMG] They are very sweet if you get them as little babies and expose them to everything. They also live a long time.... PM me if you want more info..... [​IMG]

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