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What age is too old?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by jlgoinggreen, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. jlgoinggreen

    jlgoinggreen Songster

    Sep 25, 2009
    South Central PA
    I've been offered 3 (2 hens and a Tom) Heritage Breed Bourbon Red Turkeys for $75. The guy tells me they are somewhere between 2 and 3 years old. I was told on another list that at this age they will slow down drastically in laying eggs (around age 3), but someone else told me 'someone' told him that they will lay until they are 5. I haven't received my poultry book yet to look for myself and have looked online, but have not been successful. My husband thought someone here would know? [​IMG]

    I want them for breeding and hope to at least get some poults out of them. Also, how about the Tom....would he be too old? [​IMG]

  2. They don't slow down per say, the older they get the more they tend to go broody so they will lay a clutch and sit. After 3 years old fertility starts to drop and it drops every year after that. 2 or 3 year old birds will give you fertile eggs.

    Just take a hard look at the birds them selves. On the toms an old rule of thumb is the beard grows about an inch a year (the exception to that rule is White Hollands). If somebody tries to sell you a 2 year old tom with a 6 inch beard they are full of turkey poo. [​IMG] Also look at the feet, legs and toenails. older birds will have longer/ wider nails. and the legs will have thicker scales.

    Steve in NC
  3. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    I was wondering this same thing myself, because my hens are now 2 years old, and I didn't know if I should have these butchered for Thanksgiving and get new young hens, or keep letting my older hens hatch the poults next season. The nice thing about the older hens is that they "know the ropes" around here. The bad thing is that they seem to get more territorial the older they get, especially with the other older hens.
  4. ScoobyRoo

    ScoobyRoo Songster

    Aug 21, 2008
    Land of OZ
    Quote:Good questions Jennifer. This is my first year with turkeys and there are more things to learn about them. It is nice to see other posters ask Q's I haven't thought of yet. I have a pair of BR's and I love them. The Tom's beard is about 1/2" long now as Steve implied. They are pets. They are about 6 mos. old now. We hope the hen goes broody next spring. I'm just worried about 'where'. We are down to 3 BS and plan to butcher those soon as we did with their 4 other siblings. My DH smoked one last weekend and it was delish!!
    Steve and Sharon of sandspoultry are VERY informative. I have learned alot in the last 6mos. reading their post to other questions and debates about turkeys. They have good answers.

    BTW, [​IMG] from KS

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