When do you process your turkeys?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by HillCountryMomma, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. HillCountryMomma

    HillCountryMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2008
    When do y'all typically process your turkeys?

    I have 4 Rio Grande Wild Turkey poults. I know they'll grow slower than the commerical super-grow birds. I'm fine with that! Aside from the fact that I like heritage breeds, these little guys were free! A neighbor gave me hatching eggs, and one of my broody chicken hens did the rest. [​IMG] Now I just have to feed 'em.

    They're about a week old and are growing well in with the chickens hatched out by the same hen (I staggered the eggs to hatch at the same time).

    Anyway, not sure when I should be able to expect to butcher these guys. Can't find much online about the Rio Grandes. Think a couple might be ready for Thanksgiving?

    Thanks,
    Liz
     
  2. Daycare Mom

    Daycare Mom Chickens, Cuddly and Delicious

    Apr 9, 2008
    Conklin, Michigan
    Sorry no idea on that one, I would like to know the answer too.
     
  3. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    I would start by asking the person who you got the eggs from. Then just a start to look for any chicken processer and ask them. Some times those that will process Chickens will do Turkeys. Then ask the local AG office, most counties have them.

    Another possible source is those who Hunt wild Turkeys, with just 4 birds they may do it in exchange for one of the turkeys.

    As a last resort you may have to start to plan to do them your self.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  4. HillCountryMomma

    HillCountryMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2008
    Oh, I'm not worried about the logistics of processing. I have 43 meat chickens we're about to get started processing ourselves. A handful of turkeys is nothing. [​IMG]

    What I'm wondering, is how long it'll take 'em to get big enough to be worth eating!

    The folks I got them from raise and release them for local hunters. They finish out free range in the wild. I asked how long till butcher time... was told 'When they are big enough'. Uh-huh. That was helpful! Guess they hatch in the spring, get shot some time in the fall.

    I may just have to wait and see how they grow in captivity. I sure hope they'll be good sized for Thanksgiving. It'd be fun to have a couple home grown turkeys! That's assuming they stick around and don't head for the hills when I turn them loose to free range with my chickens!

    Liz
     
  5. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Usually a Heritage breed will take about 30 weeks. The BB type should be near 20 weeks.
    the bird should be 12 to 20 lbs dressed

    So I would Guess a wild breed would be some where around 30 to 40 weeks.
    Females a little longer.

    It all depends on the size you want.

    Sorry I miss read your question the first time.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  6. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    As log as you keep them closed up at first to learn where to come back to for food and night roosting they should not go to far. But the will range further the the Free ranged chickens.
     
  7. HillCountryMomma

    HillCountryMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2008
    Thank you Tom! Your last two posts were exactly the info I was looking for. I'm planning on keeping them in a tractor for a while until they are big enough to let out to range. I hope that will get it into their heads where home is.

    We have a small flock of roving peafowl around here. A neighbor a ways back let his birds out of the coop, and they never went back in! It's always an odd site to see a peacock and his hens fly into the pasture. My kids love seeing them though. One time they all landed on the house and I thought the roof was going to fall in! 5 giant hens and the biggest fattest peacock I'd ever seen.

    I hope the turkeys stick around, although my almost 8 year old son would probably enjoy it more if we had an excuse to go hunt through the woods for them! [​IMG]

    Liz
     

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