Heritage turkey breeds for Midwest / USDA Zone 3 and 4?

tortoise

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I'm trying to talk DH into raising some turkeys. I'm looking for natural breeding/brooding and hardy in Midwest winter. We plan to free-range and I have kids, so docile temperament is a concern as well. Any suggestions? @NH Homesteader ?
 

frustratedearthmother

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I've always wanted Midget Whites. Not very big - but I don't want a turkey that's big enough to beat me up, lol! They reproduce naturally and are supposed to be docile. But, if you need a BIG turkey these aren't going to do it for you.

There's some pretty cool looking Chocolate turkeys too. They're bigger!
 

tortoise

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Midget Whites made my list to send to DH. Also sent him a link to Narragansett. I was looking for breeds developed in northern USA or Europe. Has been hard to find that info. I recall @NH Homesteader is/was fond of Chocolates, so hoping she'll chime in.
 

CrealCritter

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Do you have wild turkeys around by you? My burbon reds stay outside and seem to do well in the cold after the get their adult feathers. They don't do well with heat though so make sure they have plenty of shade.
 

Lazy Gardener

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Got chickens? There is also the issue of black head, I think from cross contamination. I would have to do more reading to be able to say more about the topic. But, I do know that many folks do keep mixed flocks without disease issue. So... something to be aware of, not necessarily a warning against mixing the 2 species.
 

tortoise

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Do you have wild turkeys around by you? My burbon reds stay outside and seem to do well in the cold after the get their adult feathers. They don't do well with heat though so make sure they have plenty of shade.
Wild turkeys looooove our property. Wild flock on our property was about 40 this past fall. I'm in turkey raising country here - I live in the area where all the Jennie-O turkey is grown. I should ask around to see what the big turkey farms do for temperature in winter.
 

tortoise

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Got chickens? There is also the issue of black head, I think from cross contamination. I would have to do more reading to be able to say more about the topic. But, I do know that many folks do keep mixed flocks without disease issue. So... something to be aware of, not necessarily a warning against mixing the 2 species.
I don't right now. I'm probably going to get 4 - 5 layer chicks this spring. DH doesn't want to take care of chickens (like, ever!) but I my health has been better and I think I can manage just a few now. Just enough for eggs for myself.

But, I have separate areas. I have a big coop pen with nest boxes in my barn. There's no outdoor run for it (yet). I have a free standing chicken coop that's large enough to house 10 - 15 chickens. It has a small outdoor run. There is electricity to both of them.

Hmm, I do not want to be hauling water out to the old coop in winter. How long does it take to grow out turkeys?
 

Mini Horses

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Probably 40 yrs ago I raised a few and butchered them. Never saw anything eat so much!! Fast Forward....for no more than I eat, not worth my time . I just buy a couple turkey breasts & cook. Can't raise everything, well don't want so much responsibility anymore. I sell eggs, which pays for chicken feed, so That's it for birds, for me. I love to collect eggs.

We have a large number of wild turkey here.
 

farmerjan

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Bourbon Reds and Royal Palms are the 2 that I would pick for disposition. I have had several Royal Palms set and raise their own poults. Bourbon reds did at the farm I used to farm sit for when the owner was away. I have never had the Beltsville whites or the midgets. The beltsville and royal palms are smaller as I am sure the midgets are too. Most run in the 15-25 lb range at maturity as opposed to the other breeds that get up to the 25-35 lb range. You don't have to raise them that big, they tend to grow out evenly so can be killed at a smaller size and still have good meatiness once they have gotten their adult feathers. Free range and free access to feed so they will put on weight.
 

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