Are you thinking of adding turkeys to your flock? Why not select a Heritage turkey breed for a more organic approach?
Heirloom Bronze turkeys, in contrast to commercial breeds, may contain less white meat, but they are packed with a richer, more intense flavor.
The Heirloom Bronze turkey is an exceptional breed with a history as rich as its taste. Continue reading to find out more!
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Commercial Turkey vs. Heritage Turkey
Heritage turkeys, also called Heirloom turkeys, are a group of domesticated birds that have been bred for generations while maintaining their native traits.
As a rule, they are smaller and have less white meat than commercial turkeys, but when rearing them, they remain healthy and robust. Disease is far less common in Heritage turkeys than in their commercial cousins.
People have become more aware of how important it is to eat well for their overall health. The shift toward organic and natural foods is on the rise.
In response, more farmers focus on environmentally responsible breeding practices that respect and preserve Heritage breed animals.
However, to be recognized as a Heritage breed, an animal must have distinct genetic traits and be reared in a sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion.
The following standards set by the American Poultry Association must be met for a turkey to be classified as a Heritage variety.
- Natural reproduction
- Long outdoor productive lifespan
- Slow growth rate
The Standard of Perfection published by the American Poultry Association (APA) includes eight different types of Heritage turkeys:
- White Holland
- Bourbon Red
- Beltsville Small White
- Royal Palm
Regarding industrial turkey breeding, the goal has always been to create the largest converter of white breast meat possible.
But this “upgrade” eliminates the bird’s natural capacity to reproduce through mating and the fertilization of eggs.
In addition, antibiotics are commonly given to turkeys in industrial poultry farming.
Commercial breeds are less resistant to disease and become sick more often. However, antibiotics are frequently given to turkeys without the necessity for healing but rather as a preventative measure.
Unfortunately, the antibiotics in the meat we consume as humans are not good for our health.
We are putting unnecessary stress on our bodies when we eat meat treated with antibiotics. If we constantly consume antibiotics through the meat we eat, we may develop resistance to them and need stronger medication in the future when the need for antibiotics arises.
Heirloom Bronze Turkey Key Information
|Male Size:||35-38 lbs (15.8-17.2kg)|
|Female Size:||18-22 lbs (8-9.9kg)|
|Use:||Bronze turkey is mostly used for meat, but it is also one of the greatest turkey breeds for egg production|
|Eggs per year:||75 to 155|
|Weeks to Maturity:||36|
|Climate Tolerance:||Almost all climates|
|Color:||Brown, copper, blue, green, bronze|
|Temperament:||Depending on the individual, some can be aggressive while others are obedient|
|Price:||Chicks: $15 Full-grown birds: $115|
Heirloom Bronze Turkey Origin
The domestic bronze turkey breed was originally a cross between the domestic turkeys brought by British colonists to the New World and the wild turkeys they found in eastern America.
By the early 18th century, domestic turkeys had spread far over the eastern colonies. However, it was not until the 1830s that the bronze turkey birds were officially recognized as a distinct breed.
The Bronze breed separated into the Broad-breasted Bronze and the Standard Bronze in the 20th century, but both are still commonly known as just the Bronze Turkey.
Some people argue that there is no discernible difference between the two varieties. On the other hand, their feathers and plumage can vary in size. The Standard Bronze turkey is smaller and has lighter, glossy feathers.
Heirloom Bronze Characteristics
A Bronze turkey can grow to a maximum height of 4 feet (1.2 meters) with a wingspan of 6 feet (1.8 meters).
Heritage birds mature at a much slower rate, reaching maturity at 23 weeks as opposed to the 14–19 weeks required by commercial varieties.
The life expectancy of a Bronze turkey is 3–7 years.
They’re a hardy breed that can withstand most climates. In fact, they thrive when allowed to spend the day outdoors.
In terms of color, a Bronze turkey is metallic copper color or bronze.
The tail and its covert feathers are black and brown striped, the wings are bronze, and the flight feathers are white and black. The tom’s feathers, however, can display vivid colors, including red, purple, greenish, and gold.
The females are paler and have a hint of white lace on their breasts.
Meat production is the primary goal of Bronze turkey farming.
By 18 weeks, Bronze turkeys weigh more than 80 percent of their final adult size. A Bronze turkey is usually slaughtered between 4 and 6 months old.
However, they are unrivaled in their ability to lay eggs.
Bronze turkeys are commonly bred on organic farms, making their meat hard to find in conventional supermarkets.
The breeder, on the other hand, benefits from the increased demand for high-quality turkey products.
The bronze turkey is a highly resilient bird, able to thrive in various climatic circumstances. In fact, your turkey will benefit greatly from regular exposure to the outdoors.
It is, however, a huge bird that requires a lot of space to live. If you plan on having a big flock of these turkeys, you will need to provide them with a roomy coop and plenty of outdoor areas to run.
Their inability to fly is an advantage when it comes to their maintenance. This significantly reduces their capacity for escape, making it much easier for the breeder to keep them under control.
A turkey may not seem like the most obvious choice for a pet, but if you take your time and train it properly from a young age, it may become a great friend.
When the hen has chicks, you need to be extra careful. It doesn’t take much for her to become hostile and aggressive to protect them.
Turkeys’ diet varies significantly in the wild, from insects and reptiles to grains, seeds, herbs, and fruits—their diet changes with the seasons and the amount of available food.
Keeping a flock of turkeys healthy and robust requires balanced meals rich in nutrients.
While it’s possible to try feeding a turkey a homemade diet, the process will go much more smoothly if you use turkey feed. This guarantees that your birds are getting the necessary nutrition.
Many experienced turkey breeders suggest scattering meal bowls around the turkeys’ strolling area.
As a result, turkeys will eat more food during the day. This is due to their inherent instinct to seek food. If you give them one bowl to eat from, they may eat less.
Some toms are rough with hens, which is a common issue in a flock where males constantly struggle for females. You should take this as an indication that you need more females in the flock.
They are an excellent source of vitamin A and iron and have useful potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc levels.
But remember that one turkey egg has the same cholesterol as two large chicken eggs.
The turkey laying season begins early in the spring when the required 14 hours of daylight are available to initiate the laying process. Turkeys may continue to lay eggs even until October.
If you’re looking for a good turkey breed for eggs, look no further than the Bronze turkey. They produce 75 to 155 eggs per year on average!
However, the number of eggs you plan to incubate will likely dictate your approach.
When you remove eggs from a natural mother and don’t return them to her for incubation, the mother lays more eggs. This is when an incubator might come in handy. A broody hen is a great option if you’d rather not use a machine and stick as closely as possible to nature.
The term “broody hen” refers to a hen that incubates her eggs by sitting on them constantly.
The average incubation period for a turkey egg is 28 days. Always give your eggs a little extra time simply in case they are slow developers; it may be because of environmental factors such as a change in temperature.
Bronze Turkey vs. White Turkey
Bronze turkeys look and taste more like native American wild turkeys.
The Bronze turkey is one of the largest heritage breeds, reaching maturity at a leisurely pace. Typically, a male adolescent weighs between 35.3 and 38.1 lbs. (16 and 17.2kg)!
Bronze turkeys are bronze in color with a green and gold sheen.
It’s best to keep them in conditions as close to their natural habitat as possible by providing them with plenty of room to run outside. They are hardy, robust birds that will do well to survive in various conditions.
This is the turkey of choice for organic farmers and hobbyist poultry breeders.
White turkey is the most popular domesticated turkey breed for use in the food industry.
Usually, a barn is where to raise them. A single barn may house anywhere from a few thousand to ten thousand birds at once.
As the name implies, a White turkey has white feathers. The birds can weigh more than 40 pounds (18 kilograms) and have large chests.
They are large birds that are bred mostly for their white meat, so they are slaughtered quickly.
Bronze turkey is ideal if you wish to raise birds in your backyard or start an eco-friendly turkey farming business. It is a big bird, which makes it great for meat, but it also lays many eggs.
Because these turkeys are raised outside and allowed to grow at their own pace, they reach adulthood slowly, giving the meat a moister and juicier flavor.
Bronze turkeys are a great choice for beginning breeders because they naturally resist many diseases and environmental factors.
It’s also satisfying to have a role in preserving a breed that has deep roots in America’s development.