Can Broad Breasted Bronze Turkeys Breed Naturally

Antibiotics and Raising Turkeys

Keeping turkeys can require more care than keeping other poultry. Numerous illnesses, including aspergillosis, coryza, avian influenza, and blackheads, can infect them. Given how important biosecurity is for a bird that can become sick so quickly, many growers end up supplementing daily feed with antibiotics. Others handle biosecurity by keeping their farm spotless and totally secure, turning away outsiders, and housing their turkeys in cozy barns to keep hawks and falcons away from the flock’s food and water sources. Antibiotics and non-certified organic feed are not used on organic turkey farms.

Although turkeys are not initially given antibiotics, if a few become ill, farmers may decide to treat the entire flock. Certain growers maintain distinct flocks, rearing turkeys without antibiotics until complications arise, and transferring sick birds to an alternative pen if necessary for medication. To protect the health of the flock as a whole, some must put sick birds to death.

An ongoing argument exists regarding the ethics of using antibiotics. Although many farmers have declared that they will no longer include medication in their daily feed, they maintain that caring for sick animals is the most humane method of producing meat. Refusing to use any antibiotics results in the animal’s suffering, the disease spreading, and the sick animals being put to death before it affects other livestock.

Whichever approach the farmer takes, it will all be reflected in the final cost when buying heritage turkeys for Thanksgiving. Due to fewer veterinary visits, labor costs, and dead birds, meat from a farmer who regularly feeds antibiotics will likely be less expensive. However, it might be worth the extra cost to keep your family’s meat free of antibiotics. Jennifer Amodt-Hammond’s turkey, dressed out at 50 pounds.

The Standard Bronze turkeys, which are slow-growing, naturally mating strains of Bronze turkeys, have been further marginalized by the turkey industry. A few determined breeders raised a few for friends and family and kept small flocks to compete in poultry shows. Before the early 21st century, when consumer interest in biological fitness, survivability, and superior flavor piqued again, the Bronze was not used for commercial production for decades. This led to the creation of a growing market niche.

The Bronze variety is stately and imposing in appearance. For example, young toms should weigh 25 pounds, and young hens should weigh 16 pounds. But many birds may be smaller than the standard because the Standard Bronze hasn’t been chosen for production traits like weight gain in years. With careful selection for optimal health, natural mateability, and productive qualities, this variety will rise back to its former glory. Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys are also in need of conservation. Few hatcheries keep breeding flocks, and the ones that do are getting fewer in number. It is necessary to create marketing plans for each kind that don’t conflict with the others.

For the majority of American history, the Standard Bronze has been the most widely consumed type of turkey. It was created by crossing domestic turkeys that European settlers brought to the Americas with wild turkeys from the East that they came across when they arrived. Compared to European birds, the hybrid vigor of this cross produced larger and more robust turkey stocks. These birds were also much tamer than wild turkeys. The variety’s name refers to the coppery, bronze-colored metallic sheen that it inherited from its wild ancestors.

Over the past century, this variety’s status has undergone significant change. A wider-breasted Bronze turkey was brought from England to Canada at the beginning of the 20th century, and subsequently to the northwest region of the United States. These were crossed with larger, faster-growing U. S. stocks, the Broad Breasted Bronze that resulted became the preferred commercial variety. Additional selection enhanced growth rate, other performance characteristics, and meat production, particularly for breast meat. At the same time, their natural ability to mate was almost completely destroyed by conformational changes, particularly the shortening of the legs and keel. Because of this, since the 1960s, the majority of Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys have been artificially inseminated. The Broad Breasted White turkey took the place of the Broad Breasted Bronze turkey starting in the 1960s. Because the white-feathered variety produced a carcass that looked cleaner, processors preferred it. The turkey industry no longer uses the Broad Breasted Bronze; instead, it is promoted for small-scale, seasonal production.

What is the typical age at which a Broad Breasted Bronze turkey should be butchered? Typically, these birds are killed between 20 and 24 weeks of age.

Broad Breasted Bronze Turkeys make the ideal traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, have an excellent feed conversion ratio, and are ideal for raising for meat production.

A Broad Breasted Bronze turkey requires a minimum of 5 to 6 square feet of coop space. ft. per bird.

All of our Heritage turkey breeds will reproduce naturally. Which breeds of turkeys will breed naturally? Breeds used for production, like the Giant White and the Broad Breasted Bronze, will not

One of the biggest and heaviest varieties of turkey is the Broad Breasted Bronze Turkey. To be appreciated, these majestic, rapidly expanding lords of the barnyard must be seen. Their feathers have a metallic sheen that shifts in color with the light, going from copper to bronze to burnished gold.