Other common names: Bourbon Red; Bourbon Turkey; Kentucky Red; Bourbon Butternut
The Bourbon Red Turkey's history starts in Bourbon County Kentucky, where the turkey was bred to have a broad breast and flavorful meat. Like all the other heritage turkeys, Bourbon Red's were once nearly an extinct breed but they are rebounding and becoming popular once again. The Bourbon Red Turkey was first recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1909.
Appearance: Rich chestnut with contrasting white wing feathers and white center tail feathers.
Housing: Coop with free range, or large pen
Temperament: Social and easily handled
Breeds naturally: Yes
Meat: Excellent and very flavorful
Weight: (Large) 18 - 33 lbs
good foragers, free range, good moist meat, Tasty Heritage Turkeys, beauty, immense size
aggressive, Fiesty little buggers, semiaggressive behavior, confinement, bad temper
public display, heritage turkey breeds, bronzebased bird, Thanksgiving table, GREAT guard turkey
Beautiful heritage breed.
The Bourbon Turkey's probably one of the most interesting breeds of turkeys that I've had. They have a beautiful deep reddish / brown feather pattern that is very memorable.
They produce a very nice tasty meat and are overall a nice large breed of turkey. Being that their feathers are rather colorful I've seen many people use them for various craft projects as well.
I personally raise my poultry free range, and this breed of turkey has always been a pretty good scavenger. They'll eat anything they can find, from insects,worms, and they love old bread and veggies.
Bourbon Red's are also a heritage breed of turkeys and they're not quite as widespread as they once were due a decline in commercial use. If you have interest in having heritage birds on your farm, then I would highly recommend this be part of your flock.
Two things to keep in mind that are in general for turkeys:
Egg production is not going to be comparable to chickens, your best bet is to use turkey eggs for further flock production, if possible in an incubator.
Male turkeys can be very temperamental at times, mostly around breeding season. It's best to carry a lightweight but 3-4ft pole with you when you're around them. You just need to carry it around to quickly show that you're much, much bigger than they are, not to actually hit them with it..
From BrentM Aug 21 2014 7:43PM
Bourbon Reds are a Great Addition to the Barnyard
Bourbon Reds are a gorgeous variety of turkey. They, as their name suggests, come from Kentucky. They are a large heritage fowl. Perfect for the backyard farmer looking for a friendly bird. I have never had any negative experience with these birds temperament wise. Turkey toms can often be aggressive, so this is a true defining factor. The only thing to keep in mind is that they are a heritage variety so they do not grow out at the same rate as commercial varieties. However, when they grow out they are large birds. Therefore, if you are looking for a friendly fowl pet to have around the yard, please account for their immense size when planning housing.
I would recommend Bourbon Reds to just about anyone looking to add turkeys to their place. They can be difficult to find but are well worth your effort!.
From Ivagrovegirl Mar 5 2014 2:15PM
Bourbon Reds are Overhyped
The Bourbon Red is my least favorite of the five turkey breeds I have had. It grows slowly, has a bad temper, and begins gobbling earlier than other Turkeys from my experience by about two months. When I raise turkeys I raise them strictly for meat so I may be a bit biased on the Bourbon Red. That said, the do not put on nearly as much weight, nor do that put it on as quickly as the Broad Breasted White, or the Midget White. The thing I disliked the most about them however was their temperament and need to roost. They could not stand confinement at all, and so needed a huge space build just for them. Even this was not enough and they began fighting, and attacking until we put, custom made, roosts in their enclosure. If we had a star system I'd give them a 1 out of 5. The best quality of this breed however is it's foraging ability. We had a flock when I was young that we kept fenced in on the mountainside which had an Cartesian well as part of it. Since the water was available, and the food was natural for them, we essentially didn't have to take care of them and benefited from their meat as needed. We basically "stocked" the mountain with turkeys. However, as mentioned earlier, when I tried them in a less rural setting it was disastrous..
From Travis A. Wooten May 20 2014 12:43PM