Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
Murrieta, California, United States
Posted Oct 01, 2013
My son was only in 4H for half of a year, but we joined just so we could learn about caring for turkeys while we were raising our own for the holidays. We purchased 2 birds as chicks and were amazed at how fast they grew. We got one each of Broad Breasted Bronze and Broad Breasted White. At first we were able to let the turkeys free range with our chickens, but as they grew it became a HUGE annoyance to clean up the HUGE splats they left behind. So eventually they had to stay in the 5x15 foot dog run we converted for poultry.
The turkeys were not quite as fun as the chickens but it was pretty crazy to watch them chase the dog around the yard. (a hunting dog even!) Our kids knew right from the start that the turkeys were being raised to provide food, so it went over pretty well with that preparation. It was a good opportunity to discuss humanely raising animals for food.
This turkey's finished weight was 18 pounds compared to 22.5 for the male white... This is because the females are naturally smaller than the males. Our turkeys got along well with each others, but the male was a bit intimidating at full size. Overall, it was a good lesson to learn about food animals, but with the cost of feed, and the noise and cleanup, it was not an easy project. We spent about $100 per bird by the time they became dinner.