~ American Poultry Association Standard Bred ~ ~ Strong vitality ~ ~ Excellently flavored meat ~ ~ High egg production ~ ~ Naturally hatch and raise their own poults ~ ~ Friendly ~ ~ Beautiful ~ ~ Successful Show Results ~ (See Photo Gallery at the bottom of the page.)
Shipping Available for Poults and Hatching Eggs. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In February, 2008, The American Livestock Conservancy, Humane Farm Animal Care, Slow Food USA, and Ayrshire Farm partnered to hold a blind taste test comparing the flavors of eight heritage turkey breeds and one industrial turkey. The results: The heritage Bourbon Red Turkey was voted the best-flavored full-sized turkey. (The full article is available here, from Mother Earth News.)
The American Poultry Association admitted the Bourbon Red Turkey into the American Standard of Perfection in 1909. The Bourbon Red was a popular meat breed in the early 1900s; however, beginning in the 1950s, heritage turkey numbers and quality decreased due to breeder/producer neglect in favor of the commercial Broad-Breasted Turkey varieties. By the turn of the century, fewer than 1000 breeding Bourbon Red Turkeys existed in the United States, and The Livestock Conservancy classified the breed as Threatened for extinction. Turkey breeders began working to save the Bourbon Red. The Bourbon Red has now graduated to Watch status, but so far there are only a few flocks that have attained the quality of the pre-1950s Bourbon Reds.
Our Bourbon Red Turkeys are bred to the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection. We are one of the few farms to have Bourbon Red Turkeys again achieving APA Standard weights. We have years of weight and measurement records, egg laying records, fertility records, and hatch records showing production performance on our turkeys. We raise between 100 and 500 young turkeys each year from which we select our breeding stock. We retain only 20 to 40 of the best birds to add to our breeding flock.
In addition to their excellent flavor, Bourbon Reds have the advantage of light-colored quills and down, making plucking simple and resulting in a cleanly dressed bird. (Dark-colored turkeys can be more difficult to pluck because of dark pinfeathers.) Our production records show that properly fed, free-range Bourbon Red Turkeys from our line will dress out at the following weights at 7 months of age: Turkey toms: 16 to 18.5 lbs. Turkey hens: 9 to 11 lbs.
Bourbon Red Turkeys are sustainable meat and egg birds. They can live and breed naturally for many years, unlike commercial turkeys, which must be artificially inseminated and often die young of organ or skeletal failure. Our line of Bourbon Reds has high fertility and hatchability. Hen turkeys readily hatch and raise their own poults. Though many people see turkeys as strictly meat birds, our Bourbon Reds are also excellent egg layers. They begin laying at seven months old and lay consistently spring through fall for more than three years. Turkey eggs are richly flavored and a desirable gourmet food item.
Turkeys are friendly and personable when hand raised. Contrary to popular opinion, properly handled tom turkeys are not mean to humans.
Bourbon Red Turkeys from our line have achieved excellent success for our customers at numerous fairs and shows, with wins including Best in Show and many Grand Champions.
Turkey Terms: ~ Poult: Baby turkey, turkey chick ~ Tom: Adult male turkey. Also known as gobblers. ~ Jake: Juvenile male turkey. ~ Hen: Adult female turkey. ~ Jenny: Juvenile female turkey. ~ Rafter: The technical word for a group of turkeys (often generically called a flock). ~ Wattle or Dewlap: The thin, fleshy flap under the turkey's chin. ~ Caruncle: The bulbous protuberances on the turkey's head and neck. They change color depending on the turkey's mood. ~ Snood: That elastic thing that hangs over the turkey's beak. Larger in males. Extends or retracts depending on mood. ~ Beard: The clump of black fibrous feathers on the turkey's breast. Usually only found on males; occasionally small beards are present on females. Beards do not molt out each year like the other feathers, and grow longer as turkeys age.