Originally Posted by FlyGap
I need me a turkey! I have a great long pen with a nice shed that I need to revamp. Wanting to put pheasants in there, it has a really nice peach tree and black berry bushes growing in it, but maybe turkeys first! What kind of turkeys do you have?
Bourbon Reds. American Livestock Breeds Conservancy: Bourbon Red Turkey
Along with their fine attributes, I liked their personalities the best.
No, really! Turkeys do actually have personalities (I know, shocking huh?) and can be quite comical and entertaining. The hen pic I posted earlier is of a hen who follows me around like a puppy and tries to "help" whenever I am fixing fence, or out on the pasture. Both her and my tom eat from my hand and like to have their bellies rubbed.
The ALBC is a great resource for heritage breeds and info on them. Since I started with heritage poultry, the turkeys were moved from Threatened back to the Watch column. It is nice to know that thinking about which breeds we choose, can help bring back the populations of heritage breeds in this country.
I can't buy grocery store poultry because of my son's health issues, so the eating qulities of the turkeys were also a consideration. Bourbons are one of the finest tasting birds according to the Slow Food and The Ark of Taste groups who did a trial. They had a special convention/meeting and took the different turkey breeds (including the genetic freak hybrids sold for super cheap at the grocery store) had them professionally prepared/cooked. They were then sampled by some of the finest chefs and foodies in the country and graded and ranked in a variety of different catagories.
The Bourbon placed second highest just behind the Beltsville/Midget White. The "grocery" store ones placed last.
I have only just gotten to the point of being able to eat them (not my breeding flock, but the poults I pasture/free range just for that... because well, I'm a ninny) and have to admit, they are the tastiest bird I have ever eaten.
Their fat will fry up potatos (home grown of course) almost as well as bacon fat. Yummy!