Broad Breasted Bronze Turkeys
The Broad Breasted Bronze turkey is considered by some to be the largest and heaviest of the turkey variety. The Bronze strain is an American origination and admitted into the American Standard of Perfection in 1874. The Bronze Broad Breasted turkey is an excellent turkey to raise for family meat production and has an excellent feed to meat conversion rate.
However, generally the Broad Breasted Bronze turkey does not reproduce very well because of their large size. The Parent Stock are artificially inseminated in order to insure excellent hatchability of their eggs here at Global Poultry®. The Broad Breasted Bronze turkey will have a shorter natural life span than a heritage turkey because of their large size and have a generally very poor reproduction rate.
Unless the label states differently, most industrially raised turkeys are broad-breasted. They grow quicker and dress out heavier than heritage counterparts.
Two types of broad-breasted turkeys exist: white and bronze/brown. Though we see stunning pictures of iridescent bronze turkeys with white banding, the most common color for commercial production is white because the carcass dresses out cleaner. Bronze pin feathers can be dark and visible. Often, a melanin-rich pocket of fluid surrounds the feather shaft, leaking like ink when the feather is plucked. Growing white birds eliminates this problem.
If you purchase turkey poults from a feed store and want to start a breeding project, first verify the breed. Mature birds cannot be used for breeding unless the farm has special equipment and training. This is because the breasts are so large that these birds cannot mate naturally and must be artificially inseminated. Most commercial turkey farms purchase poults from hatcheries, raise them within a season or two, process, and purchase again.
Labels may say, “young tom” or “young turkey.” Most commercial growers process their birds at seven to twenty pounds and freeze them until the holiday season. This is because a broad-breasted that is allowed to grow to maturity can dress out at over fifty pounds. More than 70% of that weight is within the breast. If they grow too fast or too large, they can injure joints, break legs, or have cardiac and respiratory problems. Poultry keepers who are new to turkeys soon learn this. After cutting their birds with band saws so they can fit in ovens, or processing on an unplanned weekend because the turkey has gone lame, the farmers decide to butcher within July or August if they do it again.
Characteristics of Standard Bronze Turkey
The bronze turkey is a medium to large-sized bird with a majestic and imposing appearance. They are very beautiful birds and well known for their unique plumage, these birds were selected for their large size, and the much larger birds became known as broad-breasted bronze turkeys, and the cute little birds were the standard bronze turkeys.
Aside from the difference in size, the plumage of the standard bronze turkey is generally lighter and more glossy than that of the broad-breasted bronze turkey. Both varieties have a brown color that is enhanced by coppery and blue-green tones, and the plumage, in general, is very similar to that of the wild turkey. The average live weight of mature bronze turkey hens is about 7.25 kilograms. And the average live body weight of mature males is around 11.5 kilograms.
Classification of Standard Bronze Turkey
The standard bronze turkey has been the most popular variety of turkey for most of United States history. It originated from crosses between the domestic turkeys brought by European settlers to the Americas and the wild turkeys they encountered upon arrival. The hybrid vigor of this cross resulted in turkey populations that were larger and more vigorous than European birds and were also much tamer than wild turkeys.
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