Broiler turkey breeds

Broiler turkey breeds

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Strange as it may seem, but until now the descendants of the wild North American turkey are not very different from their progenitor either in appearance or in weight. A wild male weighs 8 kg, an ordinary domestic turkey weighs almost the same: 8-10 kg. And then, rather, due to fat reserves. All the differences between them are the shorter legs of a domestic turkey and a very long stiff brush on the chest of a wild one.

Until now, wild turkeys in America interbreed with domesticated relatives. The offspring thus obtained are of better quality than the original parent material.

Domesticated turkey breeds often differ only in plumage color and a couple of kilograms of live weight.

Standing apart are the relatively recently bred broiler turkey breeds, which often weigh more than 20 kg in adulthood.

At the same time, "by eye" broiler turkeys are not much larger than ordinary turkeys. A large weight and a large slaughter yield of meat (80%) in broilers is achieved due to significant muscle mass and a very small thin skeleton.

Whoever butchered ordinary turkeys and broilers probably noticed that after cutting the meat, the remaining skeleton of a broiler weighing about 15 kg is the size of a skeleton of an ordinary turkey weighing 5 kg. The skeleton of an ordinary male turkey is much larger.

This feature of broiler turkeys is associated with the very problems that have created their reputation as a pampered bird that requires special food and prevents them from mass breeding.

You cannot have such a thin skeleton and strong thick leg bones. Because of this, in broiler turkeys, the growth of bones and ligaments does not keep pace with muscle mass. Under the weight of the body, the paws of the turkey begin to disperse to the sides. So the belief about special foods is well founded.

Broiler turkey feed should be rich in protein for muscle gain and calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D for strong bones.

Broiler turkeys are divided into three weight groups:

  • light group up to 9 kg:
  • medium - up to 18:
  • heavy - up to 25.

The most popular in the world is the heavy cross, bred by the British company British United Turkeys (BUT) and marked as Big-6.

Characteristics of the Big-6 cross

Broiler turkeys of this cross can reach a weight of 40 kg. But this is a record weight even in adulthood, when the meat is already becoming harsh. In addition, keeping broiler birds for too long is just tormenting them.

Turkeys are usually slaughtered quickly, since their maintenance becomes unprofitable after six months, therefore such facts are unknown with turkeys. With broiler roosters, there were cases when they tried to leave them "for later". As a result, the rooster was so heavy that it could no longer move and only crawled on the floor. As a result, his own relatives - chickens pecked at his belly and pecked out the guts for profit. So if the bird is bred for rapid weight gain and the same quick slaughter, do not feel sorry for it.

White plumage in broilers is preferable, since in this case there are no dark spots unpleasant to the eye on the skin of the mascara.

It is unlikely that it will be possible to breed this cross on your own, since, firstly, the cross in the second generation will split into parental forms. Secondly, only males are usually on sale. And more often than not, males are sterile, so they cannot even hybridize with home-grown turkeys.

Two other crosses, bred by the same company, are marked as Big-8 and Big-9. Outwardly, there are no differences between them.

The crosses are created by crossing "light" turkeys and "heavy" turkeys. These crosses are hammered in 3-4 months.

In addition to British crosses, Moscow bronze, white broad-breasted and Canadian broad-breasted are also recommended for breeding in Russia on personal yards.

Canadian broad-breasted turkey

It was bred by selection in Canada, which is reflected in the name of the breed. Turkeys of this breed grow very quickly. Already in a month and a half, turkeys weigh 5 kg. By the time of slaughter, 3 months after hatching, they already weigh 9 kg. It is very convenient to sell this type of breed by order with whole carcasses. Someone needs a medium-sized carcass and a turkey can be slaughtered in six weeks, someone needs a larger one and such buyers can sell a three-month-old turkey.

Attention! Turkeys of this breed grow very quickly in the first 2-3 months, then their growth stops and the profitability of their keeping falls.

Color selection for this breed was not carried out, therefore the Canadian broad-breasted have the color of a wild turkey, that is, a black feather with a bronze tint. From the photo, the Canadian broad-breasted is almost impossible to distinguish from the Moscow bronze and from ordinary turkeys of a non-broiler breed.

Canadian broad-breasted turkeys are distinguished by early maturity, starting to lay eggs as early as 9 months.

The Canadian broad-breasted is a thermophilic breed, therefore it is not suitable for cultivation in the northern regions of Russia.

Moscow bronze turkey

Bred in the Moscow region by crossing three breeds. When breeding, the North Caucasian, bronze broad-breasted and local bronze breeds of turkeys were used. Being better adapted to cold climates and not requiring special conditions of detention, Moscow Bronze is successfully bred in the central regions of Russia and in the north of Ukraine.

Description of the breed

Called bronze, this breed of turkeys actually has black plumage. All the "bronze" in its color is a bronze tint of the feather.

Moscow bronze turkeys are much smaller than meat crosses and weigh 11-13 kg, turkeys - 6-7 kg. Turkey poults at four months of age manage to gain 4 kg.

A turkey lays up to 100 eggs per year. The advantage of this breed is the high egg fertility and hatchability of turkeys over 80%. The official survival rate is 70-75%, but a lot depends on the content of the turkeys.

White broad-breasted turkey

It is easy to see that visually in the photo, the white wide-breasted turkey bred in America is no different from the British meat crosses, to which it is one of the parent breeds. True, there are turkeys in the picture, since it is unprofitable to grow turkeys for meat production. During the same time, they gain weight half as much as males.

In the USSR, wide-breasted white was introduced in the 70s of the last century and on its basis heavy, light and medium crosses were obtained.

A white broad-breasted turkey grows up to 100 days. After that, it can be sent to the slaughterhouse.

Important! White broad-breasted is very demanding on conditions of detention.

When diluting it, it is necessary to maintain a certain temperature regime, air humidity and lighting regime. Especially afraid of white wide-breasted dampness and cold. In this case, turkeys of this breed get sick with a runny nose.

A turkey with a white broad-breasted begins to rush at 9 months. In a year, she can have more than a hundred eggs with a fertility of 90%. But in the incubator, only 75% of the fertilized eggs are hatched.

Given that the breed is used for a wide variety of breeds, turkeys of this breed also differ in a wide variety of sizes. The lightest turkey weighs 9 kg, the turkey is half the size. Sexual dimorphism is observed in all groups, so there is no need to dwell on turkeys.

The average type of turkeys weighs 18-17 kg, heavy up to 25.

Features of keeping and feeding broiler turkeys

It should be noted that against the background of the crowded content of broiler turkeys, not only a change in their behavior is noted, but also the extinction of the incubation instinct.

To enable normal natural instincts, each individual must have at least 20 m². With crowded content, the bird not only extinguishes the incubation instinct, but also disrupts all mental activity, which is clearly visible on the video.

The content of turkeys. Farm Volozhanin:

In general, the conditions of detention are not the worst, but there is not enough space for the turkeys. The stripped tails show that the turkeys are fighting among themselves and pecking at the feathers of neighbors. On industrial farms, turkeys are chopped off their beaks to solve this problem.

Insufficient space for walking also leads to disorders of the musculoskeletal system, due to which some of the turkeys cannot move.


It is better to feed broiler turkeys 5-6 times a day, as broilers eat a lot.

When formulating a diet for broiler turkeys, it is necessary to adhere to a strict balance of vitamins and minerals. The ideal solution would be to feed broiler turkeys with special compound feed, but for small farmers it will be more expensive due to the difference in the size of supplies for a large complex and a private backyard. As you know, large wholesale lots are always cheaper.

A private trader can get out of the situation by independently making a wet mash of crushed grain, kitchen waste, herbs and mineral and vitamin premixes for turkeys. But since it is unlikely that he will be able to accurately observe the required chemical composition, the efficiency of feeding will be lower than in industrial complexes.

It should be remembered that all broilers of any type of poultry are very sensitive to conditions and feed composition. If the necessary conditions are not met, broilers do not gain full weight, giving rise to myths about pumping factory birds with steroids.

The basis of foreign feed for broilers is soybeans, due to the high protein content, in which the broiler gains weight very quickly. In addition, soybeans are cheaper than any other grain. Hence the low cost of foreign poultry meat.


But in the wake of the general movement for "organic products", a private trader can get a good income from the sale of broiler turkeys under the brand of an organic product. This brand costs two to three times more than usual, which, by the way, is used by some enterprising villagers.

Watch the video: Top 5 Turkey breeds for successful farming (February 2023).

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