The Broad Breasted White Turkey is the most popular meat turkey in the world. If you have ever feasted on this bird before, then it likely was this breed. It dominates pretty much every commercial turkey farming operation there is.
If you want to raise a quality meat bird, then the Broad Breasted White Turkey is probably going to be the right one for you. Let’s take a look at the facts of this breed, shall we?
Broad Breasted White Turkey Facts at a Glance
|Weight – Young
|male: 30 lbs (13.5 kg)
female: 18 lbs (8 kg)
|Weight – Old
|male: 45 lbs (20.5 kg)
female: 25 lbs (11.5 kg)
|~ 50 eggs per year
Broad Breasted White Turkey Origin
We cannot find that many details about the origins of the Broad Breasted White Turkey. We know it appeared at some point in the mid-1800s, but there seems to be very little information about who actually produced it.
If we had to guess, this bird was very much a joint effort between several breeders.
What we do know is that the following breeds went into the development of this bird:
- Broad Breasted Bronze Turkey
At the time, both of these breeds were major meat producers and, as a result, somebody hit upon the idea of combining the two to see whether it was possible to create an even better meat bird. Guess what? It was!
The Look of the White Turkey
The Broad Breasted White turkey is a bird that is going to weigh a lot. In fact, it is not uncommon for this breed to hit a whopping 45 lbs when fully grown.
As the name suggests; they are white, and they have a very broad breast. In fact, in the development of this breed, the bulk of the focus seems to have been on ensuring that there was as much meat on the breast as possible.
Other than this, there isn’t really a ‘stand out’ feature to this turkey breed. They are not bred for their looks. In fact, you probably are not going to find any turkey shows featuring this bird any time soon.
Well, at least not ones that are designed for anything other than showing off just how much meat it can produce!
Breeding the Broad Breasted White turkey
Before we talk about the benefits of having Broad Breasted White turkey as a meat bird, we do want to point out that this is a tremendously difficult bird to breed. This is because it is a bit on the heavier side.
This means that they struggle to mate. Even in commercial environments, this often means that there needs to be some sort of artificial insemination in order to get the turkey to breed. It is very, very rare that they will produce offspring naturally.
That being said, if the eggs are fertilized, then this is a bird that has a high hatch rate. So, if you can come up with a process where you can increase the chances of the egg being fertilized, you will be able to raise a lot of turkeys. You just need to get over the first hurdle!
The Broad Breasted White Turkey for Eggs
These do produce eggs and by all accounts some delicious ones. However, it is important to note that the eggs are just going to be a bonus when you are raising this turkey.
It is still going to be about the meat. Chances are that you will be slaughtering this bird a long time before they really get into the swing of their egg-laying.
Raising This Breed for Meat
This is where this turkey really thrives. There is a reason why the Broad Breasted White turkey has been as staple of commercial turkey farms for over a century now.
This is a breed that can produce quality meat, and it does it fast. However, do bear in mind that it does require a lot of feed. For your average homesteader, this is not going to be a cheap bird to raise. Turkeys enjoy the food at the best of times.
However, the Broad Breasted White turkey takes that to a whole new level.
There is a lot of meat on this bird. A lot of it. If you love turkey breast, then you will enjoy this bird. It is pretty easy to clean the carcass when you slaughter it too. After all, it is a white bird.
This means that the pin feathers are white. If any are left behind on the carcass, you won’t be able to see them at all.
It is worth noting that some people do claim that the Broad Breasted White turkey is not the most flavorsome of turkeys out there. We suppose this makes sense.
It is designed to grow fast, nothing more. This means that the meat of the bird doesn’t really have time to develop. Don’t get us wrong. It is still a decent tasting bird, but it is not the best out there.
Raising the Broad Breasted White
Like most bird breeds that have been developed primarily for meat, the Broad Breasted Turkey grows incredibly fast. It does not have a long lifespan. Due to the rapid growth, there will be a lot of pressure put on the intestines of the bird.
This means that if it is not slaughtered as soon as it becomes mature, it will just drop dead anyway. So, you really do not want to be raising this bird as anything but a meat bird.
As we said; the Broad Breasted White turkey is also going to be a tricky bird to breed. It is unlikely that you will be able to bread your Broad Breasted Turkey naturally.
You will need to do a spot of artificial insemination. Let’s be honest. The vast majority of homesteaders probably do not have the capability to do this. As a result, you are going to need to find a decent breeder that will be able to keep these turkeys rolling in.
That being said, this is a friendly breed, and other than the issue with them growing quite fast, there are not really any major problems with raising it. It is a decent bird to raise, and you will enjoy it.
The Broad Breasted White turkey is the perfect first bird for a homesteader, assuming that you are more than happy to slaughter it, which we assume you are.
As a final note; this is a bird that cannot fly. As a result, if you are planning on raising these birds, you do not have to worry about having them constantly fenced in.