Bourbon Red turkey farming is common in it’s native area, and also in the areas where this breed is available. It is also called as Kentucky Reds and Bourbon Butternuts. It is a meat turkey breed which is raised mainly for meat production purpose.
The Bourbon Red turkey breed was developed from United States. And it is named for the Bourbon County, Kentucky and also for it’s unique reddish plumage. The breed was actually developed in the late 19th Century by crossing Buff, White Holland and Standard Bronze turkey.
The Bourbon Red turkeys were selectively bred for utility traits as a meat bird. And it was a very important variety in the turkey industry throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Like many other turkey breeds, the breed declined after the commercial adoption of Broad Breasted White.
Total population of the Bourbon Red turkey breed began to recover in the early 21st Century. But today the breed is still listed as ‘watch’ by The Livestock Conservancy, despite it’s relative popularity as a heritage breed.
The Bourbon Red turkey was first recognized as a different turkey variety by the American Poultry Association in 1909. And today, it is one of the most popular heritage turkey breeds in the United States.
However, as it is a meat turkey breed, so starting commercial Bourbon Red turkey farming can be a good and profitable business if you can manage everything perfectly. Because turkey meat has very good demand and value in the market.
How to Start Bourbon Red Turkey Farming
Like many other turkey breeds, the Bourbon Red turkeys are also very strong and hardy birds. So starting commercial Bourbon Red turkey farming business will be easy and simple. Here we are trying to describe more information about starting and operating a successful Bourbon Red turkey farming business from purchasing birds to caring and marketing.
First of all, you have to purchase very good quality, healthy and active birds for starting your Bourbon Red turkey farming business. Purchasing very good quality birds is very important. Because good quality birds always ensure good production and maximum profits.
You can purchase either mature birds or day old poults depending on the price and availability in your area. The day old poults are much cheaper, but the mature birds are generally sold at very high prices in the market. So, we recommend starting with day old poults.
You can purchase the birds from any of your nearest turkey breeding centers, turkey poult suppliers or any existing Bourbon Red turkey farms. You can also search your local online classified websites. Just ensure that the birds are strong and active enough.
Just like raising other domestic turkey breeds, arranging a good and secure housing system is very important for Bourbon Red turkey farming business. A good housing system not only helps the birds to stay healthy, but also helps them to stay free from all types of predators and adverse weather conditions.
The Bourbon Red turkey birds generally require a secure, comfortable and clean housing system. So, you have to ensure all required facilities for your birds inside their house. You will need to provide them with a good roosting area with a roof. And their roosting area must have to have good protection against predators.
Like many other domestic turkey breeds, the Bourbon Red turkeys also do very well in free range system. So, allowing your birds to access fresh pasture will be very good. They also require a place to dust bathe and roosting place for flying up into at night.
The Bourbon Red turkeys are classed as a large breed. The mature tom reach around 15 kg, and the mature hens generally reach around 8.2 kg. So, each mature bird will generally require around or up to 10-15 square feet of housing space.
Feeding the birds with very good quality, healthy and nutritious food is the most important part of Bourbon Red turkey farming business. Because good quality feeds not only help the birds to stay healthy, but also helps them to grow better and produce more.
You can feed your turkeys either with commercial poultry feeds or turkey feeds depending on the availability in your area. The turkey birds generally require more protein enriched food than the chickens. So, you have to ensure adequate amount of protein in their diet.
The adults bird’s food should contain at least 20% protein, and the starter feeds of poults should contain at least 28% protein. You can also feed your poults with gamebird starter or chick starter for the first 6 weeks. And then gradually switch to a grower.
The Bourbon Red turkey birds generally reach marketing size within their 6 months of age. And on an average, a tom will require approximately 100 pounds of feed, and a hen will require around 60 pounds of feed for reaching marketing size within 6 months.
Never feed your turkeys with contaminated feeds or polluted water. And always try to provide them with enough clean and fresh drinking water as per their demand.
Like many other domestic turkey breeds, the Bourbon Red turkeys are also good for raising in both confinement and free range system. But raising them in free range system will be good. It will help you to reduce feeding costs. And at the same time the free range birds will produce better quality products.
Like many other domestic turkey breeds, the Bourbon Red turkeys are also naturally very good breeders. They will breed easily and produce fertile eggs for hatching if you keep good ratio of hens and toms in your flock. Generally one mature and healthy tom is enough for breeding around or up to 8-10 hens.
The Bourbon Red turkeys are very strong and hardy birds. They are of docile temperament, but some birds can become aggressive. They are very active foragers and do very well in free range system.
So, the Bourbon Red turkeys generally require less caring and other management. Although taking additional caring will help the birds to grow better and produce more.
Monitor your bird’s health on a regular basis for any signs of diseases or illness. And take necessary steps as soon as possible if you notice anything uncommon. Vaccinate them timely and always try to keep good contact with a vet in your area.
Marketing turkey products is not a problem. Because turkey meat has very good demand and value in the market. So, you will probably be able to easily sell your products in the local market. Although you should set your marketing strategies before starting this business.
These are the common ways and steps for starting and operating a successful Bourbon Red turkey farming business. Raising Bourbon Red turkey is very easy and simple, even the beginners can also raise them. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck & may God bless you!