Friday, February 12, 2010

Poultry ordering: Better buy now if you're gonna

Three years ago I was able to order chickens a few weeks ahead of the time I needed them.  Two years ago I had to order them a month before.  Last year 3 months before.  This year it's back to a two to three month leadtime, but it's early yet, and most folks aren't thinking chickens or turkeys in February. 

I've ordered 50 bourbon red, 25 black spanish and 50 narragansett turkey poults for delivery at the end of april.  I'll also be collecting and hatching our turkey flocks eggs.  I'm aiming at retaining a flock of 50 turkeys next winter, mostly bourbon reds, and selling 200 finished heritage birds. 

I've also ordered 100 broadbreasted bronze turkeys.  I get asked quite a bit for a turkey that's 20-30lbs, and the heritage breeds don't get that big.  So I'll raise a batch of broadbreasted birds to meet that demand. 

With the heritage turkeys you have the choice of keeping them for breeding stock or selling them at market.  With the broadbreasted turkeys you're pretty much committed to market sales.  They just get too big by the next year, and cannot naturally mate. 

Broad breasted turkey vs heritage turkey.  Heritage turkey on the left.