Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thanksgiving in May

Click on the picture for a larger version

These are representatives of the birds that we'll be selling this thanksgiving.   Clockwise from upper right, broad breasted white turkey, (was supposed to be a bourbon red but the hatchery screwed up the order), Narragansett heritage turkey, bourbon red heritage turkey, black Spanish turkey, broad breasted white turkey. 

I want to get my heritage birds in March to give them all the time they need to reach market weight by thanksgiving.  It's easier to maintain a bird at a weight at the end of the season than it is to have them gain, and the last couple of years it's been very cold and wet, so having the turkeys for an extra month gives us insurance that we'll reach market weight. 

The smaller broad breasted is timed for consumers who want a bigger bird; at this age in may they will hit 20-28lbs (hens-toms) by November.  The black Spanish and Narragansett are for folks who want a good-sized heritage bird, which for me tops out between 12 and 14lbs.  The bourbon red is one of a replacement flock that I'm breeding, to replace my breeding flock this year.  They're not aimed at market, so it's ok that they're tiny at this point.

The hatchery mistake, the bigger broad-breasted birds are a problem.  Given 7 months to grow and all of the food that they want, they'll hit 30-50lbs, which is too big to fit into most ovens.  I'm not sure what I'll do with them. 

I'm guessing what the market will be like 10 to 12 months in advance.  In order to get my turkey orders in and the birds I needed, I ordered some of these a very long time ago. 


Anonymous said...

one answer for the 30-50 lb bird is to cut it in half. We had a 50+ lb bird one year, half went into the oven, the other half was cooked in the BBQ

Anonymous said...

I hope you like turkey in your freezer! How many of the broad-breasted birds do you have? Could you sell half turkeys for lunch meat? We grow turkeys for general consumption and piece them up before cooking.

a said...

What about selling them early? I'd love to buy fresh turkeys year round instead of just at Thanksgiving & Christmas. They are just not an easy thing to find.