Heritage breeds of poultry such as the Plymouth Rock Chicken, Dominique Chicken and the Bourbon Red Turkey can all be found here. These breeds were once an important part of the American homestead but found themselves pushed out in favor of more industrialized breeds. Both breeds can still serve the modern homestead or backyard flock keeper well.
Both the Bourbon Red Turkey and the Dominique are on the Livestock Conservancy's Watch list. The Plymouth Rock is on the Recovery list, as its numbers have improved.
The Dominique and the Plymouth Rock are considered a dual-purpose bird. The hens will produce 250 eggs a year. Young roosters when butchered around 18 weeks provide a nice meaty carcass for the table. Both breeds are relatively easy keepers. 1 Plymouth Rock hen and 2 Dominique hens raised clutches of chicks this year. Sustainability in the flock at its finest!
The Bourbon Red Turkey hen can lay between 100 eggs a year in the right environment! She will brood her own eggs if given the opportunity. I have found this breed to be very robust and feeds itself well. Toms will weigh around 20-23# with hens around 15#. Poults do require a high protein feed and medication against coccidia to thrive. My turkeys follow me around and coming running when I call
While Tom turkeys do have a habit of trying to be the boss, the roosters on the other hand have never tried to challenge me. They are calm and give me no issues. I believe this the result of me handling them early as chicks and acting in a calm manner around them as much as possible.
I believe I have successfully developed a feed recipe that is soy free and I’m able to purchase 90% of the ingredients from the local co-op. The birds seem to like it and are laying well here.
Saturday, November 11, 2023