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What is Bourbon Red Turkey Breed: Characteristics, Habitat, And More

The Bourbon Red Turkey is a reddish-brown plumage turkey whose feather tips are topped with a narrow black border, with white feathers. The tail is white with a red transverse stripe at the tip. Bourbon Red Turkey is one of the turkey breeds recognized by the British Standard for Poultry.

Bourbon’s red turkey breed is strong and hardy, wild game genes make them less susceptible to common poultry diseases. But it is recommended to take the breed to specialists who vaccinate them so that they can get stronger. It is always wise to develop the habit of checking their dense plumage for any symptoms of parasite infestation. This will help keep them out of control and prevent them from spreading to other herds in the yard.

Bourbon Red Turkey History and Origin

The Bourbon Red Turkey is a breed of domestic turkey from the United States, and its name is due to Bourbon County, Kentucky, and also its unique reddish plumage. Previously, it was also called Kentucky Reds and Bourbon Butternuts. And it originated in Kentucky and Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. The breed was created by crossing three breeds of turkeys and was first recognized as a different variety of turkeys by the American Poultry Association in 1909.

Bourbon Red Turkey image credit YouTube

Bourbon red turkeys are large birds with a very beautiful appearance, they have dark base color feathers with white primary tail feathers, they are defined by having a soft red band and whitish flight feathers. Both wings and tail have brown coverts, have flight feathers and a white tail and brown to dark red plumage. In males, the body feathers may be edged with black. The feathers on the chest and neck are chestnut mahogany, and the low-colored feathers are light to almost white in color.

These birds are very active and tend to fly around the yard, however, they are docile, but the males tend to be aggressive if intimidated. The breed is typically intended for meat production, but can also be used for display or eye-catching for the backyard.

Characteristics of Bourbon Red turkey

The Bourbon red turkey is a class of domestic turkey that is named for its unique reddish plumage and for Bourbon County, Kentucky. The standard weights are in anticipation of the potential of the Bourbon red turkey and when the breed was at its peak, the breed standard means that the Bourbon red turkey should weigh about 10.4 kilograms (23 pounds) for males and 6, 3 kilograms (14 pounds) for hens of slaughter age (about 29 weeks).

Bourbon Red Turkey: Characteristics, Habitat, And More

The Bourbon Red Turkey is a reddish-brown plumage turkey whose feather tips are topped with a narrow black border, with white feathers. The tail is white with a red transverse stripe at the tip. Bourbon Red Turkey is one of the turkey breeds recognized by the British Standard for Poultry.

Bourbon’s red turkey breed is strong and hardy, wild game genes make them less susceptible to common poultry diseases. But it is recommended to take the breed to specialists who vaccinate them so that they can get stronger. It is always wise to develop the habit of checking their dense plumage for any symptoms of parasite infestation. This will help keep them out of control and prevent them from spreading to other herds in the yard.

The Bourbon Red Turkey is a breed of domestic turkey from the United States, and its name is due to Bourbon County, Kentucky, and also its unique reddish plumage. Previously, it was also called Kentucky Reds and Bourbon Butternuts. And it originated in Kentucky and Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. The breed was created by crossing three breeds of turkeys and was first recognized as a different variety of turkeys by the American Poultry Association in 1909.

Bourbon Red Turkey Profile

Bourbon red turkeys are large birds with a very beautiful appearance, they have dark base color feathers with white primary tail feathers, they are defined by having a soft red band and whitish flight feathers. Both wings and tail have brown coverts, have flight feathers and a white tail and brown to dark red plumage. In males, the body feathers may be edged with black. The feathers on the chest and neck are chestnut mahogany, and the low-colored feathers are light to almost white in color.

These birds are very active and tend to fly around the yard, however, they are docile, but the males tend to be aggressive if intimidated. The breed is typically intended for meat production, but can also be used for display or eye-catching for the backyard.

Characteristics Bourbon Red Turkey

The Bourbon red turkey is a class of domestic turkey that is named for its unique reddish plumage and for Bourbon County, Kentucky. The standard weights are in anticipation of the potential of the Bourbon red turkey and when the breed was at its peak, the breed standard means that the Bourbon red turkey should weigh about 10.4 kilograms (23 pounds) for males and 6, 3 kilograms (14 pounds) for hens of slaughter age (about 29 weeks).

Although there are efforts to restore and comply with the Bourbon Red standard, these weights today are carried out by few breeders and growers, and Bourbon red turkeys have been uncleaned for too long due to a lack of selective breeding to preserve the breed.

The feathers of the breed are of a dark base color, with white primary plumage, and on the tail, it has a characteristic, where it is possible to notice a simple red stripe and white flight feathers; for both the tail and the wings, these birds have chestnut-colored feathers. The standard allows for a total of thirty percent red tail feathers before the bird is ready for slaughter.

Classification of Bourbon Red Turkey

Bourbon red turkeys were selectively bred for their utility characteristics as a meat fowl. And during the 1930s and 1940s, it was a very important variety in the turkey industry. The breed declined after commercial adoption of the broad-chested white breed, like most other breeds of turkeys.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the total population of the Bourbon red turkey began to recover. And currently, the breed is one of the most popular turkey breeds in the United States. The breed continues to be listed by The Livestock Conservancy, despite its relative popularity as a heritage breed. The turkey breed originated in Bourbon County in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky and this is the source of its name. The turkey breed was developed in 1800 by J. F. Barbee.

The domestic turkey was formerly known as Bourbon Butternuts and Kentucky Redds. The heirloom hen was born after crossing the Buff, Tan, and Dutch White turkey breeds. In 1909, the breed of turkey was accepted and admitted to the American Poultry Association as a different type of turkey. Since then, domestic birds have become popular around the world.

These heritage birds were generally bred for meat production and this is the reason for their popularity in the turkey industry, especially between the 1930s and 1940s.

There are currently fewer than 5,000 birds of the Bourbon Red Turkey breed that breed in the United States. And it’s also included in a catalog of endangered American foods.

The behavior of Bourbon Red Turkey

Bourbon red turkeys are hardy and very beautiful birds. They are a very attractive variety for both the display and the backyard. These birds are very active scavengers and generally do very well in a pasture production system. Whether as a thoroughbred or if they are crossed with white turkeys, their foraging ability remains the same.

They are birds of docile temperament, but some birds can become aggressive, highly dependent on selection by the breeder, nowadays bred mainly for meat production, it is a very attractive variety with foraging capacity,

Habitats of Bourbon Red Turkey

This robust and hardy breed of turkey has body systems that are dynamic and can easily adapt to different climates with great ease.

Reproduction of Bourbon Red Turkey

In the case of breeding, they are highly dependent on selection by breeders, some birds are docile in temperament and others can be aggressive. Today the breed is raised mainly for meat production, however, it is necessary to review the full profile of the breed well.

The introduction of wide-breasted white turkeys to the market caused the breed to decline as they are birds of superior quality. The circumstance has led to a total reduction of the breed of turkeys in the United States to about 5,000 or less. These birds have been included on the American Livestock Conservancy’s endangered species list and very few private hobbyists in Kentucky still have them on their farms.

In the Philippines, Bourbon Red turkey is very rare and very expensive. You can find it being offered to sell on Facebook if you are diligent enough to search.

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