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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Bourbon Turkeys

Poultry Breeds - Bourbon Turkeys


bourbon-tom.jpgThe Bourbon turkey was developed in in Kentucky, United States in the late 1800's in Bourbon County, its namesake. This breed was developed by J. F. Barbee who crossbred a Buff, Bronze and White Holland to produce the auburn colored plumage mixed with white wing and tail feathers. The Bourbon turkey was recognized by the APA in 1909. It became popular for the large carcass it produced and the rich flavor of the meat. It boasted the size of a Mammoth Bronze turkey. It was a popular commercial turkey between the 1930's and 40's. Its popularity reduced after the broad breasted varieties were developed. Recently they have made a comeback for research in their fitness and survivability as well as the meat flavors. The Bourbon has light gray colored beak, red to blueish wattles, black beard, and pink legs and toes. The body has not been standardized for meat production since the 1900's. The tom should weigh 23 lbs while the hen should weigh 14 lbs. The Bourbon turkey is active and is great for ornamental uses as well as breeding.

Bourbon Turkey is recovering from a decrease in population due to it lack of popularity. It is considered a handsome fowl and great for backyard keeping. They lay potted cream and brown eggs. The eggs are considered large.


"Bourbon Red Turkey." The Livestock Conservancy. The Livestock Conservancy, n.d. Web. 14 July 2015.


Mike Walters, Red Rose Hatchery, Rt. 3 Box 1409, Stilwell, OK. 74960

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Added February 11, 2002


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