The Bourbon Red turkey is named for Bourbon County in Kentucky’s Bluegrass region where the breed originated in the late 1800’s. It was developed by crossing Buff, Bronze, and White Holland turkeys. Standard weights for Bourbon Reds are 23 pounds for young toms and 14 pounds for young hens. They also present an attractive carcass when dressed, since the light pinfeathers leave no residue of dark pigment showing the feather follicles.
The variety was developed from a cross of a commercial Broad Breasted White turkey and an exhibition Royal Palm. Midget White toms average 13 lbs., hens average 8 lbs. This breed has a higher egg production, fertility, and hatchability than other turkey breeds. The hens laid an average of 60-80 large eggs per year, weighing only three to five grams less than those of the broad breasted white turkey. These diminutive turkeys are unusually friendly and will approach people and pets without much concern.