Key Characteristics

The Bourbon Red is an active forager, and does best in a pasture production system.


  • The Bourbon Red turkey is named after Bourbon County in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky.
  • The variety was developed by J.E.Barbee in the late 1800s from crosses between the Buff, Bronze and White Holland turkeys.
  • In America in the 1930s and 1940s it was one of the main 'commercial' varieties but, like several of the other high-breasted standard varieties, it fell out of favour when the broad-breasted turkey was developed. 


  • The plumage of the Bourbon Red is a rich, dark chestnut mahogany with some black and white markings.
  • The beak is dark at the base with a light horn tip.
  • The eyes are dark brown and the legs a reddish horn in the young, turning pink in the adults.
  • Bourbon Red poults are a light yellowish brown with darker brown marking.
  • A mature Bourbon Red male weighs up to 14.9kgs (33lbs) and a mature hen up to 8.1 kgs (18lbs).


The Birds are good foragers on pasture and provide excellent meat. 

Did you know?

The breed was originally called Bourbon Butternut but not until the name was changed to Bourbon Red did it become popular.