Evaluating Heritage and Manufacturing Turkey Breeds


Now that a bit extra about the variations between Heritage and manufacturing turkey breeds, the enjoyable half begins! Whether or not you might be engaged on a small yard parcel or a big homestead with acreage, deciding which kinds of animals to lift is at all times an thrilling step. When researching turkey breeds to maintain, it is very important take into account your desires and desires. Area, foraging alternatives, age of maturity, meat high quality, and breeding potential are only a few issues you’ll want to consider as you start to construct your turkey flock.

Heritage Turkey Breeds

As mentioned in my earlier article, there are some things to remember when Heritage breeds. On one hand, they’re slower to mature than manufacturing breeds. They’re usually desk prepared round 26-28 weeks, and hens start laying round 9 months of age. Heritage turkey hens lay a wide range of shades of cream to tan eggs with stunning speckles. Inherent vigor, foraging talents, pure replica, and scrumptious meat are all optimistic traits related to Heritage turkeys. 



The Black turkey, also called Norfolk Black, was dropped at the Americas by early European settlers. Their Black turkeys have been crossed with Jap Wild Turkeys, which created the American model of the Black Spanish.

This breed has skilled nice recognition on the East coast, significantly within the states of Maryland and Virginia. Their calm conduct, quick weight acquire, and speedy development are all very fascinating traits. The Black is presently listed as threatened on the Livestock Conservancy’s Precedence Checklist. 

SIZE: Toms can weigh as much as 23 kilos, and hens weigh round 14 kilos.



The Blue Slate originated in Mexico. Variations embody strong blue, strong black, and blue flecked. This can be a medium sized hen that has been praised for a great price of acquire. The Slate breed was acknowledged by APA in 1874, and is listed as threatened by the Livestock Conservancy. Despite the fact that the breed has been in existence for a whole lot of years, they’re nonetheless fairly uncommon. 

SIZE: Toms weigh in at 23 to 27 kilos, and the hens vary from 14 to 18 kilos. 



This deep chestnut coloured hen was developed in Kentucky. The Bourbon Purple is a putting turkey and was beforehand a serious breed in industrial operations. As new poultry breeders hunt down wholesome birds able to reproducing naturally, Bourbon Reds have gotten more and more widespread as soon as once more. The Bourbon Purple is barely smaller in measurement than different Heritage turkeys, making them a wonderful selection for many who are elevating their flocks in a smaller house.

SIZE: Toms normally weigh round 23 kilos, and hens are near 14 kilos.

Chocolate TURKEY


Chocolate turkeys have been a standard sight within the pre-Civil Conflict South. Sadly, their inhabitants dwindled on account of over-consumption and lack of breeders throughout the warfare. Subsequently, the Chocolate is now listed as watch by the Livestock Conservancy. 

These turkeys have strong milk chocolate coloring on their feathers, legs, and toes. Proponents of the breed declare they’re very mild. As well as, regardless of their darkish feathers, the Chocolate turkeys reportedly gown fairly clear. 

SIZE: This breed is quite giant compared to some Heritage breeds. Toms can weigh as much as 33 kilos, and hens usually weigh near 18 kilos. 

Midget White TURKEY


The Heritage Midget White Turkey is the smallest domesticated turkey breed, identified for its manageable measurement and scrumptious meat. The breed resembles the Broad Breasted White, though a lot smaller at maturity. This breed is uncommon, and is on the Livestock Conservancy watch listing. 

SIZE: Toms weigh shut to twenty kilos, and hens weigh in round 10-12 kilos. 

Narrangansett TURKEY


The Narragansett breed was developed from the Norfolk Black, which was introduced over from Europe. Narragansetts have been first bred in Rhode Island, and have been acknowledged early on by the APA.

The Narragansett was a dominant breed within the 1800s on account of their foraging means, as their weight acquire required little or no further grain. They have been additionally identified for his or her good mothering talents, calm conduct, and scrumptious meat. 

As with different Heritage turkey breeds, their early recognition declined with the event and advertising of broad breasted breeds. They finally turned uncommon and endangered. Fortunately, current curiosity in Heritage turkeys has sparked a rise within the Narragansett breed. 

SIZE: Toms weigh a mean of twenty-two to 23 kilos, and hens weigh a mean of 14 kilos. 

Royal Palm TURKEY


The Royal Palm is likely one of the newer entries to the APA Heritage breed listing, and is a real present stopper. The Royal Palm turkey breed was perfected via years of cautious genetic choice. Their white feathers with darkish markings and bands give them a putting look. Because of its smaller measurement, this breed is prone to fly. Whereas the Royal Palm could be raised for meat, most fanciers preserve them for pets, exhibition, and bug management.

SIZE: Royal Palms are a comparatively small Heritage breed. Toms weigh 16 kilos, and hens are roughly 10-12 kilos when mature.


Standard Bronze TURKEY


Early European settlers crossed their home turkeys with the native Jap Wild Turkey, ensuing within the Normal Bronze. As typically occurs, hybrid vigor, illness resistance, and a pure foraging means made the Normal Bronze widespread for a lot of generations. This breed was standardized within the 1800s, and continued to be widespread with turkey breeders till the Broad Breasted Bronze was developed from Normal Bronze. 

SIZE: Toms common 25 kilos, hens are available in at round 16 kilos.



White Holland TURKEY


The White Holland turkey has an fascinating backstory. White is a recessive trait in turkeys. White feathers are literally a mutation, exhibiting the absence of coloration. Breeders selectively bred Bronze turkeys to create the White Holland. 

Within the Nineteen Fifties, industrial breeders started crossing White Hollands with Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys to create the Broad Breasted White turkey. Typically confused with the Broad Breasted White, the true White Holland is a Heritage breed. 

SIZE: Toms weigh about 25 kilos, and hens are usually near 16 kilos.



Manufacturing Turkey Breeds

Whereas manufacturing turkeys don’t have the identical illness resistance, pure replica capabilities, and flavorful meat as Heritage breeds, they do have some sturdy promoting factors. They’re usually able to butcher inside 16-22 weeks, relying on the feeding program, surroundings, and general well being of the flock. Manufacturing breeds can develop to be fairly giant, which means they put a number of meat within the freezer and on the desk. Whereas we usually consider elevating solely Heritage breeds utilizing sustainable strategies, an increasing number of persons are efficiently elevating manufacturing turkeys on pasture as effectively.


manufacturing BREED

The Broad Breasted Bronze Turkey is likely one of the largest and heaviest turkey varieties. They’re identified for his or her glorious feed conversion and are very fast-growing, making them a wonderful meat hen. The Broad-Breasted Bronze is likely one of the hottest industrial meat varieties, although their darkish pin feathers make them a bit tougher to decorate than different breeds.

SIZE: Toms can weigh in at about 38 kilos, whereas hens simply attain 22 kilos. 


manufacturing BREED

Large White turkeys are an extremely widespread manufacturing breed. Their measurement is exceptional, and their white feathers make them straightforward to decorate. Large Whites are a traditional desk turkey because of their speedy development and good feed conversion. 

SIZE: Toms typically weigh as a lot as 45 kilos, whereas hens can attain 25 kilos. 


manufacturing BREED

Murray’s Broad Breasted Artisan Black Turkey is a novel breed that mixes fascinating manufacturing traits with traditional Heritage traits. This breed is a bit smaller and slower rising than conventional manufacturing varieties, however will nonetheless attain the desk effectively earlier than their Heritage counterparts. Their scrumptious meat units them aside from different manufacturing breeds, and they’re identified to thrive in a free vary setting.      

SIZE: Toms weigh in shut 20 kilos at 20 weeks, and 11-12 kilos at 16 weeks for hens.  


manufacturing BREED

Murray’s Broad Breasted Artisan Black Turkey is a novel breed that mixes fascinating manufacturing traits with traditional Heritage traits. This breed is a bit smaller and slower rising than conventional manufacturing varieties, however will nonetheless attain the desk effectively earlier than their Heritage counterparts. Their scrumptious meat units them aside from different manufacturing breeds, and they’re identified to thrive in a free vary setting.      

SIZE: Toms weigh in shut 20 kilos at 20 weeks, and 11-12 kilos at 16 weeks for hens.  


manufacturing BREED

Murray’s Large White Turkey is likely one of the largest and commonest broad breasted manufacturing varieties grown in the US. They’re identified for his or her speedy development and white feathers, which make them straightforward to decorate. This breed is a wonderful selection for many who need to elevate and promote traditional desk birds.

SIZE: Mature toms can weigh as much as 45 kilos round 24 weeks, and hens will attain 25 kilos at 20 weeks. 


manufacturing BREED

Murray’s Midget White presents the advantages of elevating manufacturing turkeys in a a lot smaller hen. This manufacturing breed has the identical nice meat high quality as its bigger counterparts, however their smaller measurement means they’re simpler to lift and course of. Murray’s Midget White is right for each homesteaders and yard keepers. 

SiZE: Toms common 26 kilos at 18 weeks, and hens might be near  16 kilos at 16 weeks.  

Irrespective of which course you select to go along with your turkeys, take into account that all of them require related care. Acceptable meals, contemporary water, protected foraging alternatives, clear dwelling situations, and an appropriate shelter are all fundamental necessities. Whether or not you elevate two at a time to your vacation meals, preserve them as pets or present birds, or start a worthwhile breeding operation, turkeys have a means of endearing themselves to you and turning into a rewarding a part of your homestead, farm, or yard.  

McMurray Hatchery Blog | Guest Authors | Janet Garman

Janet Garman of Timber Creek Farm is an writer, fiber artist, and farmers with a love for animals and sustainable dwelling. Janet has a level in giant animal farm administration and animal science from the College of Maryland, and helps others study to lift livestock, chickens, geese, rabbits, and handle a small farm. Her articles on maintaining animals, small farms, and homesteading could be discovered in lots of widespread web sites. Janet has is the writer 50 Do-it-Your self Tasks for Preserving Chickens, Chickens from Scratch, and plenty of books about fiber arts and farming with animals.

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Function photograph courtesy of Roots and Refuge Farm.


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