Breed Details:
The Black turkey should have a lustrous greenish black plumage, shiny black with metallic green overlay and a more dull, flat black underneath. White, bronze, or other off-colors are considered undesirable; although poults may show off-color feathers, especially white, that are molted at a later time. Hens seem more likely to have stray white feathers while mature toms occasionally have brownish-bronze feathers in the tail. This can also be due to crossing strains as Europe has several Standards regarding color. The beak should be black and the wattle red. Like any turkey the color can change from a healthy red to a whitish-blue when startled or threatened. Shanks and toes are pink in mature birds, the eyes dark brown and the skin white. The Standard weights for the variety in America are: Adult tom, 27 lbs.; yearling tom, 22 lbs.; young tom, 18 lbs.; hen, 18 lbs.; young hen, 12 lbs. This makes the Black turkey slightly smaller than breeds like the bronze or white turkeys and certainly smaller than the commercial broad-breasted heavyweights. Since the Black turkey has declined in popularity and been replaced by commercial breeds birds are generally several pounds lighter but with responsible breeding the Black turkey can be bred up to its former glory. Here in the US this variety is still occasionally referred to as "Black Spanish" or "Norfolk Black" and is referred to as a Heritage Breed. In my experience, Black turkeys are calm and easy to handle. They mature quickly and enjoy nice evenings out to free-range. Grain and fresh greens make excellent treats. Hens lay well throughout the spring and summer months slowing down in the heat and stopping in the fall. Eggs are a light creamy color with darker speckles. Hens will go broody and if allowed to incubate their last clutch can make wonderful mothers. Toms are non-aggressive and I could walk up to my original male and pick him up without so much as a care from him.



Rooster

Hen

Egg

Chick

Adolescent