They were admitted to the APA in 1874 and are on the watch list.
- Breed Colors/Varieties:
- Offspring can be black, blue or slate.
- Breed Size:
- Large Fowl
They are called Blue Slates/Self Blues and Lavender. A slate is black based with a single dominant slate gene. Breeding: Slate to Slate, you can get Slate, Self Blue or Black. Self Blue to Self Blue, you will only get Self Blue. Self Blue to Blacks, only Slates. Black to Slates, you will get Blacks or Slates. Self Blue to Slate, you will get Slates and Self Blues. They are very friendly and curious. And they can fly pretty good. They are good egg layers as far as turkeys go. A tom will weigh 33 pounds. A hen will weigh 18 pounds. They are slow growers, and do not have leg issues and they can reproduce naturally.
Recent User Reviews
"Lovely birds but watch out for genetic bottlenecks"
Pros - Lovely color; sweet, quiet bird
Cons - Going blind, very small and sickly
I have one slate turkey (lavender/self-blue) and, unfortunately, she's going blind due to a genetic fault which is very common in the Penn State line. As the breed was nearly extinct, most Slates are related to the few birds which were used to try to bring them back from the brink of extinction, and this means that quite a number of deleterious alleles are floating around in their gene pool at high frequencies. Lavender females are more likely to have this progressive blindness. Apparently, their eyes are shaped somewhat differently (little more oblong if mine is an indication, she also seems to have a muscular problem in that her eyes don't appear to focus on anything in front of her). When buying poults of this breed, and especially of this color within the breed, be sure to examine the poults for this strangeness of eye shape.
The jenny I have has fallen more and more behind her "sisters" and isn't even half the size of the bronze jenny I bought at the same time. The lavender jenny is exceptionally small and has extreme difficulty finding her way around the yard, eating and eating. She gets lost easily and has to be manually moved into the coop regularly at night. She's a lovely, sweet little turkey, so it's particularly heartbreaking that I can't do anything more to help her.
"Great heritage breed"
Pros - Friendly, beautiful, and are able to naturally breed
Cons - None
I have had my slates for about three years now. I love them. They are great to show at the county fair and are very friendly. I do my own poultry processing and very much enjoy the rich flavor of the blue slate's meat. They are great for free ranging, very friendly, and very hardy. These turkeys are tough and weather tolerant. I can't recommend this turkey breed enough.
"shy at first but they can become a very easy..."
Pros - Calm, friendly, healthy
Cons - very meek and shy for the first couple of hours
I purchased three turkeys from a fellow turkey farmer. both my birds and his had been dewormed and vaccinated for other health problems. both also on meticated food. The birds were introduced and the quickly figured out their place in the pecking order. 2 slates and a naragansett. the slates have already become comfortable in the new enviornment