Heritage Turkeys ~Different varieties, different personalities?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Honey1, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. Honey1

    Honey1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2008
    I'm curious about Heritage Turkeys, and would love to add a few to our small farm in a couple of years.

    Do different varieties have different personalities?

    If so, what would be considered the most docile types?
  2. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    I'd like to know as well... I plan to add some this coming spring [​IMG]
  3. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2008
  4. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    Wow, what a great site. i had no idea there were so many different kinds of turkeys. We have thought about adding a few in the Spring, too. Guess i need to read up on how to care for them.
  5. davidb

    davidb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2008
    north east Georgia
    I have some royal palms in with my goats, they were raised with them and stay around the goats until they roost at night.
  6. GardenerGal

    GardenerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 20, 2008
    I had a bourbon red tom for five years. He was sweet natured and followed me around like a dog. If he thought I wasn't showing him enough attention while I was doing barn chores, he'd tug on my shirt tail or jacket.

    On the other hand, when he was a jake and just started showing adult display and courtship behavior, he was a little territorial. He'd fly up on the barn roof and hop into the neighbor's yard (the fence between our properties was next to the barn) and chase their two boys. [​IMG] He never hurt them or even pecked at them, but I clipped his wings until he got too big to fly that high to the barn roof. After that, he just strutted along the fence to show off to the boys. They loved it.
  7. CindyS

    CindyS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2008
    Geneseo, Illinois
    They really arent different kinds, but just new colors being developed and named by crossing the original colors. They are all basically a heritage turkey. I keep all my different colors of turkeys together and when I hatch these eggs the new colors pop up randomly, of course I dont know what mating developed the new color but they are neat. Its just like crossing chickens, the colors you get are usually very pretty.
  8. Harp Turkey Ranch

    Harp Turkey Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 18, 2008
    McCleary, WA
    I would have to say the Narragansett's are the most docile turkey ?? Next Bourbon Red and the Standard Bronze. If I was going to get them as pets for the farm maybe think about the Royal Palms ?? They stay small and don't eat as much. The bigger turkeys require about a 1/2 lb a day in feed and can add up real fast. The best thing I would say is to get more then one so they can keep each other company. I have never had a turkey attack me ?? I guess it would be how much time you spend with them ?? They all know me as the food guy and they all come running when they hear or see me and expect food.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2008
  9. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    Quote:Not trying to "knock" Kevin Porters turkeys in any way shape or form, I know him and he does have some very nice birds but the ones that don't breed true are not considered heritage turkeys. Here is a cut and paste from the Americian Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

    Definition of a Heritage Turkey
    All domesticated turkeys descend from wild turkeys indigenous to North and South America. They are the quintessential American poultry. For centuries people have raised turkeys for food and for the joy of having them.

    Many different varieties have been developed to fit different purposes. Turkeys were selected for productivity and for specific color patterns to show off the bird’s beauty. The American Poultry Association (APA) lists eight varieties of turkeys in its Standard of Perfection. Most were accepted into the Standard in the last half of the 19th century, with a few more recent additions. They are Black, Bronze, Narragansett, White Holland, Slate, Bourbon Red, Beltsville Small White, and Royal Palm. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy also recognizes other naturally mating color varieties that have not been accepted into the APA Standard, such as the Jersey Buff, White Midget, and others. All of these varieties are Heritage Turkeys.

    Heritage turkeys are defined by the historic, range-based production system in which they are raised. Turkeys must meet all of the following criteria to qualify as a Heritage turkey:

    1. Naturally mating: the Heritage Turkey must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating, with expected fertility rates of 70-80%. This means that turkeys marketed as “heritage” must be the result of naturally mating pairs of both grandparent and parent stock.

    2. Long productive outdoor lifespan: the Heritage Turkey must have a long productive lifespan. Breeding hens are commonly productive for 5-7 years and breeding toms for 3-5 years. The Heritage Turkey must also have a genetic ability to withstand the environmental rigors of outdoor production systems.

    3. Slow growth rate: the Heritage Turkey must have a slow to moderate rate of growth. Today’s heritage turkeys reach a marketable weight in about 28 weeks, giving the birds time to develop a strong skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass. This growth rate is identical to that of the commercial varieties of the first half of the 20th century.

    Beginning in the mid-1920s and extending into the 1950s turkeys were selected for larger size and greater breast width, which resulted in the development of the Broad Breasted Bronze. In the 1950s, poultry processors began to seek broad breasted turkeys with less visible pinfeathers, as the dark pinfeathers, which remained in the dressed bird, were considered unattractive. By the 1960s the Large or Broad Breasted White had been developed, and soon surpassed the Broad Breasted Bronze in the marketplace.

    Today’s commercial turkey is selected to efficiently produce meat at the lowest possible cost. It is an excellent converter of feed to breast meat, but the result of this improvement is a loss of the bird’s ability to successfully mate and produce fertile eggs without intervention. Both the Broad Breasted White and the Broad Breasted Bronze turkey require artificial insemination to produce fertile eggs.

    Interestingly, the turkey known as the Broad Breasted Bronze in the early 1930s through the late 1950s is nearly identical to today’s Heritage Bronze turkey – both being naturally mating, productive, long-lived, and requiring 26-28 weeks to reach market weight. This early Broad Breasted Bronze is very different from the modern turkey of the same name. The Broad Breasted turkey of today has traits that fit modern, genetically controlled, intensively managed, efficiency-driven farming. While superb at their job, modern Broad Breasted Bronze and Broad Breasted White turkeys are not Heritage Turkeys. Only naturally mating turkeys meeting all of the above criteria are Heritage Turkeys.

    Prepared by Frank Reese, owner & breeder, Good Shepherd Farm; Marjorie Bender, Research & Technical Program Manager, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy; Dr. Scott Beyer, Department Chair, Poultry Science, Kansas State University; Dr. Cal Larson, Professor Emeritus, Poultry Science, Virginia Tech; Jeff May, Regional Manager & Feed Specialist, Dawes Laboratories; Danny Williamson, farmer and turkey breeder, Windmill Farm; Paula Johnson, turkey breeder, and Steve Pope, Promotion & Chef, Good Shepherd Farm.

    Steve in NC
  10. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    We have 6 types of heritage turkeys, White Holland, Standard Bronze, Midget White, Royal Palm, Beltsville White, Bourbon Red,

    The Palms and Belts are the most standoffish

    The others are all very friendly, the Bourbons are the most curious followed by the Bronze.

    We have pics on our website of the breeds we have, the site isn't finished yet but will be soon. [​IMG]


    Steve in NC

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