We're Talkin Blue Slates

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by AK Michelle, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. AK Michelle

    AK Michelle Bad Girl of the North

    Mar 17, 2009
    Palmer, Alaska
    I have had chickens for years and they are ridiculously easy to get information on, yay me.

    Now I have turkeys too and I keep trying to find some basic details but so far, have missed some things.

    1. How old do they need to be to start laying?

    2. Once they start laying, what is their laying cycle? 1 a day? 1 a week? for a month? For 6 months?

    3. Do turkey eggs taste like chicken eggs (just bigger)?

    Right now I have 9 (although at least one has been dubbed a menu item so that number could change [​IMG] ) I have one Tom and a bunch of hens (I think) and they live in the barn with my chickens. I have over 30 chickens, of varying ages and genders, and right now the daylight is supplemented with artificial light so that I get about a dozen eggs a day. The turkeys were all hatched in my incubator between March 15 and Late May early June so some are only 5 or 6 months old.

    Thanks for any info you can share.
  2. HallFamilyFarm

    HallFamilyFarm APA ETL#195

    Jan 25, 2010
    Monticello, Arkansas
    Cornell has a free online book Turkeys, all varieties. Their care and management at http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924003170267

    There is also Storey’s Guide to Raising Turkeys at http://www.storey.com/book_detail.php?isbn=9781580172615&cat=Animals & Farming&p=0

    Check your local library, they may have Storey's book.

    Most turkeys will start laying the next spring after hatch. Some may start in their first fall or winter.

    Each turkey hen will lay a clutch. That may be 6 or up to 20+ eggs. They should then go broody and hatch them out. If you keep the eggs agthered tehy should continue to lay, just like the chickens. You will want to use nest eggs. Ours tend to hide their nests, but where we can find them. they trust us, just not others. Yet, we are the ones stealing their eggs!

    Can not tell the difference. We hatch all turkey eggs or sell on auction. We did have one get stepped on this year and cracked. Fixed it for breakfast fried with some chicken eggs. No difference.

    One tom should be able to service 8 hens with good fertility. As rare as good Slates are, just keep all 8 hens and the tom, hatch more and raise a young tom for Sunday dinner.

    Here is what the ALBC says about the Slate Turkey at http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/slate.html

    Slate Turkey

    While most early texts state that the Slate turkey originated from a cross of the Black turkey on a white turkey, there is little genetic evidence to support such a conclusion. The slate gene is a legitimate mutation that arose just as the gene for blue in the Andalusian chicken is the result of an unrecorded mutation. One added element of confusion in defining the variety is that there are actually two different genetic mutations (one dominant and one recessive) that produce the blue slate color, and these produce slightly different shades. White and rusty brown markings my be present but are considered a defect.

    The Slate or Blue Slate variety is named for its color, which is solid to ashy blue over the entire body, with or without a few black flecks. It is also called the Blue or Lavender turkey. Hens are lighter in hue than the toms. The head, throat, and wattles are red to bluish white. The beak is horn in color; the eyes are brown; and the beard is black. The shanks and toes are pink. The Standard weight for a young tom is 23 pounds and 14 pounds for a young hen. Since, however, the Slate has not been selected for production attributes, including weight gain, for years, many birds may be smaller than the standard. Careful selection for good health, ability to mate naturally, and production attributes will return this variety to its former stature.

    The Slate was accepted by the American Poultry Association in 1874. It has been popular in exhibition circles and is gaining popularity in pastured poultry production. Renewed interest in the biological fitness, survivability, and superior flavor of the Slate has captured consumer interest and created a growing market niche. The Slate is less well documented and more variable in type and color than any other variety. This makes it more challenging to breed consistently than the others. Its production potential today is not known.

    Status: Watch​
  3. AK Michelle

    AK Michelle Bad Girl of the North

    Mar 17, 2009
    Palmer, Alaska
    Wow, thanks!

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