Wyoming lifts ban on Narragansett turkeys

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by HallFamilyFarm, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. HallFamilyFarm

    HallFamilyFarm APA ETL#195

    Jan 25, 2010
    Monticello, Arkansas
    Wyoming lifts ban on Narragansett Turkeys! 11/22/2011 See below:

    From LaDonna:


    Yippee! WY G&F will now allow Narragansett turkeys in the state!

    A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who wrote letters, e-mailed and sent me information. You were great and made a difference!


    Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 17:48:43 -0700
    Subject: Narragansett Turkeys
    From: [email protected]
    To: [email protected]
    CC: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]


    It was a pleasure to visit with you about this issue on the phone this evening. As we discussed, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission regulations, chapter 10, state that domestic turkeys that are "distinguished morphologically from wild turkeys" qualify as domestic turkeys and do not require a permit for possession. Narragansett turkeys that display these characteristics would not require a permit for possession.

    Please let me know if you have further questions.

    Brian Nesvik

    Wyoming Game and Fish Department

    Chief Game Warden

    Chief, Wildlife Division

    [email protected]

    E-Mail to and from me, in connection with the transaction
    of public business,is subject to the Wyoming Public Records
    Act, and may be disclosed to third parties.


    Wyoming bans all turkeys that are related to wild turkeys

    (ETA: Note, at present only the Narragansett is banned. However, based on their policy, ALL turkeys would be banned.)

    The below letter was received by the Secretary of the Exhibition Turkey Fanciers. Please read the letter then read this link at ALBC: http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/narragansett.html

    assist us in helping fellow breeders of poultry in Wyoming. Call the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and ask for Director Scott Talbott. Explain to him that the Narragansett Turkey has been recognized as a domesticated livestock for over 400 years. You may file a formal online complaint at http://gf.state.wy.us/wildlife/enforcement/stoppoaching/submitTip.aspx

    Then call the Wyoming’s Governor Matthew Mead at 307-777-7434 and explain to his office that the Narragansett Turkey has been recognized as a domesticated livestock for over 400 years. You may email the Governor at http://governor.wy.gov/contactus/Pages/default.aspx

    We must protect our rights to own livestock. Arkansas Game and Fish attempted a similar ban this year concerning ALL waterfowl. We won! Now Wyoming Game and Fish. What state is next?

    The ETF appreciates your assistance.

    Jim A. Hall
    Exhibition Turkey Fanciers

    Note: We will place updates in post #1 and on the thread.


    Here is the Grand Champion Turkey at the 2011 Crossroads of American Joint National, a Narragansett tom.

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  2. HallFamilyFarm

    HallFamilyFarm APA ETL#195

    Jan 25, 2010
    Monticello, Arkansas
    Here is a template letter. Please edit and mail to the officials listed above.

    Brian R. Nesvrik
    Chief, Wildlife Division
    Wyoming Game and Fish Dept
    5400 Bishop Blvd
    Cheyenne, WY 82006

    Dear Mr. Nesvrik,

    It has come to my attention that you and the Wyoming Game and Fish
    Department are experiencing some confusion in regards to the status of
    the Narragansett turkey breed. I am in receipt of a copy of the letter
    you sent to Jim Hall in which you state that "All turkeys, wild and
    domestic, are taxonomically classified as Meleagris gallopavo.
    Wyoming recognizes domestic turkeys as only those breeds that can be
    distinguished morphologically from wild turkeys. In order to be
    recognized as a domestic breed, a turkey needs to have changed in
    temperament and conformation, or other attributes to an extent that
    makes them unique and distinguishable from wild individuals of their

    I would like to address several points with you in response to this
    statement. Meleagris gallopavo was one of the first animals in the
    Americas to be domesticated. In 1519 Cortez found the Aztecs raising
    domesticated turkeys. The Spaniards carried the turkey back to Europe
    where they quickly became popular. In 1620, the Pilgrims disembarked
    from the Mayflower and were surprised to find turkeys on this land
    similar to the domesticated ones they brought from England. Soon they
    were cross breeding both stocks of turkeys at the Plymouth Plantation.

    Wyoming currently has wild Rio Grande, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia,
    & Merriamm Meleagris gallopavo merriami, turkeys, along with hybrids
    of these two sub-species. Neither of these turkeys are native to
    Wyoming according to the research I have found but were transplanted
    into Wyoming & other states. The Rio Grande and Merriam turkey
    sub-species are recognized as wild turkeys where they are found. The
    Narragansett turkey on the other hand is not found in the wild
    anywhere in the United States and has been domesticated from it's
    creation in the 1600's by the early colonists who crossed domestic
    turkeys brought from Europe with native Eastern Wild Turkeys. Improved
    and standardized for production qualities, the Narragansett Turkey
    became the foundation of the turkey industry in New England and was
    especially important in Rhode Island and Connecticut. It was also
    popular in the Mid-Atlantic States and the Midwest. This breed was
    recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1874.

    As you know, all wolves/dogs, wild and domestic, are taxonomically
    classified as Canis lupus? Some sub-species of Canis lupus are
    dramatically different in appearance and temperament, while other
    "domesticated" sub-species are very similar to "wild" sub-species in
    either appearance and/or temperament. Does Wyoming ban any Canis
    lupus sub-species due to these morphological similarities? Many birds
    from the Psittacidae family are "domesticated" and are kept as pets
    throughout the world. Without exception, all of these species are
    identical in genetics and appearance to their wild counterparts in
    their native habitat. Does Wyoming also ban Psittacidae species due
    to their indentical morphological composition compared to their wild
    counterparts? I could go on with many other examples but I think you
    can see my point. Every breed, species or sub-species of domesticated
    animals world wide is the result of selective breeding & cross
    breeding of their wild forebears and subsequent descendants. If you
    ban Narragansett turkeys, you will need to update your list of banned
    species to include all cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, chickens, cats,
    horses, and pigs; along with every fish, mammal, bird and reptile
    currently being sold in pet stores throughout Wyoming as they are all
    either descended from "wild" ancestors or are directly from the wild

    I personally raise Narragansett, Black Spanish, Slate, Bourbon Red,
    Royal Palm & Bronze turkeys. They definitely possess a different
    temperament and conformation than wild turkeys of any sub-species.
    The Narragansetts for example are larger than any type of wild turkey,
    they eat out of my hand and will follow me around my property while
    free ranging. I would consider these to be significant differences
    from any wild turkey in both size and temperament. They also look
    different in appearance from the wild turkey sub-species. Just for
    comparison, I also have a pen of Ringneck pheasants that I hatched
    this last spring from eggs from a "pheasant farm" that has been
    raising this line of birds for many generations. These birds are
    considered domesticated and yet they are definitely not tame even
    after many generations of captive breeding and look identical to the
    wild Ringnecks, (which are also a non-native species.)

    In summary, the Narragansett turkey is a domesticated turkey and has
    been for 400+ years. They are not found anywhere in the wild and they
    possess a different temperament & conformation from the transplanted
    wild turkeys currently found in Wyoming. I urge you to join the rest
    of the States in the Union in recognizing the Narragansett as a
    domesticated breed along with the other Heritage Turkey breeds which
    are: Black Spanish, Slate, Bourbon Red, Standard Bronze, White Midget,
    Jersey Buff, White Holland, Royal Palm & Beltsville Small White along
    with multiple color variations of these breeds.

    Sincerely yours,

    John Doe
    3200 Carol Lane
    New York, New York 00123

    cc: Matthew Mead, Governor Wyoming
    Wyoming Department of Agriculture​
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  3. Jake Levi

    Jake Levi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 14, 2011
    Harrisville, MI
    They have their heads up their butts !!

    ALL turkeys are decended from wild American turkeys, both the Eastern and the Mexican species. Spain took wild Mexican turkeys from Mexican species and the English imported wild Eastern turkeys, and their breeds descend from those ! Those breeds were subsequently brought back to N. American and again hybridized with wild American turkeys, its all the same DNA !!
  4. HallFamilyFarm

    HallFamilyFarm APA ETL#195

    Jan 25, 2010
    Monticello, Arkansas
    "IF" this goes bad, is there anyone in a nearby state that can house a small flock of Narragansett for our member? I am willing, but Arkansas is a bit far from Wyoming.
  5. Peach2u

    Peach2u Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2011
    Harrison Bay, TN
    LOL well there goes Thanksgiving. Since all turkeys can be traced back to the wild ones. What a waste of tax money and time. If there is a shortage of wild turkeys up there you can have the flock that runs across my yard and eats my bird seed. If I let my chickens out too early they will eat thier food too. Good Luck hope you get to keep your flock
  6. HallFamilyFarm

    HallFamilyFarm APA ETL#195

    Jan 25, 2010
    Monticello, Arkansas
    Quote:We have a volunteer farm in Colorado that will keep this flock if it becomes neccessary.
  7. HallFamilyFarm

    HallFamilyFarm APA ETL#195

    Jan 25, 2010
    Monticello, Arkansas
    URGENT NEWS!!!!!


    They are working with us to correct this issue.
  8. GrannyLou

    GrannyLou New Egg

    Nov 18, 2011
    Are there any e-mail addresses available? These guys hide themselves so deep I can't find one in any of my usual haunts - those used by reporters - and this has made it to my Yahoo group about Antiquity Poultry.

    A member posted a letter they wrote and I'm responding with my own arguments against the ban, including photos. I'd love to CC these idiots so they can see there is a HUGE difference between the two birds...

    My thoughts on it, sans photos:

    I found this to be interesting. I looked this up to see what all the hullabaloo was about and found this posting on the Backyard Chicken site.

    On this site is a letter from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department where they say, “In order to be recognized as a domestic breed, a turkey needs to have changed in temperament and conformation, or other attributes, to an extent that makes them unique and distinguishable from wild individuals of their species.”

    The turkey being targeted in this campaign is the Narragansett Turkey, listed on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy as “threatened”. Here are photos of the birds, the wild turkey and the Narragansett, side by side (along with the links from whence they came): (Insert photos here - emphasis mine)

    I believe the argument could be made they HAVE changed in both conformation AND appearance. By looking at the head, waddles and breast of the Narragansett, conformation changes are evident.

    The strong argument could also be made the temperament of a Narragansett is CERTAINLY different from that of a wild turkey. I’ve walked into a yard full of domesticated turkeys and been greeted by them. I stumbled across a, uh, group of wild turkeys in West Virginia and they ran away. The Narragansett is definitely a much more docile bird.

    I searched for e-mail addresses for a number of people listed on this letter but couldn’t find anything in a few minutes.
  9. HallFamilyFarm

    HallFamilyFarm APA ETL#195

    Jan 25, 2010
    Monticello, Arkansas
    Their official agency websites give a way to email via the website. No email address are known to us. Thanks for the help!
  10. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    From the letter (easier reading):

    They should have stopped after the first sentence. Domestication, strictly speaking, does not require hybridization. However, since they brought it up: temperament is inadequate as a `tame' turkey is only a moment of imprinting, on a human, away from altering the the temperament (supplying a food source and protection from predators/penning up) and creating a `domestic' turkey (Silvestris/Merriami/etc.). Instituting a breeding `regimen' between the `tames' and one achieves the alteration in `conformation' though, in the dissertation linked to below, it is almost impossible to determine what M.G. Merriams (maintained by ancient Native American populations in the Southwest) were `domestic' and which were wild. Domestication and hybridization are not synonymous:

    ??Black Spanish/Bronze/Royal Palm/Bourbon,etc.??

    "Conformation"? (and all that implies):


    Can't run down an online copy of the 1874 American Standard of Perfection (first year of turkey inclusion, yes?). However, the above is from the 1903 edition, which is available online: http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924003039280



    From: The Wild Turkey (Its History And Domestication), A.W. Schorger, University of Oklahoma Press, 1966 (pp. 43, 462)

    The restocking of `Wild' Meleagris Gallopavo Silvestris in Missouri revealed the following:
    From 1925 to 1943, an effort was made to halt the decline in turkey numbers. Approximately 14,000 game farm turkeys were released to supply more breeding stock. The hunting season for turkeys was closed in 1937. However, turkey numbers still decreased and the release of game farm turkeys appeared futile. Research studies were initiated in 1938 to determine why the game farm turkeys failed. These investigations were interrupted during World War II, but resumed in 1951. It was learned that game farm birds, even of the wildest stock obtainable, were not the answer- only a truly wild bird would survive.

    Imprinting on humans and/or the maintenance and breeding of a `Wild' population by humans is sufficient to produce a domestic line (the differentiation occurring, initially, at the level of `learned' behaviors/epigenetics).

    ...However, the lack of statistical significance appears to support the long-held view that all turkey varieties are a single breed, because the use of 10 markers distributed on different chromosomes may represent the most unbiased estimate of the relationships to date.

    From: Microsatellite Marker-Based Genetic Analysis of Relatedness Between Commercial and Heritage Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo)
    Poultry Science: 2007 Poultry Science 86:46–49 http://ps.fass.org/cgi/reprint/86/1/46

    If the Narragansett is `Wild', then so to are Commercial Broad Breasted turks. It would seem the only turkeys that should enter Wyoming are frozen Butterballs, et al.


    The above is from an excellent addition to Schorger's info (doctoral dissertation): Investigating Turkey (Meleagris Gallopavo) Domestication in the Southwest Through Ancient DNA Analysis, Camilla Speller, Simon Fraser University, 2009:

    summit.sfu.ca/system/files/iritems1/10463/ETD4815.pdf (copy/paste into search pane).

    (use Google Chrome Browser to download this file if using IE and it belches. The file is ID'ed as `dangerous' only because the PDF is Protected).

    For comparison:
    Meleagris Gallopavo Merriami: http://www.nwtf.org/all_about_turkeys/history_merriam_wild_turkey.html
    : http://www.porterturkeys.com/narragansett.htm

    you ought to talk to someone at the UofW: http://www.uwyo.edu/vetsci/

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by