Heritage turkey breeds are carefully selected, reared and nurtured by farmers who understand the importance of heritage turkeys to our food supply. These birds are raised on small family farms that adhere to strict animal welfare standards.
The following breeds are listed in alphabetical order:
Beltsville Small White Turkey – This breed was developed in the 1960s at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. It is a cross of several heritage breeds including Narragansett, Bourbon Red, Slate and Jersey Buff. It’s a broad-breasted variety that weighs up to 25 pounds and has white feathers with black bars on its tail and wing tips. The Beltsville Small White Turkey is known for its excellent meat quality but only became available commercially in 2003 when it was introduced by Boarman Poultry Farm in Virginia.
Beltsville Bronze Turkey – This breed was developed at the same time as the Beltsville Small White Turkey at USDA’s Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland but is not as common as its white counterpart. Its average weight is 20 pounds but can go up to 25 pounds; it has a bronze coloration with black penciling around
Heritage breeds are turkeys that have been raised naturally and have not been genetically modified. These turkeys have a higher fat content, which makes them more flavorful than commercial turkeys. Heritage breeds of turkeys include the Bourbon Red, Narragansett, Slate, Standard Bronze and White Holland.
Heritage Breeds Of Turkeys
Bourbon Red Turkey
Bourbon Red turkeys are known for their excellent flavor and tenderness. They are not as large as commercial birds but they produce a high quality meat with very little breast meat (breast meat accounts for less than 1% of the total weight of this turkey). The Bourbon Red has a dark red color with white feathers on its chest and back. These birds were originally bred in Kentucky by Thomas Jefferson in 1789. This breed was developed from crosses between wild turkeys and domestic turkeys in the 17th century when European settlers came to America. They were later crossed with other breeds to improve their appearance and growth rate.
Heritage breeds of turkeys are the old-fashioned breeds that were common before commercial meat production became the norm. Heritage breeds are generally slower growing than modern breeds and may have different coloration and be better suited to specific climates than others.
Heritage turkeys are also known as heirloom turkeys, commercialized turkeys were introduced in the 1920s and they were bred to grow faster and produce more meat per bird than heritage breeds. Heritage turkey farms promote sustainable farming practices and support small family businesses.
The following list includes some of the most popular heritage turkey breeds:
Bronze/White Holland: This is an old breed from Holland that was first introduced into North America in 1893. It has a large breast, which makes it popular among chefs for roasting whole birds with stuffing. They have white feathers with bronze highlights on their heads and necks and black or red wattles on their heads. They weigh between 15-20 pounds and mature slowly (about 18 weeks).
The following is a list of heritage breeds of turkey.
White Holland Turkeys – One of the oldest breeds, dating back to the 15th century. They are a large breed with white feathers, black legs and feet, and bronze-colored beaks. The hens have brown heads and the toms are entirely white. They have a calm temperament and lay large eggs that are ideal for hatching chicks.
Royal Palm Turkeys – A medium-sized bird that is distinguished by its greenish-black body coloration, pinkish legs and feet, and red wattles on the head. It was developed in the United States in the 1860s by crossing Bronze turkeys with Black Spanish turkeys (using birds brought over from Spain). Royal Palm turkeys were once considered an endangered species until they were bred with other types of turkeys to produce meatier birds. However, today these birds are again being used as breeding stock because they produce delicious meat with less fat than most commercial breeds
Heritage turkeys are a breed of turkey that were developed in North America. They have been selectively bred for many generations, and are not “wild turkeys” or “domestic turkeys”. They differ from commercial varieties in their appearance, size and flavor.
There are several different breeds of heritage turkeys. Some of these include:
Beltsville Small White
Broad Breasted Bronze
Broad Breasted White
Heritage Bronze (also called Narragansett)