Turkeys - June 2011

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Turkeys - June 2011

Postby Tim » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:09 am

So breed of the month takes a little twist this month and becomes a whole species! Turkeys...

What do you know about the breeds of standardised Turkeys? They are certainly popular in the US and Canada, but there aren't so many keepers in the UK and most of the breeds are pretty rare.
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Re: Turkeys - June 2011

Postby miks » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:31 pm

Well Tim, it seems like turkeys are not flavour of the month after all. I must say that I am rather disappointed by the lack of response. I have held back from posting until now, in the hopes that someone would post something interesting.

As you said, the standard colours are getting pretty rare, and most of the birds I see being shown or advertised are crosses, or have colour faults, but a few members of Turkey Club UK are doing some excellent work on various colours. I have managed to produce a strain of buff turkeys that has a good amount of buff pigment in the tail, as per the standard, whereas when I bought my original stock, all the buffs around had far too much white in the tail. A few of us are attempting to bring back the Crimson Dawn, (AKA black-winged bronze) with a heritage rather than broad breasted body type, as these have not been seen in circulation since the 1980's. Another project is to ensure the survival of the Nebraskan Turkey and in particular, the spotted gene that produces the pattern. This is very rare in the UK, and is actually extinct in it's native USA. The gene survives in Australia in a strain of black turkeys, but that is it, as far as I know. The recessive slate gene was thought to be extinct worldwide until the internet helped it's re-discovery recently in Australia and eastern Europe, and we hope to return examples to the UK perhaps later this year.

I know several of you must keep turkeys, but my question is, are they standard colours or random crosses? If you do not keep turkeys, why not? Is it feeding costs, difficulty finding stock, or something else that puts you off? Heritage turkeys are much better eating than broad breasted types, so why not try some and help keep them from the slippery slope to extinction?
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Re: Turkeys - June 2011

Postby Magweno » Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:40 pm

I know this could be considered bringing up posts from the past and I'm sorry if it's bad and wrong...

But Miks, what wonderful information about the species! I love my turkey poult to bits, I've been told he's a double breasted bronze turkey, and while he's still young the supplier who gave him to me said he was a stag. He's very friendly and has a huge appetite for mealworms; very careful, gentle and inquisitive, calm and collected unlike his quail/chicken peers. We originally were going to have him for Christmas but both my Mum and I have been stricken by his character and expect he'll become a pet in the truest sense of the word (unless he develops an aggressive personality)...

While I was incubating a different turkey egg (which wasn't fertile it turned out, hence the free turkey care of said supplier) my friend sent me a link to a film called "My Life as a Turkey", have you seen it? Everyone should watch it, it's a beautiful documentary about a man who hatches a clutch of wild turkey to learn their habits and essentially becomes their 'mother'. Here's a link to the BBC iPlayer page, if you have an hour to spare you won't be disappointed! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0133r58 It was wicked of her to send it to me just before this Christmas turk was due to hatch but I've heard so many stories from other people about their turkeys being such interesting characters I think a distinct lack of turkey on the table was inevitable :D
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Re: Turkeys - June 2011

Postby chrismahon » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:41 pm

I've seen the turkey documentary and they are just like big chickens really. At shows we always linger in the turkey section as we find them facinating. They do talk a lot and we would love some, but unless they lay sufficient eggs to pay for their feed they are a bit of a luxury. Can't see us eating them. The extra housing is another expense, as we can't just stick them in a spare chicken coop, or can we??
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Re: Turkeys - June 2011

Postby Tim » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:01 pm

I've been very close to getting Turkeys - but it would mean a reduction in other birds and my worry would be Blackhead as Turkeys grazing on ground frequented by chickens can be problematic... or so I've read.

I will get some Turkeys one day though.... somehow.
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