Is black turkey the best breed for Thanksgiving?
Most lunatics in my town usually refer to Thanksgiving Day as a turkey day. Well, it has some truth inside but let’s leave that for another day.
There is no specific information about the breed of turkey to use during Thanksgiving. Most of us pick any breed and consume it even without knowing which breed is this.
Advancement in technology has made people be cautious and aware of what they eat in recent days. I think whoever said information is power was right.
Let’s start the chase here…
In this article, you will explore information about the history and origin of black turkeys, physical characteristics and other ridiculous facts that you have never known about them.
History and Origin of Black Turkey
These are domestic birds which originated from Europe. The turkeys are also known as black Spanish or Norfolk breeds. The breed was developed in Europe after crossbreeding the Aztec turkeys that originated from Mexico.
Spanish explorers are the people who first brought the Aztec breed of turkeys to Mexico before they become popular in Europe.
The research shows that the birds are very popular in other European nations despite the monikers of Norfolk and Spanish breeds. The love of this dazzling breed was exceptional during those days.
Experts at livestock conservancy show that the breed is also one of the oldest heritage turkeys in the United Kingdom. It has enjoyed the comfort of the Queen for a couple of decades.
The breed came into existence after conducting several tests and crossbreeding until the black predominant color came out vividly.
The black predominant color resulted in the new world of turkeys that are black in color. They started becoming popular in Spain before spreading to the United States of America and even reaching other European nations.
American poultry hobbyists have done a lot of crossbreeding with wild game turkeys with the intention of improving the quality of the breed and also fulfill their desires for turkey meat.
In 1874, the breed of turkey was accepted and admitted in the American Poultry Association as a breed suitable for meat production.
In recent days, the breed has started to become extinct and the American Livestock Conservancy has grouped them as endangered species of turkeys. This is the reason why the internet has scant information about them.
Black Turkey characteristics
The physical features of these birds include:
Size and Weight
The turkeys are general medium to large size. The dazzling appearance makes them stunning as compared to other breeds of turkey. An adult tom has an average weight of 10.5 Kg while that of the hen is 6.5 kg.
Hardy and Robust
These birds have a slow growth rate but they tend to be resistant to common poultry diseases. They have the ability to adapt to different weather climate since they are very strong and climate tolerance.
The breed of turkey is considered to have the slowest growth rate as compared to others hence not suitable for commercial purposes. They take longer to mature and be ready for meat production.
The birds have good reproduction abilities and they tend to breed naturally. They have good production attributes only if you take good care of them.
These turkeys are the most docile but they tend to become aggressive with time in case add them with other aggressive flocks in the yard. They develop behavior in order to protect themselves from being bullied.
Purpose of Turkey
The purpose of this kind of turkey farming is for producing meat for either family consumption or commercial use. The superior flavors from the meat have blown away the mind of so many families.
Alternatives of Black Turkey Breed
These are turkeys that are said to have been breed in Holland. The settlers are the people who exported the white Holland breed to the United States. These birds are very calm and great egg setters through the heaviness make them break the eggs.
The adorable turkeys have both white and black plumage. The birds are typically raised for exhibition purposes and they are not suitable for commercial meat production since they are very small in size.
Royal palm turkeys are great foragers and they can be used to control insects naturally in your homestead thus will save you from other costs of pest control.
The turkeys originated from Rhode Island and they are termed as the staple of the New England turkey. The breed has the fastest maturity rate as compared to others and they tend to be suitable for commercial meat production. Read more about the history and characteristics of Narragansett turkey.
Midget White turkeys are described as the recent breeds of turkeys in the world by many experts. They are calm in nature and suitable for raising in poults. They have the most delicious meat in the world. The flavors are memorable.
Beltsville Small White
The birds tend to be smaller in size when compared to midget white turkeys. They are prolific layers and nice table bird as compared to other heritage turkeys. Read more information about the history and physical characteristics of Beltsville small white turkey.
Health Issues and Special Needs
As mentioned earlier, the birds are very hardy and robust. They have the ability to adjust and adapt different weather climate with ease.
The breed of turkeys are rarely affected with common poultry diseases but it is recommended to vaccinate them while they are still young.
Watch out the parasites like lice or mites inside the dense plumage in order to combat them before they start spreading even to other flocks.
Getting to know about turkeys is a good idea. This shows that you are cautious of what you eat especially with the trending issue of meat poisoning. Keeping your own birds at home is the best idea since you will be able to know what you eat.
Do you keep black turkeys at home? We would love to hear more stories about them. Feel free to share the stories in the comment below and we will highly appreciate.