There are plenty of domestic turkey breeds to choose from, each with unique characteristics and personality traits.
Here are 15 different types of domestic turkey breeds. Enjoy learning about these unique creatures!
Table of Contents
- 1. Broad-Breasted White
- 2. Jersey Buff
- 3. Bourbon Reds Turkey
- 4. Standard Bronze Turkey
- 5. Royal Palm Turkey
- 6. White Holland Turkey
- 7. Narragansett Turkey
- 8. Midget White Turkey
- 9. Beltsville Small White Turkey
- 10. Black Turkey
- 11. Blue Slate Turkey
- 12. Chocolate Turkey
- 13. Standard Bronze Turkey
- 14. Heritage Turkey Breeds
- 15. Auburn Turkey
1. Broad-Breasted White
The Broad Breasted White is the most common type of domestic turkey breed. They are all white with large breasts and can get quite big, weighing up to 30 pounds.
Broad-Breasted Bronze Turkeys are the most popular breed in America, accounting for more than 75% of all domestic turkeys raised annually.
These turkeys are bred for their large breasts, which grow so large that they often cannot walk or reach food and water.
Broad-Breasted Whites are slaughtered at a young age because they can’t produce eggs for long enough. The average lifespan of this breed is only 16 weeks.
These turkeys are typically used for commercial purposes and are not well-suited for life as a pet. Another disadvantage is that they are vulnerable to leg problems if they’re overfed or overweight, so it’s important to ensure they get plenty of exercises! A major advantage of this variety is that they produce more meat than any other kind of turkey.
2. Jersey Buff
The Jersey Buff is one of the different types of domestic Turkey breeds developed in the United States in the early 1800s.
The Jersey Buff is a dual-purpose Turkey, meaning you can use it for meat and eggs. The Jersey Buff is a large bird, with roosters weighing 8-9 pounds and hens 6-7 pounds.
The breed is known for its docile nature and friendly disposition. Jersey Buffs are good layers, producing 150-200 brown eggs annually. The breed is also known for its excellent meat quality, with dark meat that is flavorful and juicy.
The only downside to this breed is its low production, which might not be enough for commercial operations. These birds are considered very rare and difficult to find.
3. Bourbon Reds Turkey
Bourbon Reds is a large bird named for its distinctive reddish-brown plumage. They were developed in the 1800s in Bourbon County, Kentucky, and are good for meat and eggs.
The birds are hardy and adaptable and make good mothers. They lay a very small number of eggs (typically five to six per year) which are dark brown with light brown spots.
Eggs can be eaten fresh or cooked into deviled eggs or egg salad. It is an excellent dual-purpose bird with red skin that produces white meat. It is a large, heavy fowl turkey that was first bred in Texas but has since spread throughout North America, making it a popular choice among producers.
4. Standard Bronze Turkey
The Standard Bronze is the most common of the different types of domestic turkey breeds you’ll find in your grocery store around Thanksgiving. These turkeys have brown feathers with bronze tips, weigh between 15 and 30 pounds, and can live up to 10 years.
5. Royal Palm Turkey
The Royal Palm is a popular turkey breed known for its beautiful appearance. These turkeys have white feathers with black tips and are very graceful birds.
They are also excellent flyers and can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour! While the Royal Palm is the most popular type of domestic turkey, there are many other breeds to choose from.
6. White Holland Turkey
The White Holland is a popular breed of turkey among the different types of domestic turkey breeds, and it was developed in the early 1900s in the United States.
The White Holland is a large bird, with males weighing up to 30 pounds and females weighing 20 pounds. The White Holland is white with black markings on its feathers.
7. Narragansett Turkey
The Narragansett turkey was once the most popular turkey breed in the United States, and it gets its name from the Native American tribe that lived in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. The Narragansett is a large bird, with hens weighing around 15 pounds and toms around 20.
The breed has dark feathers with white tips and is known for being good foragers. The Narragansett is a good choice if you’re looking for a heritage breed.
These turkeys were originally bred to live on small farms with minimal feed to handle tough conditions. They are also well-suited for larger farm operations because they mature quickly and produce many eggs yearly.
8. Midget White Turkey
The Midget White turkey is a small bird, weighing only 6 to 8 pounds. Don’t let its size fool you, though—this turkey is full of flavor. The Midget White was developed in the 1940s and is a cross between the White Holland and the Bronze turkey.
It’s popular among homesteaders and backyard chicken keepers because it’s an excellent forager and does well in free-range conditions.
These birds also produce high-quality meat with deep, rich flavors. Another great attribute of this breed is that they are docile and calm, making them great for children who want to learn about raising turkeys.
9. Beltsville Small White Turkey
The Beltsville Small White is popular among different types of domestic turkey breeds. It was developed in the 1930s and is named after the town in Maryland, where it was first bred. This turkey is all white with a small body and breast.
It is a good choice for those who want to raise turkeys for meat, as it is a fast-growing breed. For this reason, it is also used for commercial farming.
Another advantage of this breed is that you can raise this turkey outside because it does not have dark feathers like some other breeds, which may attract bugs or parasites.
However, because the Beltsville Small White does not have dark feathers to protect against cold weather, you must closely monitor its temperature needs in colder climates.
10. Black Turkey
Black Turkey is a large bird, often considered the best-tasting of all turkey breeds. They have dark feathers and black skin, with some white on their wings.
Black Turkey is a variety of domestic turkey that gets their name from their black feathers. Black Turkey is native to North America and was first domesticated by the Native Americans.
Black Turkey is a small bird, with males weighing up to 15 pounds and females up to 10 pounds. Bronze Turkey is a variety of domestic turkey that gets their name from their bronze-colored feathers.
These turkeys are also known for being friendly and docile, making them a good choice for first-time turkey owners.
11. Blue Slate Turkey
The Blue Slate is a domestic turkey breed developed in the United States, and it is a cross between the Royal Palm and the Narragansett turkeys.
The Blue Slate is known for its blue-gray plumage, unique among domestic turkey breeds. This turkey breed is also known for its excellent meat quality and high yield.
The Blue Slate generally has black to dark brown eyes with a white beak. Their shanks are very light pink to pinkish-brown or even yellow.
Their skin color ranges from light yellow to light brown with dark red to dark brown pinfeathers on their backs and necks.
12. Chocolate Turkey
The Chocolate turkey is a rare variety first domesticated in the 1970s. They get their name from their brownish-red feathers, which have a chocolate hue. While they are smaller than most other turkeys, they are known for being very flavorful.
Chocolate turkeys are heritage breeds that are not commonly found in supermarkets. If you’re looking to buy it, you’ll likely have to order it from a specialty farm. Williamsburg took on an ambitious project: raising and harvesting 16 chocolate turkeys as part of a fundraiser.
The residents raised money through bake sales and ticket sales. Eventually, they raised $5,000 to purchase sixteen organic heirloom birds bred by Frank Reese Jr., owner of Free Will Farms near Sonoma, California.
13. Standard Bronze Turkey
The Standard Bronze is the most common type of turkey you’ll find in most grocery stores. They’re named for their brown feathers, which have a metallic sheen. These turkeys can weigh up to 40 pounds and live for 10 years.
In contrast, Broad-Breasted Whites are bred to grow quickly and be slaughtered at about 16 weeks old. They usually reach around 25 pounds by the time they’re killed but may be as large as 50 pounds!
14. Heritage Turkey Breeds
Heritage turkeys are the closest you can get to a wild turkey among the different types of domestic turkey breeds, and they are typically leaner and have more dark meat than the broad-breasted varieties.
The most popular heritage breed is the Bourbon Red, known for its red plumage and excellent flavor. Other popular heritage breeds include the Narragansett, Slate, Blue Slate, and Black.
Not all heritage turkeys are naturally lean; the Otoe is an exception with its high-fat content, making it great for frying.
Heritage breeds generally take longer to mature than broad-breasted types because they grow slower and do not put on as much weight as quickly. Though this does result in more flavorful birds, it also means that their feed conversion rates are lower.
Turkeys with heritage breeds take much longer to mature than commercial strains, and some varieties might not even start producing eggs until after two or three years of living on your farm! Heritage breeds also come in some very interesting colors like chocolate and blue. You should try one out if you haven’t yet!
15. Auburn Turkey
The Auburn turkey is a rare breed among the different types of domestic turkey breeds developed in the early 1900s.
Its reddish-brown feathers and white breast characterize it. This bird is known for being calm and docile, making it a good choice for those new to raising turkeys.
Auburn turkeys typically weigh 15 to 20 pounds. They’re unsuitable for meat production because they don’t grow very quickly.
If you plan on eating them, wait until they’re about 8 months old before slaughtering them. In some areas, this breed is endangered due to crossbreeding.
There are a variety of reasons why people might want to raise turkeys. Some people enjoy the challenge, while others want to say they raised their turkey.
Selecting the right breed is important. The following is a list of 15 different types of domestic turkey breeds, with a brief description.