If you are thinking about getting a turkey or two to keep either on a small holding or in a large back garden in the country, there are quite a few breeds you may like to consider. One thing about these large birds is that they are pretty easy maintenance although they still need to be cared for, wormed and fed a correct, well-balanced diet for them to remain healthy.
Turkeys also make superb guard dogs and will soon let you know if there is anyone about. They are also fantastic at letting you know if there are any predators like foxes close by which is particularly useful if you keep chickens or ducks in your garden too. One of the most popular breeds is the Bronze turkey which is a pretty impressive looking. They get their name from the wonderful sheen they have on their feathers.
However, there are other breeds which are just as magnificent which includes the following:
This gorgeous bird has always been bred as an ornamental turkey and they boast a very unique look being predominantly white in colour with striking black metallic bands in their plumage. Although, these turkeys are mainly kept as show birds, they are a great choice to have on small holdings or in large back gardens if you live in a rural area of the country. They are quite large and can weigh anything up to 10 kg.
This is one of the smallest and the rarest breeds of turkey on the planet. These lovely birds although small in stature boast glorious white plumage. However, they are one of the rarest breeds and are on the “critical” list. You have the choice of buying fertile Midget White Turkey eggs and hatching them yourself or you can find breeders in the UK who will sell you either young or fully grown birds.
If you do choose to hatch the eggs yourself, you would need to invest in all the equipment needed which includes an incubator and heat lamps. You would also need to set up a nursery for the chicks when they hatch out making sure they are kept safe and warm. It may sound easy, but in truth hatching out any eggs can prove quite challenging even turkeys!
Another small breed, the Beltsville Small White boasts lovely white plumage. These great looking turkeys originate from a region of America called Beltsville which is in Maryland. They do look very much like the Midget White but are a definite breed all of its own.
Again you can buy fertile eggs on the internet or from a breeder here in the UK, but it is far easier to buy young birds that have already hatched out and then bring them on yourself than it is to hatch them out which can not only prove challenging but expensive too.
The Red Bourbon is a large and very beautiful breed with its glorious red tinged plumage. They were originally bred in Kentucky and Pennsylvania in the USA and can weigh in at anything up to 15kg putting them among the larger breeds of turkey you can find.
If you have a large back garden or area you can keep your birds, the Red Bourbon could be the perfect choice, but if you don't have a lot of outdoor space, you may find they are a little too big and you would do better to opt for the smaller breeds like the Beltsville or the Midget White.
This is another large breed which is also known as the Norfolk Black although occasionally these nice looking birds are also called Black Spanish turkeys too. They were originally bred in Europe even though they have the prefix of Norfolk in their name which can be a little confusing.
As previously mentioned, these are very large and impressive looking birds that boast a wonderful glistening black plumage. As with other breeds, the males which are called “stags” tend to be a lot bigger than their female counterparts (hens). You would need to have enough space in a garden or small holding to let them run on and a large garden shed for them to sleep in at night.
The Jersey Buff is another lovely looking turkey with their red tinged buff plumage which is almost a salmon colour. They are another rare breed that were first bred across the water in America during the forties. They are a great choice if you want to keep a trio on your land. The stags are gorgeous when they puff themselves up and strut around in full display. The hens are smaller with gentler natures than their male counterparts.
Although turkeys are large and impressive looking birds, they still need to be locked up at night in a secure shed or barn to avoid them being attacked by any predators which includes foxes. However, during the day these lovely birds like nothing better than to roam around your land. The stags make great guard dogs and will soon let you know if there are any strangers or predators about!
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