Hillview Exotics

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Turkeys

Black

The Black turkey originated in Europe as a direct descendant of the Mexican turkeys. Black colored turkeys became popular in Spain where they were known as “Black Spanish. Their popularity is greatly enhanced by their calm disposition, rapid growth, and early maturation.

The plumage of this variety is a lustrous, metallic black with a greenish sheen on top and a dull black undercolor. It is undesirable to have a brownish or bronze cast or any white. While generally known as the Black turkey, the terms “Norfolk Black” and “Black Spanish” are also used in the United States when referring to this variety, though in the end all these terms refer to the same Black variety.

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Bourbon Red

The Bourbon Red turkey originated from and is named for Bourbon County in Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region. It is a cross between Buff, Bronze, and White Holland turkeys.

Bourbon Red turkeys are handsome. They have brownish to dark red plumage with white flight and tail feathers. Tail feathers have soft red bars crossing them near the end. Body feathers on the toms may be edged in black. Neck and breast feathers are chestnut mahogany, and the undercolor feathers are light buff to almost white. They are active foragers, and would probably do well in a pasture production system, either as purebreds or when crossed with white turkeys.

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Broad Breasted White

Broad Breasted White are large white birds referred to as Broad-breasted Whites in commercial terminology. The Hollands have blue eyes.

Like the Broad-breasted Bronze turkeys, the Broad-breasted Whites are usually unable to mate naturally, requiring artificial insemination. The true White Hollands can reproduce without our help! The Broad Breasted White is commercially the most widely-used breed of domesticated turkey. Average birds are typically 38-40lbs.

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Bronze

The Bronze has been the most popular turkey variety for most of American history. It originated from crosses between the domestic turkeys and the eastern wild turkeys. This resulted in turkey stocks that were larger and more vigorous, and were also much tamer than wild turkeys. The coppery-bronze colored metallic sheen, which gives the variety its name, was part of the inheritance from its wild ancestors.

Naturally mating, long-lived, slow growing strains of Bronze turkeys, known as the Standard Bronze, have been left even further behind by the turkey industry. A few tenacious breeders maintained small flocks, participating in poultry shows, and raising a few for family and friends. The Bronze variety is stately and imposing in appearance.

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Royal Palm

The Royal Palm is a strikingly attractive and small-sized turkey variety.. Royal Palm turkeys are white with a sharply contrasting, metallic black edging on the feathers. The saddle is black, which provides a sharp contrast against the white base color of body plumage. The tail is pure white, with each feather having a band of black and an edge of white. The coverts are white with a band of black, and the wings are white with a narrow edge of black across each feather. The breast is white with the exposed portion of each feather ending in a band of black to form a contrast of black and white similar to the scales of a fish.

Royal Palms are active, thrifty turkeys, excellent foragers, and good flyers. The Royal Palm has a role to play on small farms, for home production of meat or where its ability to control insect pests would be of value.

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Slate

The slate gene is a legitimate mutation that arose as an unrecorded mutation. One added element of confusion in defining the variety is that there are actually two different genetic mutations (one dominant and one recessive) that produce the blue slate color, and these produce slightly different shades. White and rusty brown markings my be present but are considered a defect.

The Slate or Blue Slate variety is named for its color, which is solid to ashy blue over the entire body, with or without a few black flecks. It is also called the Blue or Lavender turkey. The Slate is less well documented and more variable in type and color than any other variety. This makes it more challenging to breed consistently than the others.

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