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Black Spanish Turkey
Country of Origin: Europe
Primary Use: Meat
Bird Size: 14-23 Lbs
Egg Production: seasonal layers (Spring-Summer)
Egg Color: pale cream to medium brown with spotting
Temperament: docile, curious, friendly
ALBC Priority: Threatened
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Turkeys are seasonal layers. Eggs and poults are generally available from April to August
Looking for a rare, endangered Turkey? Check out the Black Spanish. This is a wonderful turkey that has all the traits you could ask for – calm, social, superior flavor and eye candy here on our farm.
The coloring of the Black Spanish is absolutely gorgeous. It is a lustrous, metallic black with a greenish sheen on top and a dull black under color. The poults will often have white or bronze in their feathers but molt into the colors above. Since, however, the Black has not been selected for production attributes for years, many birds may be smaller than the breed standard. 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.
The Black turkey originated in Europe as a direct descendant of the Mexican turkeys carried home with explorers in the 1500s. Black colored turkeys became popular in Spain where they were known as “Black Spanish”, and in England, especially in the Norfolk region where they were known as “Norfolk Blacks.” After being selected for meat production for more than two centuries, the Black Spanish turkey made the voyage back to the Americas with early European colonists. Once here, the variety was crossed with Eastern wild turkeys, which formed the basis for the Black turkey variety in America. This Black variety was commercially viable through the early part of the 20th century though not as popular as Bronze, White Holland, Narragansett, and Bourbon Red varieties. Some past information states that Blacks were bred in large numbers along the East Coast including Maryland and Virginia, their popularity enhanced by selection for a calm disposition, rapid growth, and early maturation. The black was recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1874.
The Black turkey is in need, this is a “threatened” breed on the Livestock Conservancy list. A renewed interest in the biological fitness, survivability, and superior flavor has captured consumer interest again and is creating a growing market niche. This personable, attractive bird can recover to its early 20th century status with the help of us!
Sugar-Feather is member of the following groups:
Pre-ordered adults and hatchlings may be picked up by appointment. To safeguard our birds from exposure to disease brought in by visitors, in accordance with the provisions of the National Poultry Improvement Plan, areas where birds are kept are off limits. However you are welcome to look at all the breeds and interactions, it is a site to see.