Welcome to the Heritage Turkeys Website, a National Collection of Traditional Varieties of Turkey
At Heritage Turkeys we keep all the UK-recognised varieties of heritage turkey and these are Blue, British White, Bourbon Red, Bronze, Buff, Harvey Spotted, Narragansett, Norfolk Black, Crollwitzer/Pied, and Slate.
It is sad to confirm that all the heritage varieties of turkey in the UK are on the Rare Breed Survival Trust Watchlist. We are the first location where all heritage varieties of turkey could be found alongside each other, but more importantly, with all breeding.
Given the extremely low numbers of some varieties, there is a very real danger that they could be lost forever, but at Heritage Turkeys we are doing all we can to halt the decline. We believe the most effective way to retain and sustain the traditional varieties of turkey is through careful management of core breeding stock with surplus birds sold on to an ever-growing band of traditional turkey enthusiasts.
This website is intended to highlight the diverse varieties of turkey available, identify why it is important to retain traditional varieties, inform potential keepers on how best to maintain a healthy and happy flock, and entertain you with regular updates of our turkey’s antics.
If you have any questions about Heritage Turkeys, would like to know more about the availability of varieties we raise, or just want to ask a turkey-related question, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We started keeping turkeys because our Christmas dinner was so disappointing one year, and the experience certainly didn’t reflect the cost. So, with a spare piece of land and having been a butcher in my youth we decided to rear our own turkeys for the Christmas table.
However, finding the sort of turkeys our grandparents reared and enjoyed was not as easy as we thought. Eventually we found a few people keeping the types of turkeys we wanted, and we managed to obtain a trio of bronze from a delightful lady in Wales. Our new flock was from ‘old stock’ with a single breast, a long keel, and slow to mature. But above all, and as we found out later that year, they had that essential quality we were looking for…….flavour.
Our own search had identified that traditional varieties of turkey with a good provenance were difficult to obtain, and in fact it seemed that many of were actually at risk of disappearing. Subsequently we decided to utilise one of our fields and gather together a number of traditional varieties of turkey and make them more easily available to other likeminded people.
So ‘Heritage Turkeys’ was created.
We believe the most effective way to retain and sustain the traditional varieties of turkey is through careful management and breeding of core stock. Our breeding work results in a surplus of birds each year and these are sold on to an ever growing band of turkey enthusiasts. We sell quite a few pairs or trios each year to people who want them as garden pets, or to farm parks and visitor attractions where they fit in very well because of their inquisitive friendly nature.
Importantly we regularly sell to smallholders wanting to rear a few traditional varieties for themselves or friends at Christmas, and we are getting repeat sales which are very encouraging. However, we make no apologies that a proportion of our birds are sold on to be reared for the table, as we firmly believe that it is only by encouraging others to enjoy the culinary delights of traditional turkeys that their future will become secure.
It has been an interesting journey but we are delighted that more people are becoming interested in these delightful birds.
But be warned, although your initial interest may in rearing a bird for the table, when turkeys are raised in small groups they can become very friendly, and many end their days as a cherished family pet.
If you have any questions about Heritage Turkeys, would like to know more about the availability of varieties we raise, or just want to ask a turkey related question, do not hesitate to contact us.
Please go to our contact page and submit your questions and we will respond as promptly as we can.