Interest in all our turkey varieties is as high as ever this year and the orders just keep coming in. This tells us that people are more aware, interested and prepared to give heritage varieties of turkey a go. As all turkey keepers know this initial interest leads to an addiction for these delightful birds, and once hooked rarely do people ever just keep to one variety.
You would think that this increased interest means the heritage varieties of turkey are now less vulnerable than they were. But sadly this just doesn’t seem to be the case.
Certainly more people than ever are interested in keeping turkeys, and that is really great. However, in our experience heritage turkeys with a traceable line and provenance that can breed true and do all that is required of them are actually becoming much harder to find.
This is because over recent years unmanaged breeding and crossbreeding between the various heritage varieties have diluted bloodlines. Sadly we are now at a point where when buying a heritage variety of turkey you cannot always be certain of exactly what you are getting.
The market is flooded with ‘lookalike’ birds that are unable to breed true, and this is a significant problem for anyone wanting to keep the heritage varieties going.
So please be cautious. If you want truly traditional varieties that breed true to type and standard then we strongly recommend that you search out an established breeder. Look at their turkeys, talk to them, and ask questions, lots of questions.
Do remember there is still a considerable amount of work to be done before all the recognised heritage varieties of turkey have a sufficient and viable core flock for them to be considered ‘safe’.
But be assured there are experienced turkey breeders out there with excellent turkeys that have the correct provenance. So before you dip your hand in your pocket do your research and talk, talk, talk to turkey breeders.
The turkeys you purchase and what you do with them could make a big difference in keeping these delightful but endangered heritage varieties going.
The turkey you purchase really can make a difference..