Mention turkey to most people and you will get anecdotes of Christmas feasts, and more often than not the recollections of how many subsequent meals consisting of turkey were consumed thereafter. Ask what people think of the bird itself and quite often to will get a response revolving around “ugly looking thing that’s a bit daft.”
Granted both those points can be true of young turkeys (poults) but the same cannot be said of the adult birds. Until you have actually sat and watched a grown flock of turkeys, particularly during the spring, you can’t fully appreciate that these birds, despite their press, actually do appear to have the grace of a swan and showy nature of a peacock.
Turkeys are native to the Americasand were domesticated by the Aztecs in Mexico. They were introduced into Europe in the early part of the 16th century as a result of their discovery by the exploration of the Americas by the Spanish. The Black turkey, which eventually became known as Norfolk Black, was believed to be the first variety of turkey in Britain and a number of others have followed since.
Pure breeds of turkey, as opposed to the commercial breeds, divide into light and heavy breeds. The former will produce adults in the around 20lb in weight, the later, into which the Bronze (pictured) falls can produce adult stags (males) in excess of 40lbs.
They come in a variety of colours, from solid blacks and whites, pied, through buffs and blues to the eccentrically named crimson dawn, and whilst not as prolific a layer as a chicken, their eggs are fantastic to cook with.