Turkey facts

Turkey breeds

There are three main breeds of turkey, all of which have a slightly different flavour:


White turkeyWhite turkeys generally have larger wide breasts and short stubby legs and are considered more flighty than their Bronze cousin. Some people prefer White turkeys due to the appearance of their clean-looking skin and subtle flavour.



Black turkeyThe Norfolk Black became the favoured eating bird in Britain and in the 1700s large flocks of birds were driven to London with their feet tarred and clothed to prevent damage on the long walk. Black turkey characteristics include a fuller, gamier flavour, a smaller breast than the White varieties and a fine texture.



Bronze turkeyNamed for its unusual colour, the feathers of this breed are a shimmering green-bronze, often appearing metallic in sunlight. Bronze turkeys tend to be more traditionally reared and are usually free range. Like their Black cousins, they are famed for a distinctive gamey flavour and moist meat, but also have a firm texture.


Turkey facts:

  • A young turkey is called a poult
  • A male turkey is a stag and a female is a hen
  • The domestic turkey originates in Mexico and was brought over by explorers in the 1500s
  • Domesticated turkeys can't fly, but wild turkeys can fly at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour
  • The fleshy growth on a turkey s neck is called a wattle
  • Male turkeys also have a fleshy appendage which hangs down from the nose called a snood. When a stag is feeling amorous, his wattle and snood become bright red
  • Roast turkey was the first meal eaten on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin

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    Last edited:12 February 2019 at 10:20

    Have your say

    Ian Waterman - 07/12/2017 06:15:57

    There are in fact 10 truly traditional turkeys and we hold breeding groups of all of them. All 10 varieties are on the endangered list and we are working with the Rare Breed Survival Trust to ensure this valuable resource is retained for future generations. These truly traditional varieties of turkey breed naturally, free range, are disease resistant and chemical free. These varieties are the true taste of Christmas and are very different to the commercially reared varieties. They are becoming popular with smallholders who are interested in the provenance of their food, and it is by developing these markets the the truly traditional varieties future will be secured. You can find out more about us on our website

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