Turkeys -- Black Spanish -- Upcoming
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The Black Spanish heritage turkey breed is mainly kept for it's meat, egg laying abilities and as an exhibition bird, because of it's beautiful plumage. It does not grow as large as the Broad Breasted varieties, but is still a large bird. The toms weigh about 23-25 pounds and the hens about 15 pounds. They have beautiful black iridescent plumage, and are a gorgeous bird to raise.
Turkeys are so fun to have in the backyard, and sometimes become the favorite of the entire household. They are gorgeous, friendly and such beautiful birds, especially the males.
If you are considering adding turkeys to a mixed flock of birds, you will want to research 'blackhead disease', especially if you also have chickens. This disease can be easily transmitted to turkeys, with fatal consequences. Many people keep both in their backyard flock successfully, but you will want to make sure you are doing everything possible to minimize turkeys contracting this disease.
Before people started keeping backyard chickies, many of the breeds were almost extinct. Turkeys are still at that point. Many of the heritage breeds are in danger of going extinct. What is a heritage turkey? A heritage turkey exhibits 3 specific criteria: It can mate naturally without humans and the hens lay fertile eggs that they brood to hatch, they have a long productive lifespan (hens 5-7 years, toms 3-5 years), and a slow growth rate (about 28 weeks before fully developed).
Many chefs and people involved in the slow food movement, prize heritage turkeys for the flavor and nutritional qualities of their meat.