Narrangansett Turkeys Certainly Put on a Big Show for the Ladies

Posted by Christy Caplan
Turkey

Narragansett turkeys are known for putting on a big show for the ladies. These turkeys are very large with a beautiful appearance. If I was planning to add turkeys to my flock of backyard birds I'd add this breed over all others.

Roys Farm tells us the Narragansett turkey became the foundation of the turkey industry in New England and was especially important in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

"The breed was also popular in the Mid-Atlantic States and the Midwest. And it was recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1874."

Their plumage is black, tan, gray and white feathers. This turkey is mainly raised for meat production yet some people also raise them for ornamental purposes or as a hobby. I'd be in the "hobby" category!

Origin

Backyard Poultry explains that this is a heritage turkey breed known for its egg production and excellent meat quality.

"Named after Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, developed in the 1700s from crosses of domestic turkeys brought from Europe and Eastern wild turkeys. Recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1874."

Temperament

They are prized for their excellent temperament combining a calm disposition with very good maternal abilities. These turkeys can run quickly and fly well. They also prefer to roost in trees. 

They are excellent foragers that typically search for insects, crickets and grasshoppers. 

Breed profile

These are large birds! Some of my chickens don't weigh more than 7 pounds! An adult tom is around 33 pounds, and adult hens are 18 pounds. 

  • Coloring: Colored somewhat like a Bronze turkey, but where the Bronze has a coppery coloring, the Narragansett has a steely gray coloring.
  • Head: Red, changeable to bluish-white
  • Beak: Horn
  • Eyes: Brown
  • Throat-Wattle: Red, changeable to bluish-white
  • Neck: Upper part, black, each feather ending in a broad, steel-gray band; the lower part, black, each feather ending in a broad, steel-gray band, edged with black, the edging of the black increasing as the body is approached.
  • Beard: Black

Eggs!

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So begins the turkey exodus. Our four oldest turkeys went to the butcher this morning. . They spent a dark and stormy night in the back of the truck parked in the barn - it’s easiest to catch poultry at night when they’re most docile and they need to be off feed 18+ hours before butchering so the boys caught them last night and stashed them in this great little pen our friends @yellowhousecheese let us borrow that fits right in the back of the truck. Plenty of room to move around and warm and dry - living their best life right to the last. . We first got turkeys hoping to raise a flock of them every year. Our Tom performed like a rockstar. Our hens were pretty good layers but not great mothers. After a rough go earlier this spring (in the which only 3 survived 😳), we hatched two more rounds in the incubator. . Those young turkeys are pasture-raised and growing great and will be ready as fresh turkeys for the table a couple days before Thanksgiving and Christmas (call or stop by the farm to reserve yours now!) . But (for many reasons), we’ve decided not to continue raising turkeys and so these guys, who are fully mature and as big as they’re going to get, go to the butcher today. . Pasture-raised, herded by children, grown in sunshine, and hearty as can be, these turkeys - like all our animals - were well-loved, had lots of room to roam and act like themselves, ate the very best of things, and lived a great life. . Turkeys, we salute you. . #homegrown #heritageturkeys #circleoflife #countrylife #butcheringday #turkeyfarming #raisingturkeys #narrangansettturkey #pastureraisedpoultry #grassfed #farmlife #wereofftoseethebutcher

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Their eggs are beautiful. They're known to be quite large and pale cream to medium brown with spots.

There are a ton of fun facts about this turkey breed that the Livestock Conservancy shares including that Narragansett turkeys have traditionally been known for their calm disposition, good maternal abilities, early maturation, egg production and excellent meat quality.

This sounds like a turkey breed all backyard poultry keepers should consider and the eggs are stunning!

Do you agree that all these turkeys are beautiful? Let us know in the comments below. 

WATCH NOW: How to Have the Best Tasting Eggs from Your Backyard Chickens

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Narrangansett Turkeys Certainly Put on a Big Show for the Ladies