Blue Slate Heritage Turkey: A Rare Breed Worth Preserving

The Blue Slate Turkey, a stunning and unique heritage breed, is facing the threat of extinction With its striking blue-grey plumage and rich history, this bird deserves a place in our hearts and on our farms

Origins and History

The exact origins of the Blue Slate Turkey are shrouded in mystery. While some believe it originated from a cross between Black and White turkeys, genetic evidence suggests otherwise. The blue gene is a natural mutation, similar to the blue gene in Andalusian chickens. Interestingly, there are two distinct mutations responsible for the blue color, leading to variations in shade.

The Blue Slate Turkey was recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1874. It gained popularity in exhibition circles and later found favor in pastured poultry production. However, with the rise of commercial turkey breeds, the Blue Slate population dwindled.

Physical Characteristics

The Blue Slate Turkey is a medium-sized bird, with males reaching a weight of 23 pounds and females weighing around 14 pounds. Their most distinctive feature is their plumage a beautiful blue-grey color that ranges from solid to ashy. They may also have black flecks and a few white or rusty brown markings though these are considered imperfections.

Temperament and Uses

The temperament of the Blue Slate Turkey varies depending on the breeder and selection practices. Some breeders select for aggressive birds, while others prioritize docile ones. This makes it crucial to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes good temperament.

The Blue Slate Turkey is a dual-purpose breed, valued for both its meat and exhibition qualities. Their meat is known for its superior flavor and biological fitness, making them a popular choice for small-scale farmers and backyard poultry enthusiasts.

Conservation Status and Efforts

The Livestock Conservancy classifies the Blue Slate Turkey as a “Watch” breed, meaning it is at risk of extinction. Fortunately, dedicated breeders and organizations like The Livestock Conservancy are working tirelessly to preserve this unique heritage breed.

How You Can Help

There are several ways you can contribute to the conservation of the Blue Slate Turkey:

  • Purchase Blue Slate turkeys from reputable breeders. This directly supports breeders who are committed to preserving the breed.
  • Raise Blue Slate turkeys yourself. This is a great way to learn about the breed and contribute to its conservation.
  • Donate to The Livestock Conservancy or other organizations working to preserve heritage breeds. Your financial support will help fund essential conservation programs.
  • Spread awareness about the Blue Slate Turkey. Talk to your friends, family, and local farmers about this amazing breed and encourage them to support its conservation.

By taking action, we can ensure that the Blue Slate Turkey continues to grace our farms and tables for generations to come.

Additional Resources

Let’s work together to save the Blue Slate Turkey!

HFG Farm Animal Spotlight: Blue Slate Turkey


Are Blue Slate turkeys good to eat?

The Slate Turkey is very rare, some experts say it is close to extinction. Although this turkey is rare its qualities are desirable. The meat flavor is excellent and is raises a good sized carcass.

How long does it take for a Blue Slate turkey to mature?

Heritage Breed:
Weeks to Maturity:
Male Mature Weight:
23 lbs
Female Mature Weight:
14 lbs

What is the best tasting heritage turkey?

Midget Whites Midget Whites are often the number one tasting bird in Heritage and commercial breed taste tests . Toms weigh from 16 to 20 pounds and hens weight from 8 to 12. They lay early and go broody quickly.

Can Blue Slate turkeys breed naturally?

Careful selection for good health, ability to mate naturally, and production attributes will return this variety to its former stature. The Slate was accepted by the American Poultry Association in 1874. It’s been popular in exhibition circles and is gaining popularity in pastured poultry production.

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