Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Midget White Turkeys

Kathy,m a reader in Missouri is looking for Midget White Turkey poults to raise. A few hatcheries offer them: Meyer Hatchery in Ohio, Ideal Poultry Breeding Farms in Texas and McMurray Hatchery in Iowa have them, although in limited numbers.

Kathy is a graduate of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. She found some contacts there who have access to some Midget White Turkeys that they say are closely related to the turkeys developed by B.C. Wentworth. He was one of their developers, as recounted in the article, A History of the Midget White Turkey he wrote with J.R. Smyth on how both of them worked with the original birds in the 1970s, published in Mother Earth News in 2004.

J. R. Smyth Jr. holds a doctorate in poultry genetics and served on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass. B.C. Wentworth holds doctorates in poultry science and avian physiology and is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.

 In that 2004 article, Wentworth and Smyth say that Midget Whites now lay 60-80 eggs annually. They describes them as "a miniature of the large commercial white line, for it has a very broad breast." Kathy tells me that they nevertheless are naturally able to mate.

She promised to keep me posted as to what birds she gets and how they work out. Her experience could be helpful in getting this declining modern breed further distribution.

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