Yellow Shoulder Turkeys

Yellow-shouldered hen
Yellow-shouldered hen 2020


Our turkeys are the heritage type, not the commercial strain that can't fly or mate normally. Heritage turkeys are considered by many to have better flavour than the commercial type. The carcass has an even distribution of flavourful meat, rather than being a huge pile of dry breast meat on legs.

two stags
Yellow-shoulder stags 2020


I'm concentrating on trying to develop the 'yellow shoulder' or 'calico' pattern found on the Ronquieres turkey from Belgium that doesn't seem to have occurred widely, or at least no longer exists today, in native British turkeys. The Ronquieres turkeys are apparently relatively small so I'm aiming to produce something with a bigger carcass from stock available in Britain while preserving the heritage type. The yellow-shoulder pattern was seen historically, as this skilled painting (below) by 18th-century German artist Johann Wenzel Peter shows. Although there isn't a variety of turkeys in the UK that exhibit this coloration, the genetics to make it are available in other varieties and it is possible to deliberately produce them if you know what you're doing (or to serendipitously produce them if you don't!)

Yellow-shoulder painting
In the absence of a current breed standard, I'm using this great illustration!

Yellow shoulder
The first yellow-shoulder stag I bred. This is the same one as behind the gate in the image further up the page, but his son in the foreground has more vivid colours and shows the results of selective breeding