Bronze Turkeys, Unimproved

Historical or Heritage Bronzes

An Unimproved Bronze tom
Photo courtesy of Cathy Carlson

Text from the 1998 SPPA Turkey Census Report. Used with permission.

The Bronze name was first used in the 1830's for birds developed in Point Judith, Rhode Island. These birds were developed by crossing Narragansetts with wild turkeys in the area. From this strain, the Bronze variety was recognized and described in the first American Standard of Perfection in 1871. That is why it is often called the "Standard" Bronze vs. the Broad Breasted Bronze even though the Broad Breasted turkey is the commercial standard of today. The Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association (APA), seems to have a standard for the Broad Breasted Bronze and the Historical turkey combined, which has contributed to poor judging at poultry shows. The Standard states in parentheses under the heading "Bronze Turkeys" "(Sometimes referred to in modern commercial terminology as Broad Breasted.)" This confusion is one of the reasons I have decided to call the non-broad-breasted turkeys "Historical". The Standard's weights for adult Bronze turkeys are 36 pounds for toms and 20 pounds for hens. Today's Broad Breasted toms and hens usually weigh much more. The average weight of Bronze Historical turkeys exhibited in mid-January at the Pennsylvania Farm show between 1932-42 were: toms 34 pounds and hens 19 pounds Some work is needed with the Standard of Perfection in relation to Bronze colored turkeys to clear up the confusion between the Historical Bronze and the Broad Breasted Bronze. The colors are still the same, with the tail and tail covert feathers being a dull black with parallel lines of brown, with the end of the feather having a wide band of copperish bronze followed by a narrow black band with the feather ending with a wide white band at the tip.


Bronze Turkey links:


A pair of Wishard strain Bronzes
Photo courtesy of Phil Sponenberg of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy

Two shots of a Kardosh strain tom
Photos courtesy of Diane Larson

An Unimproved Bronze hen
Photo courtesy of Megan Bowden

See! Unlike the Broad-breasted birds, the Unimproved Bronze can still mate naturally
Photo courtesy of Howard Kogan

An Unimproved Bronze tom from the UK
Photo courtesy of Rupert Stephenson


Kardosh strain poults, one week old
Photo courtesy of Diane Larson


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