Buff Turkeys

or New Jersey Buff Turkeys

Two Buff toms displaying (hen on the right)
Photo courtesy of Tom Richardson

Following text with permission from
by Craig Russell
SPPA Bulletin, 1997, 2(4):5

The Buff, also called Jersey or New Jersey Buff, . . . has an obscure origin, or perhaps origins, since different strains could have been developed in different places at the same or different times. Whether or not it originated in the U.S., it certainly achieved its greatest prominence in this country. Elsewhere, with the exception of Britain, it never obtained wide popularity. This is probably due to the difficulty of producing properly colored specimens. While a properly colored Buff is beautiful, part of its early popularity was due to ease in dressing a light colored bird. With old fashioned picking methods, it produced a better looking carcass than even the whites. Some of the old time professionals felt that Buffs and the related Bourbon Reds were meatier than other standard types. The Buff is supposed to be an even buff throughout, with the exception of the flight feathers, which are allowed to be very light. In fact, they are often white.

Following text with permission from
"1998 SPPA Turkey Census Report"
by Paula Johnson

This is an old variety that seems to be known more by its connection with the history of the Bourbon Red. The Buff originated before the Bourbon Red and was accepted into the APA Standard in the 1880s. It was popular in the 1880s because the light colored feathers left a "cleaner" carcass. The Buff is supposed to have an even buff coloring all over except for white wings and a white tail with a buff band across the tail feathers. Due to the difficulty of obtaining an even buff color and the new popularity of the Bourbon Red, it was dropped from the Standard in 1915. It regained popularity in the 1940s and 50s, when it was being bred at the New Jersey Station to improve its reproductive and market qualities for a medium-small size turkey; thus the name New Jersey Buff. According to the records of the National Poultry Improvement plans of 1951-52, the Jersey Buff was the 4th [most] numerous Historical turkey at the time with 25,031 being raised across the country, but mostly in California and New Jersey. Adult toms weigh about 25 pounds and hens are 14 pounds. The survey turned up 45 hens and 17 toms which is 2% of the known Historical turkeys. There are 6 breeders, with the largest flock having 20 hens and the next largest flock with 12 hens. More breeders are needed!

A flock of Buff Turkeys
Photo courtesy of Phil Sponenberg of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy

A nice Buff tom photographed in England around 1985
Photo courtesy of Frances Bassom

A Buff Turkey hen
Photo courtesy of Don Walterick

Another shot of the Buff toms at the top of the page
Photo courtesy of Tom Richardson

Here's "Oliver," Pam's Buff tom, in full display
Photo courtesy of Pam Marshall

Buff Turkeys from the UK: A very nice tom and a hen
Photos courtesy of Rupert Stephenson

A Buff tom from Australia
Photo courtesy of S. Lim

A Jersey Buff poult
Photo courtesy of Pam Marshall

Buff Turkey poults
Photo courtesy of Chris Pavlick

A Buff Turkey poult lying down
Photo courtesy of NIcole Reggia

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