White Midget Turkeys
White Midget toms displaying
Photo courtesy of Brian Decker
Following text with permission from
"1998 SPPA Turkey Census Report"
by Paula Johnson
The White Midget was developed by Smyth at Massachusetts in the 1950s for the smaller turkey market. An adult tom weighs 18-20 pounds and hens about 10-12 pounds. Very similar to and often called Beltsville Whites (so they can be shown in poultry shows), they are a little smaller and not as broad-breasted as the Beltsville was. The White Midget has survived to this day due to the University of Wisconsin continuing their turkey program. The university usually keeps 100 hens, but this year it only has 80 hens. Dr. Bernie Wentworth, who runs the breeding program, will retire in the next few years. When this happens, the university will probably liquidate the only known flock of turkeys still left for teaching purposes, and the largest flock of White Midgets in the U.S. This very action by universities across the nation in the last 20 years (especially the last 10 years) has devastated the Historical turkey numbers. There were many types of small turkeys developed for a wide breast by the year 1950, even including small Narragansetts. However, other than the Royal Palm and some of the wilds which were not necessarily bred for meat, this is really the only small market-type variety left for conservation. A total of 119 hens (100 at U. of Wisconsin was used in the census) and 42 toms were found, which is 6% of the total or the 5th most numerous variety of Historical turkeys. If you raise White Midgets, please do not stop breeding them to raise another variety. More breeders are needed.
Brian Decker, who was developing a small breeding flock of White Midgets, let me know that at 8 months a tom weighed in at 13 pounds and a hen at 7. Very handy for a small gathering.
Midget White Links:
Midget White and Bourbon Red Turkeys are Better! A taste test
A History of the Midget White Turkey
My White Midget hen "Mint" with a standard Dorking hen for size comparison
And here's another comparative shot, this time with my Blue Jersey Giant "Yolanda"
And here's Bonnie's Midget hen with another Blue Jersey Giant
Photo © Sheane and Bonnie Meikle, Renaissance Poultry and Exotic Fowl
"Brian," my White Midget tom
A White Midget hen in the snow
Photo courtesy of Pam Marshall
White Midget poults
Photos courtesy of Mary Wolf
back to Poultry Page
Direct questions and comments to Barry at FeatherSite -- questions and comments