Narragansett turkeys have traditionally been known for their calm disposition, good maternal instincts, early maturing and good egg production. As well as a meat bird it is an exhibition bird and was recognised by the American Poultry Association in 1874. The Narragansett is also included in the British Poultry Standards.
- The Narragansett turkey was named after Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island from where it originates.
- It is believed that it was founded through Norfolk Black turkeys being taken to America by English and European colonists beginning in the 1600s and breeding with the Eastern Wild turkey.
- An anonymous account in The Poultry World of December 1872 states that it was not uncommon to find flocks of one to two hundred Narragansett turkeys being produced from a small breeding flock but since the 1900s the variety has declined in numbers in favour of the standard and Broad-breasted Bronze.
- The neck plumage is steel grey edged in black and the back is a metallic black with each feather ending with a grey band going to white, the pale band getting wider towards the tail.
- The primaries and secondaries are barred black and white and the tail is black, pencilled with tan and ending in a broad band of metallic black and edged with steel grey going to white.
- The beak is horn coloured and the eyes are brown. Legs and feet are dark, approaching salmon in young birds and a deep salmon in mature birds.
- A mature male weighs up to 14.9kgs (33lbs) and a mature hen 10.4kgs (23lbs).
Did you know?
Although the breasts of Narragansett poults are paler than in the Bronze it is very difficult to segregate the two varieties accurately until they are around 6 weeks old.
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