The Slate is occasionally used as a commercial bird in niche markets but is highly sought after as an exhibition bird. It is however considered critically rare worldwide.
- The Slate turkey is named after its colouration of a solid or ashy blue over the entire body with a few black flecks occurring on some feathers.
- Little is know of the origin of the Slate turkeys but one theory is that is a cross between the Norfolk Black and the White Holland.
- Breeding true in the nineteenth century in America, during the turn and early part of the twentieth century the Slate turkey was very popular in England at the big London shows.
- The plumage of both sexes is similar, being ashy blue with random black flecks.
- The eyes are very dark brown, the beak horn coloured and the legs and toes are a deep pink in young birds but pale with age.
- A mature male weighs up to 13.6kgs (30 lbs) and a mature female 5.4kgs (12lbs).
- The head, neck and back of day-old poults are a yellowish white with a definite tinge of blue.
Did you know?
Another that different genetic factors have been responsible for a dilution of Bronze and Black colour patterns. There are two different genetic mutations in this variety, one dominant and one recessive. Both produce the slate colouring but slightly different shades.
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust is the leading national charity working to conserve and protect the United Kingdom's rare native breeds of farm animals from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants and donations from the public to raise the £700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare UK native breeds of farm animals. Visit www.rbst.org.uk to see how you can help.