Home Page About Farm History Our Vision Poultry page Contact Us Visit Our Wiki Page

Tacketts Mill Farm

Our Turkeys.


Standard Bronze

Black Spanish


Turkeys are native to the Americas.  Explorers brought turkeys back to Europe where they were bred selectively for hundreds of years.  Settlers in the Americas brought turkeys back with them as livestock.  Those European turkey breeds interbred with American wild turkeys and were selectively bred by American farmers.  In recent history turkey production has changed from small holdings of recognized breeds by individual farmers to large, factory-like turkey production facilities that hardly resemble anything like the farm we think of.  In recent years turkeys have been bred and selected for the characteristics of large breast meat size and fast growth.  Along the way the production breeds have become genetic aberrations incapable of breeding naturally.  They are fed supplements and steroids. They grow so quickly that their bones do not develop properly.  They must be slaughtered before a year old or become lame.  Turkeys you buy in the grocery store are overwhelmingly these production breeds.  These turkeys cannot survive without human management and even with it they cannot live normal lives.  They are simply meat machines.  Wild turkey populations in the continental US were hunted and driven by population expansion until, in the 1930s, significant wild turkey populations only existed in the most remote parts of the continent.  The National Wild Turkey Federation estimates that Eastern Wild Turkey populations in America (one of six sub-species of wild turkeys) have grown from half a million turkeys in a few significant areas to well over five million.  Of course, those five-plus million are all descended from the original half million.  This is the reason preserving heritage breeds of turkeys is so important.  If we allow the old breeds to decline and disappear from the American farm we place ourselves in a world were only production breeds and wild turkeys will survive.  It leaves us with a terribly small genetic pool from which to draw.  The most effective way to support small farmers and their heritage turkey populations is to re-introduce the heritage turkey to the dinner tables of America.  As a source of food for those wishing to be self sufficient, heritage turkeys are a proven performer.  Here at Tacketts Mill Farm our turkeys are raised humanely.