The Narragansett turkey is named for the sandy Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, where the variety was developed. It descends from the domestic turkeys – possibly Norfolk Blacks – brought to America by English and European colonists beginning in the 1600’s. Improved and standardized for production qualities, the Narragansett became the foundation of the turkey industry in New England. Though it was valued across the country, it was especially important in Rhode Island and Connecticut. The American Poultry Association recognized the Narragansett in 1874.
Check out the Narragansett Turkey, a heritage turkey rich in tradition and just an all American breed. Narragansett’s are a heritage breed of turkey so they can reproduce. We find turkeys to be hardy birds and often will be roosting out in 5 degree temperatures. They are social birds, when we are out in the farm yard they are right there following us around. Been here for a farm visit? You have seen our toms showing off and being social, always so curious.
Heritage turkeys prefer to be free ranged and roost as high up as possible. They don’t bare confinement well due to their large size and nature unless adequate space is provided. Remember these turkeys can fly. The hens tend to wander and toms stay close to the food, so always check before dark for their location and we recommend they return to their coops at night. They are alert and gaggle whenever they sense danger or anyone coming to the farm.
The Narragansett color pattern contains black, gray, tan, and white. Hens weigh generally around 14 pounds and toms 23 pounds. Since, the Narragansett has not been selected for mass production, weights may be smaller than the standard. In our breeding program we strive for the standard weights. We have been told around 12 weeks is average for processing a turkey for market. Narragansett turkeys have traditionally been known for their calm disposition, good maternal abilities, early maturation, egg production, and excellent meat quality.
Everything you could ask for in a turkey! The Narragansett turkey would make a useful and beautiful addition to anyone’s farm or homestead. The rich American history of this turkey is fascinating and what draws us to them. Turkeys are seasonal layers and only lay in the Spring and Summer months and sometimes into the fall. All our turkeys are Non-GMO.
Feed Recommendations: turkeys are considered a gamebird and need higher protein when developing. We recommend Sugar Feather Farm gamebird starter, when they are poults, Sugar Feather Farm gamebird grower when they are growing, and when the hit maturation you can switch to our adult feed. If you are raising strictly for meat production and pasture a different feed regimen will apply. You can reach out for recommendations on that program.
We also highly recommend purchasing the oil of oregano – it can help prevent blackhead disease in turkeys!
The Narragansett turkey is named for Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, where the variety was developed. It descends from turkeys and the domestic turkeys (maybe the Norfolk Blacks) brought to America by English and European colonists beginning in the 1600’s. Improved and standardized for production qualities, the Narragansett became the foundation of the turkey industry in New England. Though it was valued across the country, it was especially important in Rhode Island and Connecticut. The American Poultry Association recognized the Narragansett in 1874.
According to an 1872 account, it was not uncommon to find flocks of one to two hundred birds, the product of a breeder flock of a dozen hens. Little supplemental feed was given to the turkeys; instead they ranged for grasshoppers, crickets, and other insects. Farmers raising the turkeys were aware of the benefits of genetic selection and raised young toms that weighed between 22-28 pounds and hens that were 12-16 pounds.
While the Narragansett was never as popular as the Bronze variety, it was widely known in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic States as well as in New England. Interest in the Narragansett began to decline in the early 1900s as popularity of the Standard Bronze grew and industrial farming practices. The Narragansett was not used for commercial production for decades until the early 21st century, when renewed interest in the biological fitness, survivability, and superior flavor captured consumer interest and created a growing market niche. We bring you this useful and important breed. Please help preserve their heritage.
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