Midget White turkeys are not a common turkey breed. If you are thinking of getting this them, buy Midget White poults from famous hatcheries or individuals who may still have them.
Just like the Black Spanish turkey, this breed is also very rare and it is no longer common like it was some years back.
History of the Midget White turkey
The development of this charming breed was spear headed in the 1960s at the University of Massachusetts by Dr. J. Robert Smyth.
At the time, the American population had plummeted and the demand for white meat was very high. The available breeds at the time were unable to meet the demands and this pushed researchers to the limit to seal this gap.
United States required a bird that could offer both meat and eggs in addition to fast growth rate. The Midget White turkey breed was the bird researchers were able to develop. Little did they know that this turkey breed was small in size and could not offer much meat as they anticipated.
The small stature of the midget white turkey made it loose favor quickly among many farmers since it could not meet their meat demands.
It was thought that these birds no longer existed until 99 of them were recently discovered in Wisconsin.
Characteristics of Midget White turkeys
Midget white turkeys are white in color. Yes! They are white like milk or snow. Most people often mistake with the Broad breasted whites only that they are small in size.
These birds were developed after crossing the Broad breasted white with the Royal palms. These turkeys are small in size and are slightly larger than a big chicken.
Their small sized frames and light weight makes them excellent flyers and good fence jumpers. However, as they grow they became heavy and in turn cannot fly.
Even though adult Midget white turkeys are not good at flying, their small bodies will easily fit between spaces in the fence and sneak in the garden. Here they will dine on your favorite vegetables but in return eat insects, grubs and slugs that damage your crops.
They are very social and calm appreciating much if you dedicate some of your time to give them attention and feed them with treats.
These birds are mainly raised for meat. Their meat is full of flavors and somehow dark than that of other breeds. When butchered they do not offer much meat because they are not heavy.
Adult boys weigh 5.5kgs to 6kgs while girls weigh 3.5kgs to 4.5kgs.
Midget white turkeys are also good layers of pale cream colored eggs. In a year, they can lay about 80 to 90 eggs though they are seasonal layers with much of the eggs coming in spring.
Since they are good at free ranging, you can use them to control insects like grasshoppers, crickets and others that cause damage to your crops.
Wild turkeys have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. This period is very short compared to domestic turkeys that can live for 10 years or even more.
Your Midget white turkeys can live for 10 or more years depending on the quality of care you give them. Unlike chickens that are affected by laying many eggs, turkeys are not good layers and are not affected by reproductive issues.
These birds are also very hardy and have very few health issues. This tops up the reasons that make them able to live longer than other breeds.
Turkey mites and lice are the common external parasites while ring worms and round worms are the major internal threats.
Internal parasites require a qualified vet who can prescribe the right drugs that are administered to control them.
Using diatomaceous earth or any other poultry dust like sevin can help eliminate the external parasites. Lice and mites hide under the feathers where they suck blood and damage the developing feathers and skin.
The rarity of these birds is really worrying and the coming generations may never get a chance to see them. Breeding them and educating one another on the importance of having these species is very important because it is the only hope.
It is your responsibility and mine to make sure Midget white turkeys are back again. Sharing this information is caring and highly appreciated. Thank you!