Bred for the dinner table
Our turkeys are ‘minis’ in the turkey world, and that’s a good thing!
The turkeys you can buy at the supermarket are usually Nicolas Large Whites or Broad Breasted Bronze - fast growing giant breeds that are bred for industrial food production but are harvested as babies for the ‘table trade’. The trouble with this is that baby giants grow large bones before they beef up, so their meat-to-bone ratio is poor. Lots of the weight you pay for is heavy bones that go to waste. Genetically smaller turkeys have better proportions when they are ‘table size‘. But most small heritage turkeys are slower growing and lack the broad breast trait.
Beltsville Small White turkeys were bred to provide the perfect compromise: fast efficient growth to a nice table size, fine bone and broad breast. They became the most popular turkeys of North America in the early 50's. But commercial growers switched to the Nicolas Large Whites when they became available, and the Beltsvilles nearly went extinct! True North attempted Conservation Breeding with Beltsvilles and discovered via DNA testing that there is not enough genetic diversity left in the survivors to bring them back to health. That is what happens when people inbreed to 'preserve' a rare breed - inbreeding actually kills it. But in our research about the Beltsvilles we discovered the Minis, a 'new' breed from Hendrix Genetics that is based on a recreation of the crosses that produced the Beltsvilles.
Small, stocky and robust, the Minis thrive in free-range conditions. At 15 weeks old the males average 21 lbs (live weight) and the females 15 lbs (dress out weights 14.7 and 10.5 respectively) with average feed conversion ratio of 2.25 - that’s better than any 12 week grown chicken! There's a growth chart in the pictures above. You can harvest sooner if you want smaller birds. They deliver a high quality, succulent taste with appealing table presentation - and no honkin’ bones hanging over the side of your plate!
Another bonus: Minis are agile adults that can breed naturally, and they breed true!