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Blue Slate Turkey Breed Profile

The Slate or Blue Slate turkey is a breed of domestic turkey known for the slate gray color of its plumage, the lighter-colored birds are sometimes called lavender turkeys. Slate-type turkeys can indeed be any number of shades between pure black and white, however, only ash-gray birds are eligible to be displayed under the directive of the American Poultry Association, which they admitted as a variety in 1874.

Slate turkeys are listed as critically endangered by the American Livestock Cried Breeds Conservancy, and meet the definition of an inherited breed of turkey.

The Slate or Ardesia turkey is a breed of domestic turkey from the United States. It is also known as blue slate turkey and lavender turkey and is popular for the slate gray color of its plumage. The exact place of origin of this breed is unknown and there is speculation about how it developed. There are theories that it is a cross between a black specimen and an oriental wild turkey. Another theory is that the breed developed from a cross between a black turkey and a white turkey (although this has not been proven due to little genetic evidence).

blue slate turkey

The slate turkey was recognized as a breed by the American Poultry Association (APA) in 1874, today it is classified as critically endangered by The Livestock Conservancy, and meets the definition of an inherited breed of turkey.

Blue Slate Turkey Characteristics

Slate turkeys are medium to large-sized birds with a very beautiful appearance, they can actually be any number of shades between pure black and white, but only ash gray birds are eligible to be displayed under the Standard of Perfection directive of the American Poultry Association.

These birds are named primarily for their coloration. And in most cases, its color is solid to ash blue over the entire body, with or without a few black spots. The head, whiskers, and throat of the Slate turkey are red to bluish-white, they also have a horn-colored bill. Their eyes are brown, and their beard area is black, and their legs and fingers are generally pink. The live average body weight of the mature Slate turkey is between 6.3 and 10.5 kilograms.

Breed Classification

Although most early texts state that the slate turkey originated from a cross between the black turkey and a white turkey, there is little genetic evidence to support such a conclusion. The gene for the slate turkey is a legitimate mutation that arose just like the blue gene in the Andalusian chicken, it is the result of an unregistered mutation.

An added element of confusion in the definition of variety is that there are actually two different genetic mutations (one dominant and one recessive) that produce the color of the Ardesia or slate turkey, and these produce slightly different hues. Rusty brown and white markings may be present but are considered a defect.

The Slate or Blue Slate variety gets its name from its color, which goes from solid to ash blue all over the body, with or without some black spots. It is also called a blue or lavender turkey, and females are lighter in color than males.

The head, throat, and beards of meat are red to bluish-white in color in this animal. The beak is of a horn color; the eyes are brown and the legs are pink. The standard weight for a young turkey is 23 pounds and 14 pounds for a young female. However, since the shale turkey has not been selected for production attributes, including weight gain, for years, many birds may be smaller than the standard.

Careful selection for good health, the ability to mate naturally, and production attributes will restore this variety to its former stature. The slate turkey breed was accepted by the American Poultry Association in 1874. It has been popular in show circles and is gaining popularity in pastured poultry production.

The renewed interest in the fitness, survivability and superior flavor of shale turkey has captured consumer interest and created a growing niche market. The slate turkey is less well-documented and is more variable in type and color than any other variety. This makes it more difficult to breed consistently than the others. Today its production potential is unknown.

Breed Behavior

These birds are very strong and tenacious, with a submissive temperament, however, some birds can be somewhat offensive, highly dependent on selection by the breeder, today they are raised mainly for meat production, and due to the excellent flavor of their meat, they produce good size meat.

Slate turkeys are hardy birds. They are mostly docile in terms of temperament, although some birds can become aggressive as already mentioned and chickens generally lay eggs that are spotted or brown in color.

Blue Slate in the Philippines

This breed of turkey is hardly found in the Philippines. There is one breeder in Silay, Cavite but the price is gold. They ship fertilized eggs and they also have other breeds like Bourbon Red. Since the Slate turkey breed is endangered, the price is always expensive.

Questions related to Blue Slate turkey

Can you eat Blue Slate turkey?

Current Uses: Named for the striking blue slate color of their plumage, blue slate turkeys are often kept as pets and entered into poultry exhibitions. They are also raised for their meat.

How big does a Blue Slate turkey get?

The Blue Slate is a rare, Heritage breed fowl and a very old breed — recognized as a standard breed in the U.S. in 1874. These beautiful birds are medium-sized. Young toms will average 23 lbs., and young hens will average 14 lbs.

What are Blue Slate turkeys known for?

The Slate, or Blue Slate, variety is named for its color, which is solid to ashy blue over the entire body. They may also have a few black flecks. It’s also called the Blue or Lavender turkey, with hens being lighter in hue than toms. The head, throat, and wattles are red to bluish-white.

How much does a Blue Slate turkey cost?

Blue Slate turkey usually costs $149.99. The price depends on how the bird is reared. If the farmer does the free range, the cost can be higher. Pastured blue slate turkeys can cost up to $250.

Are Blue Slate turkeys rare?

The Blue Slate turkey is a rare breed of turkey of the heritage turkey and was admitted into the American Standard of Perfection in 1874. Past breeding is thought to be derived from the Spanish Black turkey of the USA and the Norfolk Black in England.

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