Midget White Turkeys

A Rare Heritage Breed

Breed Standard

Your Source for Everything Needed To Breed And Raise Midget Whites

 

 

 

STANDARD

I have searched far and wide to find a written standard on this bird but found none.  The only restrictions I found referred to weight.  The conformation is to be that of the broad breasted white except the size should not exceed 10 pounds for a hen and 20 for a tom.  I tried to find a written standard for the broad breasted white but had no luck there either.  It is written in a book published every 10 years by the poultry association and it is copyrighted so I couldn't posted it if I had it.  But, if we keep in mind basic poultry conformation for a meat bird, you'll come very close.       

SELECTING BREEDERS

 The ALBC has wonderful resources free of charge on their web site http://www.albc-usa.org/downloads.html

They have provided much more information than I could ever provide on this site.  I found it to be a wealth of knowledge about raising turkeys in general so Iíll limit my discussion to Midget Whites in particular.  You'll find more on the "raising" page regarding selecting the breeders.  

Each particular breed serves a purpose and those unique qualities are what make us want to raise them.  The Midget White is unique for two particular reasons and those reasons should be taken into consideration when we are selecting the genes to carry forward to the future generations.  They were created as a great tasting small table bird but also as a layer. 

 FOR SERIOUS MINDED BREEDERS

You may want a few midget whites to add to your collection of turkeys or you may just be a hobby breeder.  If so, you'll love this breed.  In order to save the breed along with its unique traits, we also need some serious breeders too.  By serious I mean breeders who are willing to keep records on their birds, tag or identify their birds and eggs, and make breeding decisions based on this information.  Up until now, I have been a hobby breeder but starting in the 2014 breeding season, I intend to begin testing my hens and making selections based on those results.  I'll post my results here as the year goes on.  

When we keep our flock together and gather the eggs, we really donít know which hen laid the egg.  In order to select the hens with the most laying potential, we really need to have a small pen for each hen and keep records of each henís production.  In order to continue the evaluation of each hen, you can mark her egg with her number using a sharpie.  That way you can see how well her eggs hatch.  If an above average number of them die in the shell as compared to other hens then maybe she needs to be culled. 

 That can present a few problems but nothing that canít be overcome.  If you have a large flock, itís unlikely youíll have a separate pen for each hen but that doesnít mean you canít do a sample.  If you can come up with 3 pens, then randomly select 3 hens from your current breeders.  Call these hens 1,2, & 3 or A,B, & C.  Collect and mark their eggs each day and record the results on your calendar.  If at the end of the season they are fairly close in number then you have a pretty homogenous group of hens and can calculate your average laying capacity.  If however, you get a wide variance, you may want to do more extensive testing so you can cull the poor layers.  As with any experiment, youíll need to keep everything else identical such as the feed, water, shade, etc. 

 The most obvious challenge to this test is, what about the tom?  If you donít have a tom for every hen or better yet, you want to use the same tom on your test hens in order to limit the variation to the hens only, you will need to use the same tom on all your hens tested.  If as in this example you have 3 hens penned separately, let your tom live with each hen for one week and then move him to the next hen.  Turkeys have the ability to store semen for several weeks in their body so they do not need to be bred constantly.  If you started with a group of toms and you selected the absolute best from that batch, you will be able to tell which hen is carrying quality genes and which one should be culled by the resulting poults from the mating of one tom to the 3 hens. Of course, three is not a magic number.  You could use 2 or maybe even ten hens.  It all depends on how many pens you have and how many quality birds you have selected.

SHARING

As you can imagine, if we have a hand full of serious breeders, we can make some serious progress by comparing notes and sharing eggs.  In just a few generations we should expect to get consistent breast meat on a plump pretty bird that lays lots of fertile and healthy eggs.  However, if people continue to breed from their own small flock without regard to culling, viability and quality will begin to suffer as inbred and less than quality birds are used in the breeding pool.