The Midget White turkey is the smallest turkey breed in the world. In fact, it is so small, that people often mistake the Midget White turkey for a chicken! Of all the turkey breeds, not all are desirable for home meat production. Let’s take an in-depth look at this breed, and how this turkey will look in your backyard or on your table, shall we?
Midget White Facts at a Glance
|Weight – Young||male: 13 lbs (6 kg)|
female: 8 lbs (3.5 kg)
|Weight – Old||male: 18 lbs (8 kg)|
female: 10 lbs (4.5 kg)
|Eggs||70 per year|
Where Do Midget White Turkey Come From?
The Midget White turkey is one of the newer breeds of heritage turkeys. It was developed at some point in the 1960s in Massachusetts by Dr. Robert Smyth.
The intention of this breed was to create a meat turkey, but one that would take up a lot less space (and thus be cheaper to feed) than other breeds. This never happened. As a result, the Midget White turkey is an incredibly rare breed nowadays.
In fact, to give you an idea of how rare this breed is, up until 2014, people thought this breed had gone extinct.
However, a flock was discovered. A small flock, but a flock nonetheless.
We do not have any information about how many Midget White turkeys exist now, but it is likely to be barely over 200 in number, and that is if they managed to breed the small flock successfully.
Basically, this is a small breed of turkey that you are unlikely to ever see ‘in the flesh’.
The Look Of This Turkey
As the name suggests; this is a very small breed of turkey. In fact, you are going to struggle to find one over 15 lbs in size.
The males can get a bit heavier than this, but not by that much.
As the name also suggests, this bird is also white. These are pretty much the only defining characteristics of the bird.
Well, apart from the fact that it has a broad breast, but we are going to talk more about that in a short while.
Being the smallest turkey breed makes the Midget White an ideal for small families.
As a Show Turkey
There are simply not enough of these birds left around for them to be a viable show bird. They were never intended to be a show bird.
In fact, the fact that dozens of these were unaccounted for (and these were the only ones left) goes to show just how little drive there actually is for turkey shows that feature the Midget White Turkey.
Other than the initial announcement of the breed, we doubt that there ever has been a show that features them.
That being said, we do think that this could be a decent ornamental breed of turkey.
After all, it is a very small turkey. While it is not going to be that productive, it certainly is a unique bird to look at. As a result, if you are suffering from a lack of space, but want a turkey to look at, then the Midget White Turkey may be perfect for you.
Midget White Turkey Eggs and Egg Laying
The Midget White Turkey can lay around 70-eggs per year. Although, it is not going to lay them throughout the year, just like most turkey breeds.
Obviously, since this is a smaller breed, the turkey eggs are going to be smaller than most other turkey breeds. They are going to be closer to a larger chicken egg in size.
Since this breed of turkey is a prolific egg layer, it is even more surprising to us that it has been on the edge of extinction for a while. This is especially odd since (apparently) the Midget White Turkey has about an 80% fertility rate.
This means that 8 out of every 10 eggs they lay each year should hatch. This means that (in theory) a Midget White Turkey can potentially produce around 40 more turkeys.
We suppose that the turkeys that are left are closely related, and thus the fertility rate is a little bit lower.
If the Midget White Turkey does successfully lay fertile eggs that end up hatching, then they are pretty decent at raising their young.
Although, do bear in mind that this breed is now so rare that it is pretty difficult to introduce new blood into the gene pool. This could mean various deformities, although none seem to have been reported.
Midget White Turkey Meat
The Midget White Turkey was designed to be a smaller version of broad breast turkeys. This means that they do have a larger amount of meat on them than your average turkey.
Obviously, the bird is smaller, but for most people this is going to be fine. You just have to remember that the Midget White Turkey is closer to chicken in size.
Perhaps the main benefit of the Midget White Turkey for meat is that it doesn’t eat as much as other turkey breeds. This means that it is going to be a lot more affordable to raise.
However, do bear in mind that it isn’t going to grow that fast. So, if you are looking for a bird that is ready for slaughter in a few months, then this isn’t it.
Raising the Midget White Turkey
Since there are so few of this breed around now, and they have only existed for a couple of decades, there is not that much information out there about the personality of the breed.
What we have discovered does seem to indicate that they are a rather timid bird, and they should be fairly friendly. Perhaps the main issue is they do get scared easily, owing to their small size. So, if you do want to approach one, make sure that you do it nice and carefully.
Remember; due to their smaller size, this is a breed of turkey that is more than capable of flying away. As a result, you will probably want to keep this in a coop with a roof. This will help to prevent escapees.
It will also help to prevent any predators from getting to them. They are not as brilliant at defending themselves as other turkey breeds.
There does not seem to be any health issues with this breed, which isn’t surprising since it was developed for the commercial meat and egg industry.