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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science


Poultry Breeds - Slate



The Slate turkey has an unknown place of origin, however, there are speculations on how it was developed. There are theories that is was developed from a cross-breed of a Black turkey and a White turkey, though this is unproven with little genetic evidence. Another theory is a cross-breed between a Black Norfolk and an Eastern Wild. The Slate Turkey was recognized by the APA in 1874. The Slate turkey plumage coloring is a mutation of two genes, one recessive and the other dominant. Random black spots on the feathers are expected, however brown and white are considered deficiencies.

The Slate turkey is very rare, some experts say it is close to extinction. Although this turkey is rare its qualities are desirable. The meat flavor is excellent and is raises a good sized carcass. The Slate turkey lays spotted cream or brown colored eggs. It can be aggressive and wary of others or it can be gentile and docile depending on the breeders desires for the fowl. Its size should be the same as that of the Black Turkey.


All Breeds of Poultry, Origin: History: Description, Mating and Characteristics, by Frank L. Platt. Published by AMERICAN POULTRY JOURNAL, Chicago, Illinois.

Ekarius, Carol. "Turkey: Slate." Pocketful of Poultry: Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Turkeys. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub., 2007. 250-51. Print.

Johnson, Sibylle. "Slate Turkey, Aka Blue or Lavender Turkey." Beauty Of Birds. Avianweb, n.d. Web. 15 July 2015.

"Slate Turkey." The Livestock Conservancy. The Livestock Conservancy, n.d. Web. 15 July 2015.

Mike Walters, Red Rose Hatchery, Rt. 3 Box 1409, Stilwell, OK. 74960

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Updated February 27, 2002


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