Turkeys are in trou­ble

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

THE trad­tional Christ­mas turkey is in dan­ger of dy­ing out, which is why the Rare Breeds Sur­vival Trust (RBST) has launched an ap­peal for in­for­ma­tion and fund­ing. It cat­e­gorises all 10 breeds na­tive to the UK as ‘pri­or­ity’— no one knows whether the Ne­braskan, or griz­zled, turkey even ex­ists any more—and, says RBST field of­fi­cer Richard Broad, apart from the Nor­folk Black, the tra­di­tional breed most com­mon to the fes­tive feast, they’re all shrink­ing in num­bers; com­mer­cially farmed turkeys are mainly hy­brids.

‘We’re try­ing to spread the word about how to keep the birds and to find out about num­bers and the re­sponse has been ex­cit­ing—most peo­ple don’t re­alise that there are de­light­ful tra­di­tional breeds that may take longer to rear, but that taste like proper turkeys,’ ex­plains Mr Broad.

More good news is that a new one, the Har­vey Spot­ted (it’s white with red specks)—or Speck­led, the name isn’t fi­nalised—bred by Carol Har­vey in Corn­wall, should re­ceive a Poul­try Club of Great Bri­tain breed stan­dard by next Christ­mas. To help, visit www.rbst.org.uk or tele­phone 02476 696551. KG

Tra­di­tional: the Nor­folk Black

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