White Turkey: 21 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Interesting broad breasted white turkey facts for everyone.

The broad-breasted white turkey is a breed of domesticated turkey with shorter breast bones and larger breasts. It is a poultry animal that is a result of white Holland and broad-breasted bronze. This breed produces more meat than other turkey breeds. This property makes it the most popular breed of turkey in commercial meat production. It has white feathers and short legs. There is a second type of this breed which is known as broad breasted bronze turkey or heritage turkey. It is costlier than the white breed because of the quality of the meat.  

Unfortunately, this bird is not used for egg production due to some health issues. The breeding season of broad-breasted white turkey is from March to April. Both young and adults need different requirements according to their behavior, size, and age. A male turkey is called tom, whereas a female turkey is known as a hen. The white turkey breed has a docile temperament. The broad-breasted white turkey bird earned its name from the fact that before arriving at European tables, this species traveled through the country of Turkey. It became a hot sensation in Europe because of its epic taste.

If you like turkeys and would like to know more about them, you can also check out these domestic turkey facts and royal palm turkey facts.

White Turkey

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Grass, kitchen or garden scraps, insects

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

4-17 eggs

How much do they weigh?

29.8-86 lb (13.5-39 kg)

How long are they?

39.5-49.2 in (100.5-125 cm)

How tall are they?

Upto 4 ft (1.2 m)

What do they look like?

White, red, blue

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them

Temperate regions







Scientific Name

Meleagris gallopavo





White Turkey Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a white turkey?

The broad-breasted turkey is the most popular domesticated turkey breed in the world. It is a cross between a white holland and a bronze-breasted white turkey.

What class of animal does a white turkey belong to?

The broad-breasted white turkey is a poultry animal that belongs to the class Aves in phylum Chordata.

How many white turkeys are there in the world?

In 2020, the population size of broad-breasted white turkey was approximately 84.3 million. The development or growth rate was 0.55% per year.

Where does a white turkey live?

The broad-breasted white turkey is endemic to America but it can be found on every continent except Antarctica.  In the 16th century, some broad-breasted white turkeys were brought to Asia and Europe by Spanish merchants. Broad-breasted turkey is a popular farm bird and humans generally raise them for its eggs and meat. Due to its popularity, domestic breeds are found everywhere. Although, some breeds are more common than others. After that, when English people came to America, they really got amazed by the broad breasted white turkey which tastes excellent because of their natural diet of walnuts, chestnuts, and other nuts. That is why Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the broad-breasted white turkey the national emblem of America. They are adorable, tastes wonderful, and had economic value for the colonists. Previously, it was thought the domestication of turkey has occurred in middle Mesoamerica about 2,000 years ago, but a recent study found out that subsequent domestication happened in the southwest United States between 200 BC and AD 500. All varieties of domestic turkey descend from the Mexican turkey.

What is a white turkey's habitat?

The broad-breasted white turkey is a domesticated bird that lives in almost every part of the world. It is a large bird that requires a bigger area to live. A single broad-breasted white turkey bird needs at least ten square feet of space inside a cage. The resting place should not be higher than 10 in (25.4 cm) from the earth's surface because jumping off high places results in legs and foot issues after a long period. A 0.5-acre area is enough for a dozen turkeys in a fenced-in region. One advantage of raising broad-breasted white turkey is that you do not have to worry about them as it does not has many predators. the bird mostly raises in poultry farms.

Who do white turkeys live with?

Broad-breasted white turkey birds live in a group of several turkeys. The individuals in a group depend upon the area of the coot. These birds eat together, sleep together, and roam together.

How long does a white turkey live?

The life span of a broad-breasted white turkey is between two and five years. Generally, the male broad-breasted white turkey lives a shorter life than a female. Although, people kill them for their meat.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of broad-breasted turkeys is from late February to early March. In commercial production, hatcheries get their eggs from the breeding farms. The incubation period of eggs is about 28 days, after which the breeders check the sex of the turkey poults or chicks and distributed them to the grow-out farms. Both hens and toms raised independently because of their different growth rates. The broad-breasted turkeys have a high rate of eggs hatch. That is why turkey eggs are rarely available to eat. Humans usually reproduce turkeys for meat only. There is a common procedure to rear turkey poults in poultry farms in the United Kingdom. First, turkey poults of one to seven days are placed into diminutive round brooding pens of about 8 ft (2.5 m) to ensure that they have the proper amount of food and water. They keep these young poults under persistent light for the first 48 hours to motivate them to eat. For the first three days, the temperature of the air set at 95 °F (18 °C), which then decrease to 64 °F (18 °C) in every two days until the turkey poults become 37 days old. Breeders also give them infrared heaters in the initial days. They scatter the food on paper sheets in addition to feeders only for turkey poults. After numerous days, breeders remove the pens and allow the young poults to meet with hundreds and thousands of mature birds. All turkeys live there until they move to another unit.  Turkey poults have less meat but sometimes they are still eaten by humans and predators too.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of broad-breasted white turkeys are unknown as they are mainly domesticated and their population is stable presently. People rear various breeds of turkey for meat, especially for thanksgiving occasion.

White Turkey Fun Facts

What do white turkeys look like?

Broad-breasted white turkeys have white feathers, pink legs, and black beards. However, baby white turkey chicks are yellow. White turkeys have been bred to give more breast meat than other breeds, such as Bourbon red turkeys, broad-breasted bronze turkeys, midget white turkeys, black turkeys, Narragansett turkeys, and slate turkeys. These other birds possess iridescent plumage of multiple colors including green, bronze, blue, and a featherless blue head. Male turkeys have an unusual cap-like crown that extends during the breeding season. The size of broad-breasted white turkeys ranges between 39.5-49.2 in (100.5-125 cm) in length and weigh around 29.7-86 lb (13.5-39 kg). Females usually have less weight than males. Hens are smaller and duller than the cocks. There is a fleshy appendage in the males that hangs from the beak. These broad-breasted white turkeys birds have broad breasts but shorter breast bones. The legs of these animals are very short as compared to their size.

White turkeys have a white body with pink head.

How cute are they?

Broad-breasted turkey birds are small and cute animals. The temperament of broad breasted white turkeys is moderately docile but sometimes they become aggressive. When a consumer raises its own broad-breasted white turkey for meat, it usually prefers male birds over female. Therefore, males become more fearful towards butcher time.

How do they communicate?

Broad-breasted whites talk to communicate, just like humans. These birds emit gobbling sounds.

How big is a white turkey?

The size of a broad-breasted white turkey is 39.5-49.2 in (100.5-125 cm), which is 10 times bigger than a bald eagle.

How fast can a white turkey move?

The speed range of a broad-breasted white turkey is between 25-55 mph (40.2-88.5 kph).

How much does a white turkey weigh?

The weight range of a broad-breasted white turkey is 29.7-86 lb (13.5-39 kg). In contrast, broad breasted bronze has a much higher weight than the white turkey.

What are the male and female names of the species?

In the United States of America, male broad-breasted white turkey (Heritage turkey breed) is known as a tom, whereas, in the UK, it is known as stages. Female broad-breasted white turkey referred to as a hen.

What would you call a baby white turkey?

Generally known as a chick, the baby broad-breasted white turkey is called poult or turkeyling.

What do they eat?

Broad-breasted white turkey birds feed on corn or soybean meal with an adequate amount of mixed vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and fats. For turkey poults, the egg carton is a perfect initial feeder. Another thing you can do is to use plastic chick feeders with oval-shaped openings to feed these birds. It is very easy for poults to feed on them. Make sure they have feeders full of food and a good amount of water. After some days, a wooden feeder or hanging feeder can be used as they also conserve feed.

Are they poisonous?

No, broad-breasted white turkeys are not poisonous birds as they do not have any poison-producing glands.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, broad-breasted white turkey birds can make good indoor pets. It is arduous to housetrain these turkeys and they do produce a large amount of poop. The rearing of a high proportion of broad-breasted whites occurs in different types of purpose-built or modified buildings. Most of them have slatted walls made of narrow strips of wood or metal with good ventilation systems, whereas some have concrete walls with no windows so that the breeders can use artificial lighting to enhance production. Modified buildings are huge to store tens of thousands of birds. The flooring substrate usually consists of deep-litter, such as wood shavings. It relies upon the controlled development of microbes that require skillful management. The optimum temperatures for hens and toms are between 64 and 70 °F (18 and 21 °C). The perfect temperature is important because, in a high-temperature environment, the metabolic rate of broad-breasted whites will become high which may make them susceptible to heat stress. The rearing of broad-breasted white turkeys is not for egg production because of some health issues associated with adulthood.

Did you know...

The broad-breasted white turkey is prone to many health diseases, such as heart diseases, joint damage, and respiratory failure.

How much are white turkeys?

Broad-breasted white turkeys are the most common type of turkeys used for meat production. These turkeys produce more meat than other breeds. It is specially bred for this purpose. The price of one unsexed broad-breasted white turkey is nearly $7.70. Male broad breasted white turkey price is roughly $8.90, whereas female broad-breasted white turkey or hen usually sold for about $8.05. In some areas, the broad-breasted white turkeys are sold based on their weight. Their frozen meat is also available in the market.

Do white turkeys fly?

The broad-breasted white turkeys can fly but only to a short distance. They are much like ducks and chickens with wings but who cannot fly long distances like other birds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these flamingo facts and carrion crow facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable turkey body coloring pages.



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