Not to harp on turkeys, but the upcoming issue of Backyard Poultry will feature an article about the White Midget turkey. It was written by my friend Jeannette Beranger from the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (www.albc-usa.org), and includes photos she took of turkeys on our farm.
I've seen the advance copy, and it is terrific! In addition to information about the breed, it also includes an interesting anecdote about a culinary school's experiments with cooking and baking with turkey eggs. In general there isn't a great market for the delicious turkey eggs, mainly because turkeys do not lay all year like most chickens and ducks. In fact, most heritage turkeys have a laying/breeding season of only about 4 months (March through June). Guess why turkeys have traditionally been a holiday-season food? Because they are hatching in the spring and maturing about 6 months later, well into the fall.
Our Midget Whites seem to have a longer-than-average laying season, though. Some hens lay for 8 months or more! The year before last, one of the hens hatched a brood of babies on New Year's day; that was certainly a surprise.
This year we may keep more than four breeding hens, as we did last year. We're thinking about trying to market turkey eggs as a seasonal specialty; they are quite delicious! And like duck eggs, they are wonderful for baking. But you can read more about that in Jeannette's article in Backyard Poultry. If you're not a subscriber, you can read the article (after that issue is released) on the BYP web site, www.backyardpoultrymag.com.