The name Bronze Turkey is one which is used for two main types of domestic turkey; the Standard Bronze Turkey, a heritage turkey, and the Broad Breasted Bronze Turkey. The original Bronze Turkeys are some of the oldest domesticated turkeys still being bred, on both sides of the Atlantic. The UK has examples of Norfolk Bronze and Cambridge Bronze.
The original Bronze was developed by early North American colonists. Travelling across the Atlantic, these settlers brought with them domesticated turkeys. These turkeys were then bred with the wild turkeys. This new breed was larger than the original domesticated turkeys, and as a result was more attractive. The Bronze Turkey name though only came into fashion in the nineteenth century. After this point though, a division occurred in the turkey breed. Further development of the Bronze, produced the Broad Breasted Bronze, a breed specifically bred for commercial purposes. Production numbers of the original Bronze turkey suffered as a result, but in the end, even the commercial breed fell out of favour through the production of the Broad Breasted White.
Breeding of the Bronze Turkey has lead to a large breed, and male toms are expected to weigh in the region of 16kg, with hens weighing about 9kg. Broad Breasted Bronze Turkeys though are expected to exceed these weights, with excellent meat yields.
The Bronze Turkey of course gets its name from the color of its plumage, and in looks has a strong resemblance to wild turkeys. Bronze turkeys can be recognized by their bronze coloring, which also has a blue-green and copper shading within it. Tail and tail covert feathering is though more of a dull black color, with some black, bronze and white banding.
There is some difference between the coloring of the Broad Breasted Bronze and the Standard Bronze, with the Standard generally a lighter hue but with a higher gloss to it. Color differential though does cause confusion at shows, with birds of both types grouped together.
The Standard Bronze Turkey can be an ideal turkey for a smallholding, although it does require plenty of room to roam about in. The Bronze Turkey though has quite an even temperament, and is easy to raise, requiring only limited knowledge about dietary needs. The turkey though is of course normally raised as a table bird, and is larger than many heritage turkeys, but does provide some highly regarded meat.