The Narragansett turkey is named for Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. It descends from a cross between native Eastern Wild turkeys and domestic turkeys brought by English and European colonists. Improved and standardized for production qualities, the Narragansett was the foundation of the turkey industry in New England.
The Narragansett variety is similar in color to the Bronze breed, though it is lighter in color and in build. Narragansett turkeys are gray or dull black with a white bar on the wing feathers. The beak is horn colored, and the head is red to bluish white. The Narragansett is known for its calm disposition and maternal qualities, as well as early maturation, good laying, and excellent meat quality. This variety is smaller than the Bronze, with hens weighing 18 pounds and toms 30 pounds.
Though the Narragansett was not as historically popular as the Bronze, it has been widely used throughout New England and the Midwestern states. It lost most of its popularity during the twentieth century and it has not been a fashionable commercial variety since then. Its potential use today for small-scale, outdoor turkey production is gaining popularity.
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