Beltsville Small White

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A Beltsville Small White

The Beltsville Small White is a breed of domestic turkey. The bird was named after its physical characteristics—a relatively small size and entirely white plumage—as well as its place of origin: the USDA's Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Maryland.[1]

The Beltsville Small White was developed beginning in 1934 in response to market research that said consumers wanted a turkey of small to medium size with no dark pinfeathers. In a breeding program at the Beltsville Center that lasted from 1934 to 1941, the USDA used White Holland, White Austrian, Narragansett, Bronze, and wild turkey genetics. The breed was used commercially in the 1940s, and was recognized officially by the American Poultry Association in 1951.[2]

As a result of being developed specifically for smaller, urban households, the breed never had the size to satisfy the demands of restaurants. By the 1970s, it had nearly disappeared, and the Broad Breasted White had come into prominence. It is still extremely rare today, and is listed as Critical by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.[2] It retains interest primarily among breed enthusiasts and those interested in a heritage turkey breed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ekarius, Carol (2007). Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. Storey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58017-667-5.
  2. ^ a b "Turkeys: Beltsville Small White". American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.