CHERRY CREEK CANADIANS
Given our interest in raising other rare, endangered heritage breeds, in 2009, we embarked on a new venture of raising heritage turkeys and are proud to announce that as of 2012 we have a small but very productive breeding flock of Ridley Bronze turkeys.
For those who are not familiar with heritage turkeys, here is a short description from Wikipedia:
"A heritage turkey is one of a variety of strains of domestic turkey which retains historic characteristics that are no longer present in the majority of turkeys raised for consumption since the mid-20th century. Heritage turkeys can be differentiated from other domestic turkeys in that they are biologically capable of being raised in a manner that more closely matches the natural behavior and life cycle of wild turkeys. Heritage turkeys have a relatively long lifespan and a much slower growth rate than turkeys bred for industrial agriculture, and unlike industrially-bred turkeys, can reproduce without artificial insemination."
"Along with the adoption of the Broad Breasted White by industrial producers, other turkey varieties faded in numbers. Other than exhibition birds and those on a scant few small farms, other turkeys virtually disappeared. By the end of the 20th century, all but the Broad Breasted White were in danger of extinction. Around this time, conservation organization began to recognize the plight of heritage turkeys; the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) considered heritage turkeys to the most critically endangered of all domestic animals circa 1997. A census conducted by the Conservancy found less than 1,500 total breeding birds (out of all heritage varieties) were left in the country. Some breeds, such as the Narragansett, had less than a dozen individuals left, and many considered most heritage turkeys to be beyond hope."
We decided to once again do our part to help a very rare, endangered Canadian Heritage breed - the Ridley Bronze turkey. As it turned out, they were far more difficult to find and obtain than either our Canadian Horses or Chantecler chickens were. A recent census done in 2010 of this uniquely Canadian Heritage turkey (which was developed at the University of Saskatchewan), indicates there are less than 100 Ridley Bronze breeding hens currenly in existence!!! Clearly they are in need of any little bit of help that we could provide. Ultimately we were very fortunate to be able to source some Ridley Bronze eggs from private breeders in Ontario.
Of note, the Ridley Bronze turkey is classified as "Critical" with less than 100 breeding females in existence, by Rare Breeds Canada. For more information on this, see the Rare Breeds Canada website.
We have found the Ridley Bronze turkey to be very hardy, intelligent (no "stupid" meat birds these ones!), as well as very friendly and sociable. Not to mention incredibly entertaining! We have been enjoying them thoroughly.
Ridley Bronze turkey
A population census of the Ridley Bronze turkey was completed
in 2011, and shockingly at that time, it was determined that there were only approximately 100
of these exceedingly rare turkey hens in existence. The survey was repeated in 2012 at which time the numbers had improved
somewhat showing that there is now a grand total of only about 200 Ridley Bronze breeding hens in existence. An improvement, however
clearly the breed is still in dire straits and in urgent need of preservation!
For more information on the Bronze Ridley turkey (another uniquely Canadian and very rare breed),
please see the Canadian Farm Animal Genetic Resources Foundation website.
Heritage Turkey Sales
UPDATE In May of 2012, we have realized that due to the time, expense and many government hassles associated with having and running a small farm, we have pretty much been driven out of the business of raising and selling heritage poultry. Accordingly, we are now completely sold out of our Ridley Bronze turkeys. We have kept a few birds over for our own enjoyment and for our own consumption. We plan to let our remaining hens hatch and incubate their own eggs starting spring 2013. If we do end up with any additional poults after our own needs are met, we will post their availability on our website. At this point do not have plans to be taking any orders as if we do have any poults or hatching eggs for sale, it will be on a very limited basis. If you are interested in these, please check back on our website (as opposed to calling or emailing us) as their availability will be listed here. Please note, we do not ship any birds, ever. They are sold on a farm pick up basis only.
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If you will be in the neighbourhood and want to come see our horses and farm,
please feel free to contact us to set up a time, and to get directions. We always welcome visitors!
Updated Sept 12, 2012
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