Domestic Birds

Midget White Turkey or Beltsville White Turkey

The Midget White Turkeys was developed in the early 1950s by Dr. J. Robert Smyth at the University of Massachusetts, to meet an anticipated demand for a small version of the broad-breasted turkey. This demand never really materialized and this program was discontinued.

The White Midget has survived to this day due to the University of Wisconsin continuing its turkey program led by Dr. Bernie Wentworth – a graduate student of Dr. Smyth.

It is important to note that the Midget White turkey does not have any genetic relationship to the Beltsville White and that the two breeds are distinct and should be managed separately.

These diminutive turkeys are unusually friendly and will approach people and pets without much concern.

Breeding / Reproduction:

This turkey has grown to be a rare sight, and the survival of this breed now lies largely in the hands of private individuals.

When breeding Midget White turkeys, care should be taken in the selection of breeding stock to retain the small size of the breed. Once the young turkeys are well feathered they have the ability to fly, so care must be taken to prevent escape. Adult Midget Whites are less likely to take flight as they get heavier.


The Midget White Turkey, with its broad breast, has the appearance of a miniature of the commercial Broad Breasted White Turkey.

An adult tom weighs 18-20 pounds and hens about 10-12 pounds. Very similar to and often called Beltsville Whites (so they can be shown in poultry shows), they are a little smaller and not as broad-breasted as the Beltsville was.

Breed clubs and associations:

  • The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312, (919) 542-5704, email [email protected],
  • American Poultry Association, PO Box 306, Burgettstown, PA15021, email [email protected],
  • All American Turkey Growers Association, Danny Williamson, secretary-treasurer, 3441 Mustang, Tampa, KS 67483, (785)-965-2628, email [email protected]
  • Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, Dr. Charles R.H. Everett, Secretary, 122 Magnolia Lane, Lugoff, SC, 29078, email [email protected]

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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