The White Holland is an extremely rare and old breed of domestic turkeys that originated in Mexico and redeveloped in Holland. They are known for their pure white plumage, as well as for their docile temperament. With rapid decrease in population, the present status of this bird is considered to be ‘threatened’.
|Characteristics||Showy in appearance having snow white plumage (feathers); the beard is black while the beak is pink to horn-colored; shanks, toes, throat and wattles are pinkish-white; eyes are blue to dark brown|
|Purposes||Meat, ornamental purposes|
|Eggs||Large; pale cream to medium brown in color with spotting|
|Diet||General domestic flock diet|
|Weight||Market Weight: 16-25 pounds|
|Breed Standards||‘Standard size’ as listed by the ‘American Poultry Association’:
Adult Tom: 36 pounds;
Adult Hen: 20 pounds
|Country of Origin||The Netherlands|
History and Development
The bird was actually developed in Mexico. Early explorers traveled to the two Americas and brought back to Europe a breed of very old turkeys that were raised by the Aztecs. They were white-feathered turkeys and it is these very birds from which the modern-day White Hollands were produced. They were first developed in the Netherlands, from which the breed got its name, and were further reintroduced into the early Dutch settler colonies.
The bird was first documented in England in the early 1800’s, and was later accepted into the Standard of Perfection in the U.S. in 1874. Since these turkeys had short legs and broad breasts, they became an important commercial bird in the early twentieth century. However, in the latter years they were replaced by other larger and faster growing varieties. The present-day White Hollands are quite rare, and are mostly reared by a selected few breeders of exhibition turkey.
- The White Holland is said to be the calmest variety of turkeys.
- Today, it is considered a heritage turkey breed.