Jersey Buff Turkey Characteristics, Uses & Origin Info

The Jersey Buff turkey is a breed of domestic turkey from the mid Atlantic region. It is named and noted for it’s beautiful buff-colored plumage and it is also known just as Buff turkey.

After the development, the breed never widespread and it was accepted by the American Poultry Association in 1874.

In the late 1800s, the breed was used in the development of the Bourbon Red variety, which was selected more purposefully for performance and was promoted more widely.

The Bourbon Red turkey gained prominence, and that resulted the Jersey Buff turkey’s numbers to decline.

The Jersey Buff turkey breed was not extensively selected for other performance qualities, even though the breed’s color was advantageous for processing because of the nearly white pinfeathers. And the variety become rare by the early 1900s.

Again in the 1940s, interest in the Jersey Buff turkey was revived. And a new strain of the breed, called the New Jersey Buff was developed.

Still today the Buff variety is rare, and the Broad Breasted White turkey is continuing to edge out all other heritage turkey breeds.

According to The Livestock Conservancy the Jersey Buff turkey is critically endangered. The breed has also been included in Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste.

Today the breed is most popular in the United States, but is also found in Australia and in the United Kingdom. Read some more information about this domestic turkey breed below.

Jersey Buff Turkey Characteristics

The Jersey Buff turkeys are medium to large sized animals with a very beautiful light or reddish brown plumage. The colored plumage is the most defining characteristics of these birds.

Their tail feathers are white with a light buff bar across them near the end. Primary and secondary wing feathers are white with buff shading. Their shanks and toes are bluish-white or flesh colored.

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Their eyes are hazel, and the beard is black. The Jersey Buff toms and hens are different in color, and the hens tend to lighten with age (especially after a molt).

Average live body weight of the fully grown Jersey Buff toms is around 10.5 kg, and the hens weight roughly half of that. On average the hens weight around 6 kg. Photo and info from The Livestock Conservancy and Wikipedia.


The Jersey Buff turkey is a meat breed. It is raised mainly for meat production.

Special Notes

The Jersey Buff turkeys are strong and very productive birds. A trait that drew interest from breeders is the fact that ‘the lighter feathers of the breed present and easier, cleaner carcass’.

Although the breed hasn’t been aggressively selected for production characteristics, and it thus significantly smaller than many other modern turkey breeds.

Some birds are docile in terms of temperament, some can be aggressive. The hens lay pale cream to medium brown colored eggs with spotting.

Today the breed is raised mainly for meat production. And these birds are ideal for a small scale or hobby farms. However, review full breed profile of the Jersey Buff turkey in the following chart.

Breed NameJersey Buff
Other NamesSimply called Buff
Breed PurposeMainly meat
Special NotesVery strong and hardy birds, docile temperament, but some birds can become aggressive, highly dependent on selection by breeder, today raised mainly for meat production, very productive birds, produce cleaner carcass, hens lay pale cream to medium brown colored eggs with spotting, ideal for small scale or hobby farms
Breed SizeMedium to large
TomAround 10.5 kg
HenAround 6 kg
Climate ToleranceAlmost all climates
Country/Place of OriginMid-Atlantic

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