Jersey Buff Turkey: Characteristics & Best 7 Facts

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

Jersey Buff Turkey Facts

Here are some of the top facts about the Jersey Buff Turkey that make it a popular choice for backyard poultry keepers and commercial producers alike.

1. History and Origins

The Jersey Buff Turkey breed is believed to have originated in New Jersey, USA, in the early 20th century. The breed was developed by selective breeding of several varieties of domestic turkeys, including the Buff, Bronze, and White Holland.

The goal was to create a bird that had the desirable characteristics of each of these breeds, including a friendly disposition, good meat quality, and attractive appearance.

2. Appearance and Characteristics

The Jersey Buff Turkey is a medium-sized bird, with mature toms weighing between 20 and 25 pounds, and mature hens weighing between 12 and 16 pounds.

They are known for their rich golden-buff color, which is uniform across their entire body, including their feathers, beak, and feet.

Their feathers are lustrous and have a metallic sheen, which gives them an attractive appearance. The birds have a broad, deep chest, and a long, curved neck that is covered with feathers.

3. Temperament and Personality

Jersey Buff Turkeys are known for their friendly and docile disposition, which makes them a popular choice for backyard poultry keepers.

They are curious and intelligent birds that enjoy interacting with humans and other animals. They are also excellent foragers and are known to thrive in free-range environments.

4. Egg Production

Jersey Buff Turkeys are not known for their high egg production, with hens laying an average of 80 to 100 eggs per year.

However, the eggs they do produce are large and have a rich, creamy flavor that is prized by many poultry enthusiasts. The eggs are also a rich source of protein and other nutrients, making them a healthy addition to any diet.

5. Meat Quality

Jersey Buff Turkeys are known for their excellent meat quality, which is rich in flavor and has a tender texture. The birds have a high meat-to-bone ratio, which means that they produce a lot of meat for their size. The meat is also low in fat and cholesterol, making it a healthy choice for those who are watching their diet.

6. Health and Disease Resistance

Jersey Buff Turkeys are generally hardy birds that are resistant to many common poultry diseases. However, like all domestic turkeys, they are susceptible to certain diseases, such as blackhead and coccidiosis.

It is important to keep the birds in a clean and dry environment, provide them with proper nutrition, and practice good biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of disease.

7. Breeding and Hatchery

Jersey Buff Turkeys are a rare breed, and finding a reputable breeder or hatchery can be a challenge. It is important to work with a breeder or hatchery that is committed to preserving the breed’s unique characteristics and producing healthy, high-quality birds. The birds should be well-socialized, free from disease, and have a good genetic background.

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