French Turkeys

All the following items are excerpts from the ouvrages avicoles

Le Noir de Sologne (The Sologne Black) "Its acclimatization and domestication seems to have been undertaken in these farms of the Centre belonging to monasteries, especially in the area around Bourges. It is no doubt that the Black turkey of Sologne comes from this area " wrote A. Bellème, around 1950. The Black turkey of Sologne was so well known that Louis Bréchemin ("La basse-cour productive" -The Productive Farmyard - , 1921) calls it simply "French Turkey".
This turkey originated from the departments of le Loiret, le Loir et Cher and le Cher. In the past, one could see flocks of several hundred birds driven by children. Thus the turkeys could forage in fields, bushy areas and the moors where they got most of their food. Although the breeding of this bird has regressed considerably, amateur breeders are making efforts to maintain this breed which used to be appreciated for the quality of its white and delicate flesh.

In France several regional breeds of black turkeys excluding the Sologne black exist. They are similar even if their size and type have evolved by new environmental and selective changes like : Noir du Bourbonnais (Bourbonnais Black), Noir de Bresse (Bresse Black), Noir de Normandie (Norman Black). To be honest, one has to admit it can be difficult to tell the difference between these types some of which (Bresse Black, Norman Black) do not have recorded standards. One should notice that the recorded standard of the Gers Black (Noir du Gers), which is an ancient breed, was only featured in the year 2000 edition of the Compendium of Standards (Recueil des Standards) published by the French Poultry Federation (Fédération Française des Volailles : F.F.V.)The male should weigh 8 kg minimum and the female 5 kg. The colour of the plumage is totally black included, large wingtip feathers (a light bronze highlight is tolerated on the rump).
Le Noir du Bourbonnais (Bourbonnais Black)
Looks very much like the Sologne Black although it is more elegant. It is a vigorous turkey which carries itself proudly. It is lively and fiery. Its plumage is deep black with a metallic but not bronze highlight (very light bronze is tolerated in the tail cover feathers). Its black tarsus becomes clear even pink with age. The male weighs 10 to 12 kg, the female 7 to 9 kg.
Le Noir de Normandie (Norman Black)
Differentiated from the Sologne Black by its smaller size and shorter tarsus. It is a stocky and vigorous bird (it was considered to be the most rustic of turkeys in the past ). The female is a considerate brooder. Its other characteristics relie on a black tarsus (reddening with age, more developed caruncles than those of the Sologne Black, a matt black plumage with no bronze reflections. Its small size make it look lighter than it actually is : an adult male does weigh 10 to 12 kg. Having no recorded standard, this breed does not "officially" exist.

Le dindon Rouge des Ardennes (Red Ardennes Turkey)
Currently the most popular turkey in France, its plumage is as suggested by its name made of a very uniform tawny red with clearer shades. The male easily reaches 10 kg and the female 6 or 7 kg. This breed was arisen in the Franco-Belgian Ardennes region. This turkey nearly disappeared a few years ago but it is still found amongst breeders. It is successful on account of its original colour ( compared to black, bronze and white colours ones).

French Ducks, Geese and Turkeys