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Omega's turkey line.

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1 Omega's turkey line. on Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:23 am

Omega Blue Farms

Full Time Member
Full Time Member
Answering a couple questions from another thread.

I'm curious Omega, what happens to your line of turkeys when you go? Are you working with others to keep it going, or is it all yours and yours alone? ... But when you can't carry on breeding anymore, then what happens with your turkey line that you worked hard on to develop the disease resistance that you did?

Individuals don't save breeds, communities do. All I can do is give the community options and opportunities, but what the community does with those opportunities is not up to me to decide, it is up to the community. As it stands, I built a top quality line by producing meat as a primary objective. No shortcuts. Even in my first year, I processed 4/5 of the birds I raised. This while still learning the genepool and the husbandry practices that impacted the breed. I made the genepool resilient and economically productive, two qualities missing from the majority of the heritage stock in North America. Since developing the line, I've given the community ample opportunities to benefit from the line. Even now, I have quality stock available for sale. But it is not up to me to make sure members of the community gain the knowledge and experience to gain the full benefits of my line. I was not spoon fed my knowledge and experience and I won't spoon feed anyone. It is only after someone has demonstrated commitment and dedication over a couple years that I will be be willing to donate my time to their deeper understanding.

Make no mistake though, my line will die with me, if not sooner. Once someone else starts selecting in their location with their perspective, it stops being my line. None of us escape the reality that our conservation efforts are finite in nature. All any of us can do is ensure that our efforts strengthen the quality of the genepool rather than weakens it. This is the only thing we have control over.

There are lots of turkey options, and it doesn't seem the turkey market is flooded by any means on the island - farm grown turkey sell out in days, and most need pre-orders.

The majority of farm raised turkey are commercial birds, not heritage. Overall demand for heritage turkey sales suffered because the majority of heritage turkeys put on the market were of inferior quality, being produced by growers with inadequate knowledge and inferior genetics. Emotion was the only driving motivation for buying the inferior birds, certainly not a belief that they offered good value.

This was just one reason I decided to remove my turkey flock from my farm's business plan. Why would I want to continue trying to support a market being undermined as such? The economic risks and the risks imposed by the meat regulations also weighed heavy on the decision.

Because I've removed my turkey flock from my business plan, I am no longer maintaining a viable population. Even this last winter, my flock risked extinction because I went into winter with only one confirmed male. There is always a risk that I make a mistake and the tom I select is a dud in the fertility department. Got lucky, got chicks hatched already, the line lives for another year. Eventually, luck will run out and the line will go extinct. The only question is when. I won't loose any sleep, I did my part and will continue doing my part until it does go.


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