Turkey is truly America’s meat. Fossils have proven that wild turkeys have been part of North America for more than 10 Million years! There were 7 varieties of wild turkeys that were in America when Europeans first arrived over 500 years ago, and seven varieties still exist in the wild today.
Beginning in the 16th century turkeys were domesticated. This has lead to many new varieties of turkey. Black feathered turkeys were primarily raised by growers until the desire of the consumer changed. Dark feathers leave dark spots in the skin and the US Government standards downgraded this type of unsightliness. So turkey growers changed to white breed of turkeys.
Today domestic turkeys are raised in Iowa by farm families. Like their cousins the wild turkeys, domestic turkeys eat primarily corn and soybeans harvested by farmers. Wild turkeys may eat the farmer’s crops right from the field. Domestic turkeys today are raised in large, open, environmentally controlled building to keep the turkeys comfortable. This protects the turkeys from Iowa’s cold winters and hot summers. It also keeps the turkeys away from the wild birds that can carry diseases.