Royal Palm Turkeys Provide Royal Pleasure

Royal Palm turkeys are one of the rarest of breeds but there's a lot more to them than good looks. Jennifer Philen says her birds are feisty enough to hunt rattlesnakes.

"I was washing out some waterers when I saw seven of them on our road making an alarm sound," she recalls. "I went over, and they had surrounded a rattlesnake. They've alerted me to three snakes in our yard so far."

She likes their showy looks, featuring a dramatic combination of white and black. For example, their pure white tail feathers have a band of black and an edge of white.

Philen also likes their temperament. "Every one I owned is sweet and docile." She says Royal Palms are not as meaty as a broad-breasted variety, but are meatier than a wild turkey. Some sources suggest the Royal Palms are a small turkey with young toms only reaching a slaughter weight of 16 lbs. and young hens reaching 10 lbs. Philen says that is misleading. She has one tom that has reached 40 lbs.

Philen specializes in exotic poultry and ornamental pheasants. She sells breeding stock and poults from the farm and will ship fertile eggs. Price for breeding stock is based on color and how the bird carries itself. Eggs vary in price.