In 1996 a few tricolored birds appeared out of a Heritage Bronze flock in Big Timber, MT, at Sweetgrass Farms. These birds had a heavily marked royal palm pattern with chestnut red. The name Sweetgrass was put on this strain of tricolors.
The Sweetgrass genotype is (b1b1cgcg) Black winged bronze based with Oregon Gray (aka Palm genes) They breed 100% true to color/pattern.
I developed my strain from the Sweetgrass Farms' line in Big Timber,MT. My new strain has a heritage turkey body style, they are not a broadbreasted type like the ones developed at Sweetgrass Farms. As with all the broadbreasted type birds you run into many other problems too like the need for artificial insemination and also health problems due to the massive body structure which leads to leg and heart problems .
I have selectively bred this line down to a much trimmer body type which can breed naturally and are also very hardy.
Old toms weigh around 33-36 pounds and hens around 18-20 lbs.
In Belgium, this color pattern has existed for hundreds of years and it is known as the Yellow-shouldered Ronquière. A clear example of one of these turkeys appears in this old painting, by the Flemish master Joachim Beuckelaars, from 1566!
(above) Sweetgrass poult at 8 weeks of age
(above) Sweetgrass poults at 3 weeks of age
Poults are light yellow downed at hatch with a black strip extending down their backs
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