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The Last Chocolate Turkeys: New Hampshire Farmer Ends Effort To Sustain Endangered Breed

Chocolate turkeys circle around Jim Czack in their enclosure at his farm. Photo by Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Chocolate turkeys circle around Jim Czack in their enclosure at his farm. Photo by Annie Ropeik for NHPR

A farmer in Loudon, New Hampshire is calling it quits on a years-long project – to breed a rare type of turkey called the Chocolate turkey.

They’re thought to be one of the tastiest breeds in the world – but that hasn’t been enough to sustain them. NHPR’s Annie Ropeik explains why.

Birds are an inescapable presence at Élevage de Volailles, the farm Jim Czack owns and operates with his partner Annette. There are Pekin ducks, Cornish chickens and a menacing pack of stocky Embden geese.

But most of all, there are the Chocolate turkeys – about 100 of them, their dark-brown plumage striking against the snow.

“Who’s got a story to tell? Huh?” Czack asks the Chocolates as they cluster at the edge of their enclosure, peering upward and gobbling inquisitively.

“They have their little turkey thoughts, and you see the gears going, and that can get you into a lot of trouble,” he says. “Are they a beginner’s bird? No, they are definitely not a beginner’s bird.”

Visit NHPR for the full story.