If you are familiar with small-scale farming, you might be considering adding a few turkeys to your mini barnyard. In your search, you might have come across the Dindon Rouge des Ardennes and you may now be wondering if it is the right breed for your setup.

While this breed has a rich history and still holds immense popularity in France, it can be tricky to find them elsewhere. So, while you might love learning about this magnificent breed, the possibility of owning them depends significantly on your geographical location.


Quick Facts About The Dindon Rouge des Ardennes Turkey

Breed Name:Dindon Rouge des Ardennes
Place of Origin:Champagne-Ardenne, France
Gobbler Size:22 pounds
Hen Size:10 pounds
Color:Rust red, cream
Lifespan:10 years
Climate Tolerance:Cold hardy
Care Level:Easy/Intermediate

Dindon Rouge des Ardennes Origins

The term Dindon Rouge translates quite literally to “red turkey” in French. When you see the unique red tones in the feathering, it’s clear why this was a top choice.

The Dindon Rouge has quite a history, nearly reaching extinction before the breed was revitalized. Initially, these turkeys were believed to be brought to Flanders by Spanish travelers in the 16th century, flourishing upon arrival.

These beautiful birds started to majorly decline, possibly due to the production of hardier, meatier turkey breeds. However, by 1985, they were formally revamped when several Dindon Rouge’s were rescued and introduced into a monitored breeding program.

Now, they are the single-handed most popular breed in France, living on farms across the country. However, they are particularly abundant in their native land of Champagne-Ardenne.

Even though these turkeys are a dime a dozen, so to speak, in France—you’d be lucky to find them stateside or in other non-European countries.


Dindon Rouge des Ardennes Characteristics

The lovely Dindon Rouge is robust and hardy, making for excellent keepers. They are extremely good at foraging for themselves and have nearly wild instincts, making them fiercely independent and free-range savvy.

Since they are such naturalists when roaming, they make terrific selections for the inexperienced owner—as they require little maintenance and care. They can easily self-sustain, needing only basic necessities like regular meals and shelter.

These turkeys are phenomenal fliers, which can be a challenge at times. It can be hard to coax them down from a self-made roost or prevent them from nesting in unwanted areas.

However, you can easily contain them in an enclosed space, permitting you have a suitable area. These animals absolutely require the ability to forage, so always make sure you give them access to foliage where they can snack on greens and insects.

Hens are very keen and aware of their surroundings, choosing excellent nesting spots out of sight of predators. They make exceptional mothers and produce roughly 30 to 60 eggs per year.

As hatchlings, mothers take very good care of their babies, providing them with all basic necessities and teachings. The Dindon Rouge is slow to mature, reaching full size around 8 months of age.

You can have a pretty hands-free experience raising these poults, as their mothers do all the hard work for you. You know what they say—mother knows best. Just make sure to give her a safe place to do her bidding.

Even though these birds are wild at heart, they are agreeable with people and rarely aggressive.


Some keepers might try their hand at breeding these magnificent creatures to produce quality specimens for flock raising. But since they are so sparse, breeding is a less common reason to keep these turkeys.

Instead, the Dindon Rouge is mostly farmed for meat production. The flavor of these birds is described as savory, providing excellent eating for those at the table.

These utility birds are notably linked to profit from meat production. So, if you would like to raise a meat flock with the intent to sell, it’s a suitable breed for the job.

Of course, if you take a shine to one of your turkeys, you can always keep them as a pet with no intention to breed or butcher.

Appearance & Varieties

The beautiful rust-colored Dindon Rouge des Ardennes touts incredible feathering and a lightweight body compared to other breeds. Color spectrums range from buff to red, varying slightly from turkey to turkey.

Males grow beautiful light creamy red tail feathers with reddish tones on the body. The under feathers are nearly cream, while the outside is mild reddish brown. These guys can weigh up to 22 pounds when fully grown.

Females, on the other hand, look surprisingly similar in color but are slender with sloping tail feathers. As adults, these hens weigh roughly 10 pounds or under.

This breed matures very slowly, generally reaching full maturity between 25 and 30 weeks. After they reach full size, you can butcher them anytime thereafter.

However, if you’re looking for ultra-fast production or heavy body birds, they aren’t fitting the description. So, ultimately keeping depends on your intention for the flock.


These birds are mostly only available in European regions, particularly in France. It’s unlikely that you will be lucky enough to find these birds available outside of the continent.

However, in rare cases (or with very special ordering) you might be able to get them elsewhere. Always do your homework first to ensure the cost of shipping is worth the expense.divider-bird

Are Dindon Rouge des Ardennes Turkeys Good for Small-Scale Farming?

These birds make tremendous additions to small-scale farms. They are incredibly easy to keep, making them ideal candidates for any level of poultry experience. Due to personality, you can also keep them as free-range pets to add some character to your barnyard—permitting you live where the breed is readily available.

While they are very easy to maintain, you must provide the proper living space to keep them safe and well-fed.

Featured Image Credit: grafvision, Shutterstock