What the heck is a Nittany Turkey?
Here's the Answer
The domesticated version of the wild turkey, the Nittany, was bred for market use by Pennsylvania (College) State University in the 1930s. Selections were made for developing a docile temperament, improving egg production and increasing the quality of a finished carcass. Proposed standard weights were 20 pounds for a adult tom and 12 pounds for a adult female. These weights show the smallest sex differences of any variety of domesticated turkey. The Nittany's covert and main tail feathers are marked transversely with brown and black penciling, and tipped with a solid black band, which in turn is edged completely with chestnut brown. It seems to have lacked the coppery bronze band in the tail that is in the Eastern wild. Even though no one indicated having Nittanys on the survey, I believe it is very possible that some of the captive wild turkeys listed under the Eastern wilds are Nittanys or Nittany crosses with wilds. One interesting survey came in that describes his flock resulting from saving light-colored turkeys that are similar in color to Bourbon Reds, out of his original flock of commercially raised Eastern Wild turkeys. These birds are colored like Bourbons, but retain "all the wild traits" such as "thin necks, long legs, alert, intelligent and can fly." It is possible that they could be Nittany descendants?
It is this distinctive breed, developed in the shadow of Mt. Nittany, that inspired the name for your humble webmaster and his PSU blog.