are found in the wild in North America
(see photo above right). These large
birds are also raised on farms. Many
domesticated turkeys (those raised
for their meat on farms) have white
plumage (feathers). The head and neck
of a turkey is "bare" -
turkeys have a wattle (see photo below).
female turkey is called a "hen".
The male turkey is called a "tom"
or "gobbler". The baby turkey
is called a "poult".
eggs hatch in 28 days. In
the wild, the first weeks are important
to a poultís survival. The poult's
must be able to leave the nest 12
to 24 hours after hatching. Poults
are vulnerable to predation, and chilling
by dew or rainfall can lower body
temperature and weaken or kill them.
Hens take care of the poults on the
ground until they are able to fly
to nearby trees. Poults are able to
fly within two weeks of hatching.
the farm, turkeys are fed a diet of
mainly corn and soybean meal along
with a supplement of vitamins and
minerals. They grow to full maturity
in bout 4 to 5 months, depending on
the desired market weight. In the
wild, young turkey's eat a lot of
insects, including grasshoppers, spiders
are very curious! Young turkeys have
been known to drown in a half-filled
pail of water-not just one bird, a bucket
full of birds, one after the other!
are very friendly! They can become pets.
This has been known to destroy their
commercial value as Thanksgiving dinner.
are not stupid, but they are different.
It is important to have plenty of waterers
and feeders available for them when
they are a day old and first trying
to find feed and water. They have been
known to starve to death by eating nothing,
or they eat litter instead of feed and
then starve to death-with feed near
control in a small flock of turkeys
on a farm is not difficult, but CARE,
SANITATION, and ISOLATION are the keys
to a successful disease control program.
Turkey can't be raised with chickens
because there are some diseases that
can kill turkeys but don't seem to bother
are some "notes" from the
National Turkey Federation:
2002, U.S. consumption of turkey is
expected to be more than 17 pounds per
person, the #4 protein choice for U.S.
production has more than tripled since
1970 ó the total value of turkey processorsí
production in 1999 reached more than
2002, U.S. growers raised 272 million
tom turkeys gobble. Hen turkeys make
a clicking noise.
turkeys cannot fly. Wild turkeys can
fly for short distances up to 55 miles
per hour and can run 20 miles per hour.
is National Turkey Lovers' Month!
Franklin, who proposed the turkey as
the official United States' bird, was
dismayed when the bald eagle was chosen
over the turkey. Franklin wrote to his
daughter, referring to the eagle's "bad
moral character," saying, "I wish the
bald eagle had not been chosen as the
representative of our country! The turkey
is a much more respectable bird, and
withal a true original native of America."
Game & Parks Commission: Wild Turkeys
Game & Parks Commission: Hear what
a Wild Turkey Sounds Like
Turkey Federation: Learn more about
the commercial turkey industry
to Raise a Few Turkeys? University of
Cam Resources: - Resources on incubating
and raising chickens, ducks and more.
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