The Wattle on a "Tom" Turkey

This photo is featured in the November/December 2004 NEBLINE Newsletter.

Domestic Turkey Domestic Turkey
Domestic Turkey Domestic Turkey
Domestic Turkey

The head and neck of a turkey is "bare" - turkeys have a wattle. The female turkey is called a "hen". The male turkey is called a "tom" or "gobbler". The baby turkey is called a "poult".

Turkey production began as early as 1916 in western Nebraska. The Agricultural Experiment Station in Scottsbluff recommended raising turkeys as a way farmers could control grasshoppers to save alfalfa fields.

Commercially-raised domesticated turkeys (those raised for their meat on farms) have white plumage ("plumage = feathers" see the turkey at the left). A wild turkey has dark plumage like in the photo below.

Wild Turkey - USDA photo

In 2002, U.S. growers raised
272 million turkeys

Ben FranklinA Bit of History: Benjamin 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."

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Also see:

Learn more about 4-HHEY KIDS! Are you interested in learning more about turkeys, ducks, chickens and other poultry - then, check out 4-H!

ADULTS! Do you want to share experiences with youth and help make a difference? Then, check out 4-H!

If you live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, fill out the on-line 4-H interest form, available HERE

If you live outside of Lancaster County, Nebraska, contact your local Extension office. Find your office HERE


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