The popularity of turkeys in North America came about in an interesting way. Turkeys are thought to have been domesticated more than 2,000 years ago in Pre-Columbian Mexico. In fact, turkey fossils found in southern United States and Mexico date back more than 5 million years.
During the 1500s, European explorers captured turkeys on our continent, brought them to Europe, and then later brought them back to North America in the 17th century. If you think about it, turkeys could have walked their way up north faster than journeying back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean to get here!
Following are a few turkey facts. Much of this data was gathered from the Farmer’s Almanac website. This site is an excellent resource for an array of fascinating articles on animal and plant life. You might want to check them out.
Male turkeys are called toms.
Female turkeys are called hens.
Baby turkeys are called poults.
Male turkeys gobble to attract hens.
Females do not gobble. They make a clicking noise.
Turkey eggs have an incubation period of 28 days.
Wild turkeys can be aggressive toward humans and pets in attempt to show pecking order.
Wild turkeys eat seeds, nuts, insects, and berries.
A wild turkey lives from three to four years. A domestic turkey lives about 26 weeks.
The bright red, loose skin on a turkey’s neck is called a wattle.
A group of wild turkeys is called a flock. A group of domesticated turkeys is called a rafter or gang.
Mature turkeys have approximately 3,500 feathers.
Turkeys are cable of making more than 20 distinct vocalizations.
Domesticated turkeys cannot fly, but wild turkeys can fly for short distances.
The bird’s gizzard helps break down food and other objects such as stones.
46 million turkeys are sold for Thanksgiving.
The ratio of white to dark meat on a turkey is typically 70 to 30.
The average person in the U. S. eats about 15 pounds of turkey in a year.
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