Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner,
I though I would share some trivia and observations
I have made raising turkeys.
Oh, and by the way, we are NOT eating our turkeys
They have gobbled their way into our hearts
and we are in awe of these majestic birds.
You might remember, a number of weeks back,
we were questioning the sex of turkey #3.
We no longer wonder.
In the past week, this fellow has embraced his manhood,
and spends his day strutting in all his puffed-up splendor.
Male turkeys are slightly larger than females.
However, when they puff up their feathers,
they look enormous.
In actuality, their feathers are just standing on end.
Our turkeys are an heirloom breed known as Bourbon Reds.
They are supposedly quite tasty, but we may never know for sure.
Commercial turkeys, that most of America eats for Thanksgiving,
are a non-flying breed known as White Hollands.
(not quite as tasty!)
Turkeys have a long flap of skin that hangs from above their beak,
down along side it called the "snood."
The flap of skin that stretches from the underside of their
beak to their neck is called the "wattle."
Those bumpy growths on his head and neck are called
The curious thing that I have observed lately is how
dramatically these structures change their color.
I suppose it has something to do with emotion
Within a few moments, their head and neck
can change from bright scarlet...
to shades of fluorescent blue...
to almost white....
I have researched this phenomenon, but can find no
information on what the different colors mean.
Do I need to write a book about turkeys??
Some have a tuft of bristled hair-like feathers
on their chest called a "beard".
Only turkey #1 (Tom) has a beard.
My boys spend their day strutting their puffed-up selves
all around their pen,
trying their hardest to impress the hen.
They don't seem to realize that she is a captive audience.
With all of the courtship and mating happening here,
I am very surprised that our hen has yet to lay any eggs.
I am looking forward to trying a turkey egg.
Perhaps this spring I will try hatching some of these eggs
and adding to our "flock".
Living here in the east, we are privileged to have wild turkeys
living within our woods.
It's so sad to think that in the early 1900's these gentle, giant birds
were almost gone....due to over-hunting, and loss of habitat.
DID YOU KNOW.... Sesame Street's Big Bird's costume is
covered with thousands of yellow-dyed turkey feathers??