Being a chicken keeper for almost half my life has left me with a a rather interesting variety of poultry knowledge. Terms like wattle, spur and comb fly off the tongue as easily as head, shoulders, knees and toes.
Turkey-isms, I discussed the different personality traits of a turkey. In this post, I'd like to discuss some of the terminology that is unique to the turkey.
Everytime I think our turkeys are done growing, or changing, they seem to develop some new characteristic. Our Jake seems huge to me, but he just keeps getting bigger. Our turkeys are a heritage breed so they are slower to mature completely.
Her downplayed color and size vs. the Tom's brilliance and tendency to display, protects the female and keeps the danger focused on the Tom. Sort of a bad rap really, but like so many animals, the species as a whole has adapted to protect the female for her offspring rearing abilities.
When we first got turkeys, my husband and I would talk about the different "thingys" on our turkeys. "Those lumpy warty things on their head: or "that stiff feather thing on his chest." After a while of this ridiculousness, I decided it was time for a lesson in turkey anatomy.
Like chickens, turkeys also have a wattle, which on the turkey is commonly referred to as the dewlap. A turkey's dewlap is a single flap of very thin skin that spans from the base of the lower beak, to the upper throat.
Animal Diversity Web. Like Peacocks, turkeys have the ability to fan their tails for mating displays.
And like their pheasant relatives, turkeys not only gobble, but will "drum" or "boom". Our Tom started doing this a while back and it is an amazing sound that you almost feel, rather than hear. It's a deep, rapid thundering sound, almost like when someone takes a piece of sheet metal and bows it back and forth. It happens simultaneously to the gobble, but is a second sound, deeper and more resonating. Turkeys will also "spit", but only in the vocal sense. To me, it sounds more like a fast, short hissss. It is usually followed by a vibration or rapid shaking all over the turkey's body.
University of Mississippi . Our boy looks like he's fighting bugs pretty well!
Like the terms hen, and pullet or rooster and cockerel (referring to young vs. adult chickens), turkeys share a similar set of terms to describe age and life stages. Adult female turkeys and adult female chickens share the term "hen" after they reach one year of age, or being laying. Young female turkeys are called "jennys". An adult male is called a "gobbler" or more colloquially a "Tom". The use of "Tom" is similar to calling a male goat a "Billy" rather than a "buck". A young male turkey is called a "Jake" and baby turkeys are called "poults", but are commonly reffered to as "chicks".
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