During the dark days of fall, gobblers tend to flock together. But as the longer days arrive, gobblers separate, jakes leave the hens and hens start dreaming of new poults in their nests.
Thus, the increased sunlight of spring summons the turkey’s mating ritual.
Getting Ready for the Mating Dance
Over time, the gobblers establish a pecking order within their group. The dominant bird does the breeding. Since he isn’t into nappies and raising the young, he constantly scurries off to find (yet) another mate.
Wildlife departments schedule spring hunting season during this time that turkeys breed.
The same bird that “doesn’t do nappies,” also expects the females to come to him. Spring hunters call gobblers, hoping the male will do the opposite of what happens in nature — the gobbler going to the hen-sounding hunter.
Peak Gobbling Periods
The two times turkeys “gobble-obble” most are – during spring mating season and when the hens start their nesting. Most of the breeding is finished by the nesting, but big gobblers become more aggressive and try to find the remaining receptive females.
Gobbling starts as soon as daylight starts to appear, while turkeys are still in their roosts. Once the gobblers hit the ground, they start calling hens in earnest. This calling continues until the warmest hours of the day.
Just before it is time for the evening roost , males start some serious calling. They may have been looking “in all the wrong places,” but “at closing time,” all the hens start to look beautiful.
They don’t want to roost alone, so they may start their strut. The strut is actually the way most turkeys are shown (see photo): chests out, wings down and tail feathers in full array.
Biologists believe that the midmorning hours are when most mating occurs. Weeks before this takes place, hens start looking for a nesting place (usually on the ground). They prepare the spot and start to roost nearby.
It takes the hens 10 to 15 days to lay the whole clutch (group) of eggs. She feeds before and after laying.
If, while she is feeding, the nest is attacked and destroyed, she will breed again while creating a nest in another location.
It takes about 26 to 28 days for the poults to emerge.
Come back for further adventures with our hens, poults and gobblers! They walk, they talk, they gobble!
Will the little poults survive? Will their fathers care? Stay tuned.
This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com