Understanding the Life Cycle of a Turkey

Winter Season

As the hot days of summer recede into the seasons of fall and winter, gobblers and hens form units that travel and live together through the cold weather.

They spend almost their whole day looking for and eating whatever food they can find.

During Winter, Turkeys Band Together for Safety and to Find Enough for their Group to Survive.

As Spring Arrives

But as the longer days arrive, gobblers separate, jakes leave the hens and hens start dreaming of new poults.

The increased sunlight of spring brings on the turkey’s mating ritual.

Toms Fight for Their Place in the Pecking Order 

Over time, the gobblers set up a pecking order within their group. The dominant bird does the most breeding.  The other toms scurry to find receptive females and breed — while the dominant turkey is busy with his hens.

Wildlife departments schedule spring hunting season during the time that turkeys breed.  Fortunately, this happens to be the one time all year that turkey toms are distracted.

Hens Create Their Nests

Weeks before mating starts, hens start looking for a safe nesting place (usually on the ground). She prepares her nest and starts to roost nearby.

It takes the hens 10 to 15 days to lay the 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, after creating a new nest in another site.

It takes about 26 to 28 days for the poults to emerge.

Young Turks (Poults)

Although the poult can fly at the end of the first week of life, the hatchling spends all his time making noise & eating. Mom supplies the warmth, security and food.

Between Day 14 and 20, the poult is able to move to the tree roost with his/her mom.

The constant stream of  chatter is actually school-time for the youngsters. By the time they can roost in trees, they understand the various turkey calls.

They have also started to find their place in the family’s pecking order. The pecking order can change over time.

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Tomorrow: The Rest of the Story!

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‘Thinkin’ Spring’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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Don’t miss Sunday’s Centerfold Pictures!

4 legged animals in various stages of undress! 😉

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

 

 

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Published in: on April 14, 2011 at 12:07 am  Comments Off on Understanding the Life Cycle of a Turkey  
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