More About the Life & Times of a Turkey Poult

This is a continuation of yesterday’s article on turkey poults:  The Life of a Turkey Poult.  It covered:  nest-building, breeding, incubation and birthing.


The First Weeks of Life

The first 2 weeks, the poults stay close to mom’s side — for warmth and food.  They spend these

Turkey Poults Grow Rapidly; They Weigh 6 - 8 lbs. by the Time They are 1 year.

weeks on the ground, although the poults can fly by the end of their first week of life!

They are constantly learning at this time; they spend their days: feeding, sleeping, dusting, preening and peeping. By the end of the third week, the poults are able to roost in trees with their mother.

Cold weather can delay the process of moving to the trees.  By the time they roost in trees, they have  a large vocabulary.

A Poult’s Diet Changes 

In the early days, poults need a steady diet of protein:  beetles, grasshoppers and other insects.  However, as they are out looking for these in the open, they become food for hawks and other predators. Thus, they have to balance their hunger with their fear of being eaten!

During the spring and summer months, poults spend most of their time feeding – to fuel the rapid growth of their bodies.  Besides insects, they eat grasses, leaves, plants, berries and agricultural crops.

Because we make scratching noises when we are calling turkeys, we assume they only eat things below them.  However, they also stretch to nab berries overhead and even jump to snatch a morsel from a low-hanging branch.

These birds use their scratching skills year-round, but especially in the fall and winter months.

As the months roll into autumn, the numbers of insects and vegetation sources decreases, leaving the poults to start feeding on acorns and other mast.*

As the poults grow into jakes and jennies, their diet changes from almost all insects to:  10% insects and 90% vegetation.

The Pecking Order

Over the course of their lives, their rank in the pecking order of their flock may change.

At the end of their first year, the jakes leave their mothers and follow the older males or form new flocks of young jakes. Jennies will stay with their mothers, learning skills they will need as hens.


For more info:  How to Use the Life Cycle of the Turkey to Your Advantage!


* mast = ‘nuts of forest trees used as feed….” taken from the Free Online Dictionary


This blog is a companion to my website:  


Published in: on May 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm  Comments Off on More About the Life & Times of a Turkey Poult  
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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.


Tomorrow: The Rest of the Story!


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


Don’t miss Sunday’s Centerfold Pictures!

4 legged animals in various stages of undress! 😉


This blog is a companion to my website:



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