A Turkey Breeding Video

The following video shows the slow dance of turkey mating.  The film is almost 10 minutes.  If you advance the picture to 2 minutes, you will be closer to the action.

 

Note that the gobbler is watchful until he is breeding.  That is the time of greatest danger of getting shot.

 

I get questions about how long it takes for a turkey to breed — I felt this video answered the question.  The video is from You Tube.

Next time: We will return to mistakes turkey hunters make!

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

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Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 7:47 am  Comments Off on A Turkey Breeding Video  
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Talkin’ Turkey: The Mating Game, Part 2**

Turkeys Before Mating Season Begins!

You are probably reading other hunter’s blogs, as  I am.  There seem to be a lot of confused turkeys in North America.  I’m relieved to see I’m not the only one who can’t figure out this weather.

The gist of what I’m reading is that — because of the cold, damp mornings, turkeys are waiting until the warmth of mid-day or early afternoon to breed. How are things in your neck of the woods?  Does this hold true in your area?

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch …

The hens have found a place to build their nests.  It is usually on the ground. After preparing her nest, each hen roosts nearby.

After breeding, she returns to the nest and starts laying a group of eggs over the next 10 to 15 days.  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.

Meanwhile, The Gobblers Are …

The boys have been tuning their voices, dusting off their spurs and arranging their feathers for fullest effect.  A guy’s work is never done!

The sound of gobbling fills the air as the males are calling the hens to them for mating.  Although the dominant male mates most, the other gobblers scurry around to find receptive females while the dominant male is busy.

As the mating season progresses, the calls get more strident and insistent – as more hens leave for their nests and the incubation period.

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, gobblers start some serious calling.  They may have been looking for love  ‘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 strut their stuff.  The strut  just as we imagine most turkeys  (see photo): chests out, wings down and tail feathers in full array.

Finally

Are you practicing your turkey calls?  See yesterday’s article for the location of free audio info.  The second thing you should be doing pre-season is scouting your proposed turkey hunting area.

More on this subject — next time!

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** Changed a few words and punctuation for clarity.

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

Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 11:23 am  Comments Off on Talkin’ Turkey: The Mating Game, Part 2**  
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Talkin’ Turkey: Let the Mating Begin!

Biologists have been giving us new insights into the habits and habitats of turkeys.  Everything we learn can help us out-fox these clever birds.

As the Seasons Change

Yes, Our Boys are Very Busy ... Preening and Strutting!

During the colder months, gobblers (adult turkeys)  flock together.  As the days grow longer, gobblers start to think about girls (hens and jennys).

In the spring months, the jakes (young males) leave their mothers. As this group of offspring grows older, the mother hens start dreaming of raising new poults (infant turkeys).  Things are changing.

The increase in sunlight hours in spring brings about the turkeys’ spring mating ritual. States that have spring turkey seasons set the dates when turkeys are spending their time breeding  instead of watching hunters.

Gobblers Think They Are ‘Hot Stuff’

By the time breeding begins, the gobblers have established the pecking order within their group.  The “biggest, baddest’ gobbler gets to breed with the most females.  While “Big Boy” is out romancing one hen, the other gobblers are looking for other receptive females – before “Big Boy” gets back.

Looking at the image above, it is easy to see that gobblers have convinced themselves that they are ‘hot stuff’ and that the hens should come running before the head gobbler tires of the mating game (an unlikely occurence).

In spite of the fact that gobblers don’t do a lick of work towards getting the nests ready, nor do they take a tour of duty during incubation time, nor do they even give a morsel to the new poults, these guys still expect the females to come to them for mating!

Applying What You’ve Learned

As a spring hunter, you will be trying to get the males to come to you.  From the above paragraph, you see that this not the way gobblers think:  They call the hens to come to them! (Those girls need to unionize!)

While hens are finding and creating safe nests for their young, what are the gobblers doing?  Well … preening and strutting, of course!

In the weeks before turkey season begins, you have 2 major jobs.  The first one is to get a turkey caller or two — and start practicing.

I found an online site that will give you the sounds you need to learn to copy in the wild.  It’s the National Wild Turkey Federation (complete with an explanation and audio of each sound).

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Next Time: the rest of this article.

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

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 12:05 am  Comments Off on Talkin’ Turkey: Let the Mating Begin!  
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Turkey Mating Ritual in the Spring

 

Anxious Gobbler Looking for a Hen!

Anxious Gobbler Looking for a Hen!

 

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.

Finally

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.

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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.

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

Published in: on January 16, 2009 at 7:00 am  Comments (1)  
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