Nov 28, 2014

Twelve Turkey Facts

Here are a few tidbits to digest along with your turkey leftovers. Turkeys have been roaming North and South America for over 10-million years.

Over short flights, a wild turkey can top out at about 55 miles per hour (89 km/h). Domestic turkeys cannot fly because they are too heavy.

The largest turkey on record weighed 86 pounds.

Turkeys (and many birds) ingest small stones that go into a part of their stomachs called the gizzard, which helps the turkey break down food. This process is necessary because turkeys, like all birds, don't have teeth.

Turkeys have two stomachs: the glandular stomach that softens the food with gastric juices and the gizzard that grinds it up for the intestines or the first stomach, if needed.

The feces of male turkeys are J-shaped, and also straighter and larger than a female's, which look more spiral shaped.

There is a festival honoring turkeys, the Eldon, Missouri Turkey Festival which is held each October. It includes a turkey egg toss, turkey calling seminars and a 5-K turkey trot.

Wild turkeys prefer to sleep in trees, because their eyesight is so poor.

The tops of male turkeys are not only colorful, but highly variable. Males normally have almost no feathers on their heads, but when it comes time to breed, the colors can change between red, white, and blue.

Male turkeys gobble, female turkeys do not gobble, they make a clicking noise.

Mature turkeys have about 3,500 feathers at maturity.

The red bumps on a turkey's head are called caruncles.