November 11, 2014

11 Unique Facts About Turkeys



Turkeys in East Weymouth, Mass.

Turkeys in East Weymouth, Mass.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Its traditional dinner is centered around turkey.

How well do you know about turkey? Or the wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo?

Each year the current president gives two turkeys a pardon. Allegedly, the first presidential pardon was given by Harry Truman in 1947—to a turkey—spurring an annual tradition of allowing two turkeys (one for the president, the other for the vice president) to be spared each Thanksgiving. Some of these pardoned turkeys have gone to Frying Pan Farm Park in northern Virginia. More recently they have gone to Washington’s Mount Vernon.*****

Turkeys are intelligent and sensitive animals that are highly social. They create lasting social bonds with each other and are very affectionate; rather similar to dogs.****

America’s turkeys almost went extinct in 1930 from loss of forest habitat and overhunting.  Recovery efforts over 80 years have succeeded. Now an estimated 7 million wild turkeys in North and Central America.*****

I’ve prepared a quiz for you, 10 questions with an 11th bonus question. Use it during your Thanksgiving festivities. Let me know how well you and your family/friends do.


  1. A young poult (baby turkey) is up, out of the nest and walking around searching for food within _______ hours. It is one of up to _____ siblings. Can a hen (female turkey) lay a fertilized egg without mating?
  2. Which state is tops in turkey production?
  3. Name the two United States towns named Turkey. Also name the town in Pennsylvania’s Somerset county which includes the word Turkey.
  4. How many feathers does a turkey have at maturity?
  5. What do the turkey and the octopus have in common?
  6. Besides feather color, how can you determine a turkey’s gender?
  7. What disease do turkeys share with the humans who dine on them?
  8. How did the turkey get its name?
  9. How fast can turkeys run?
  10. How many distinct vocalizations do you hear from turkeys, in addition to the male’s distinctive gobble which can be heard a mile away?****


How much turkey did the typical American devour in 2009? What is the average weight of the turkey on the Thanksgiving table? How much did the heaviest turkey ever raised weigh?

To learn the answers click on MORE


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