This so totally illustrates me!
Don’t be fooled by their reputation for being thoughtless. These roly-poly birds have a few tricks up their wings.
- They Can Fly
They’re not too bad at it, either. A wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) flying at full speed can reach 55 mph. This speediness is only a trait of wild turkeys, though; the domesticated variety was bred to be hefty, not aerodynamic.
- The Birds Were Named After The Country
The turkey is an American bird, so why does it share its name with a country on the other side of the world? Laziness, mostly. Turkish traders had been importing African guinea fowl to Europe for some time when North American explorers started shipping M. gallopavo back to the Old World. The American birds looked kind of like the African “turkey-cocks,” and so Europeans called them turkeys. Eventually, the word turkey came to describe M. gallopavo exclusively.
- They Nearly Went Extinct
Like the Galapagos tortoise and the bison, the turkey is just too delicious for its own good. By the early 20th century, the combination of overzealous hunting and habitat destruction had dwindled the turkey populations down to 30,000. With the help of conservationists, the turkey made a comeback. The birds are now so numerous that they’ve become a nuisance in some parts of the country.
- They’ve Got Two Stomachs
Like all birds, turkeys don’t have teeth, so they’ve got to enlist some extra help to break down their food. Each swallowed mouthful goes first into a chamber called a proventriculus, which uses stomach acid to start softening the food. From there, food travels to the gizzard, where specialized muscles smash it into smaller pieces.
- Female Turkeys Don’t Gobble
Turkeys of both sexes purr, whistle, cackle, and yelp, but only the males gobble. A gobble is the male turkey’s version of a lion’s roar, announcing his presence to females and warning his rivals to stay away. To maximize the range of their calls, male turkeys often gobble from the treetops.
- Eating Turkey Is Not Going To Knock You Out
Turkey meat does contain the amino acid tryptophan, and tryptophan can have a calming effect. However, you’d have to eat a whole lot of turkey—and nothing else—to notice any effect. The sleepy feeling that you feel after the big meal is more likely caused by carbs, alcohol, and generally eating to excess.
- Ben Franklin Never Proposed The Turkey As A National Bird
While it is true that the statesman and inventor had a thing for turkeys, he didn’t object to the bald eagle becoming a symbol of our fledgling nation. However, he did say that M. gallopavo was “a much more respectable Bird.”
- They Sleep In Trees
Due to their aforementioned deliciousness, turkeys have a lot of natural predators. As the sun goes down, the turkeys go up—into the trees. They start by flying onto a low branch, then clumsily hop their way upward, branch by branch, until they reach a safe height.
- Both Male And Female Turkeys Have Wattles
The wattle is the red dangly bit under the turkey’s chin. The red thing on top of the beak is called a snood. Both sexes have those, too, but they’re more functional in male turkeys. Studies have shown that female turkeys prefer mates with longer snoods, which may indicate health and good genes.
- They Have Really Good Vision
Turkeys’ eyes are really, really sharp. On top of that, they’ve got terrific peripheral vision. We humans can only see about 180 degrees, but given the placement of their eyes on the sides of their heads, turkeys can see 270 degrees. They’ve also got way better color vision than we do and can see ultraviolet light.
- They’re Fast On The Ground, Too.
You wouldn’t guess by looking at them, but turkeys can really book it when they need to. We already know they’re fast in the air; on land, a running turkey can reach up to 25 mph—as fast as a charging elephant.
- They’re Smart … But Not That Smart
Turkeys can recognize each other by sound, and they can visualize a map of their territory. They can also plan ahead and recognize patterns. In other ways, they’re very, very simple animals. Male turkeys will attack anything that looks remotely like a threat, including their own reflections in windows and car doors.
- Baby Turkeys Can Fend For Themselves
Baby turkeys, or poults, are precocial. This means that they’ve already got downy feathers when they’re born, and they can walk, run, and get their own food. Turkey moms defend their poults from predators, but that’s about all they need to do. The fluffy chicks are pretty self-sufficient.
- There Was No Turkey At The First Thanksgiving
The written menu listed “fowl,” but this most likely meant duck, goose, or grouse. The pilgrims did have a taste for bald eagle, however, so it’s possible the as-yet-undeclared national symbol was a central part of the feast.
- In The Event Of A Turkey Attack, Call The Police
They might look silly, but a belligerent turkey is no joke. Male turkeys work very hard to impress other turkeys, and what could be more impressive than attacking a bigger animal? Turkey behavior experts advise those who find themselves in close quarters with the big birds to call the police if things get mean. Until the authorities arrive, they say, your best bet is to make yourself as big and imposing as you possibly can. Don’t believe it? Check out this post: Wild Turkeys Fight Back
So, I’m on this rant about Turkeys and came up with this cool list of Turkey Trivia and other useful (or not) information. Did you know?
- The wild turkey is native to Northern Mexico and the Eastern United States.
- Turkeys lived in North America almost ten million years ago .
- The turkey was domesticated in Mexico and brought to Europe in the 16th century.
- The American Indians hunted wild turkey for its meat as early as 1000 A.D. They made turkey “callers” out of turkey wing bones. The feathers were used to decorate ceremonial clothing. The spurs on the legs of wild tom turkeys were used on arrowheads and the feathers were used to stabilize the arrows.
- Adult turkeys can have 3,500 feathers.
- Most turkey feathers are composted. Feathers are spread out on fields, then plowed under in the spring. The feathers decompose and fertilize the soil.
- After the female turkey mates, she prepares a nest under a bush in the woods and lays her tan and speckled brown eggs. She incubates as many as 18 eggs at a time.
- The average turkey hen will lay 110 to 115 eggs during a 28-30 week period.
- Turkey eggs hatch in 28 days.
- Turkey eggs are light tan with brown specks and are larger than chicken eggs.
- A turkey egg weighs from 80 grams to 100 grams (3 to 4 ounces).
- A baby turkey is called a “poult”.
- When the babies hatch they flock with their mother all year (even through the winter). For the first two weeks the poults are unable to fly. The mother roosts on the ground with them during this time.
- Wild turkeys spend the night in trees. They roost (perch) on the branches.
- Gobbling turkeys can be heard a mile away on a quiet day.
- Turkeys don’t really have ears like ours, but they have very good hearing.
- A large group of turkeys is called a flock.
- Turkeys are related to pheasants.
- As male turkeys gets older they fight a lot. They may even attack people.
- Turkeys can see movement almost a hundred yards away.
- Turkeys do not see well at night.
- The turkey has an unusual looking bare head with a beak, caruncle, snood and wattle.
- Turkeys’ heads change colors when they become excited.
- The male turkey is called a tom or gobbler. The female turkey is called a hen.
- A turkey has 157 bones!
- According to the Guinness Book of Records the largest turkey raised was 39.09 kilograms (86 pounds) — about the size of a large dog.
- In the wild, Turkeys can live as long as 10 years. They spend their lives roosting in trees and flying at up to fifty miles per hour.
Ok, so I was looking for an image for a Prosperity Project post, and ended up on this website… I’m never eating meat again! I say this… and I think it might even be true. I don’t want one dime of my money to go to support the companies that do this shit!!
This really pisses me off! If I actually follow through on this, my life just got way more complicated!! Me not eating meat is one thing, but what about my dogs? I have been making my own dog food with turkey and rice. It’s easy, it seems (now I’m not so sure) to be healthy for my dogs, and up until today, I felt pretty good about it. Now, I’m not so sure… How can the food we eat be even remotely good for us when this is what happens to it?
- Over 300 million turkeys are killed every year in the United States, 40 million of them specifically for Thanksgiving.
- These valued lives that humans breed, are killed when just a few weeks old. Their short lives are filled with pain and misery.
- All turkeys get for Thanksgiving and Christmas is a terrifying, violent, death.
- The majority of these are raised in factory farms where they are stacked in cages in windowless sheds where they can’t live naturally (or happily) in any sense of the word.
- They are debeaked and declawed without anesthesia, making it difficult or even impossible for them to eat.
- Often they cannot move, and many die in the conditions before they are fully grown.
- Those who survive are fed until they are grotesquely obese and cannot stand because their skeletons are too weak from confinement.
- Factory-farmed turkeys are fattened up so quickly that often their legs cannot support them.
They collapse and try to drag themselves along on their wings.
Tens of thousands die because they cannot get to food and water points.
- Over-burdened in this way, and trapped in close quarters with too little oxygen, many turkeys die when their hearts explode from the physical stress.
Most birds are fed a cocktail of antibiotics to keep them alive yet diseases run rife in the filthy conditions.
Male turkeys are bred to be so big they are unable to mate naturally.
They have to be clamped upside down and their seed taken by a farm-worker, collected and forcibly injected into the females.
To stop them cannibalizing each other in the cramped, unnatural conditions, turkeys have their beaks sliced off, which can leave them in permanent pain.
At the slaughterhouse, most are hung upside down and dragged through an electrified waterbath to stun them.
It often does not work and many birds are fully conscious when their throats are cut.
Some are even alive when they are plunged into boiling water to loosen their feathers.
Others may be killed by gassing; often birds gasp and flap violently for several minutes.
- Beating a turkey to death with a crowbar is an acceptable practice in U.S. farming of animals. Still not illegal.
- Turkeys do not receive even the scant protection given to pigs and cows by the Humane Slaughter Act and many are tied upside down still alive and conveyed to the part of the factory where they are knifed.
- Not all die right away and suffer unspeakably by bleeding slowly to death.
There’s more, and it’s way worse, and I’ll spare you the details. If you’re curious, follow this link. I do not understand why there is so much disrespect for living things. What I do understand is that it is pervasive and undeniable. But where did it come from? How can a person sleep at night knowing they are managing, operating, owning, or simply working in places like that? Are they totally anesthetized? Do they think only humans are alive?
So… now, having posted all this… I’m going to go to the kitchen, wash out my big stainless steel cook pot, fill it with water, dump in a fair amount of rice, and beans, and … yes … ground turkey. And I’m going to feed it to my dogs – whom I love – and I’m going to send Reiki and blessings and all kinds of good energy into that food … and to the living beings that agreed to be made part of it … and I’m going to be prayerful and grateful … and I hope that’s good enough!
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