Monday, May 21, 2012

Turkeys wild and domestic

Wild turkeys have become common in many areas. Wild turkey populations have increased from a low of 1.3 million birds in 1973 to nearly 7 million birds across North America today, according to the National Wild turkey Federation. You may already have turkeys gracing your property. I took this picture from my deck. They often display their tails within sight of our windows. I hear them gobbling, both near and echoing across the valley.

All turkeys are the same breed, but their different colors separate them as varieties. Bronze is the traditional one, but white, black, buff, slate, lilac and multi-colored versions such as Narragansett, Bourbon Red and  Nebraskan are among the possibilities.
Royal Palm turkeys are small, topping out at 22 pounds for mature toms, compared with 33 to 36 pounds for other breeds. Their white and black markings that suit them as garden ornaments.  Although Royal Palms have been selected for their beauty, they did not lose their ability to forage for themselves. Royal Palm turkeys will also raise their own poults for you.

If you keep domestic turkeys, you may find a wild male eager to join your flock for a season. Farmers of the past generally welcomed such interlopers, for their contribution to the vitality of the flock. The offspring won’t retain the distinctive coloring of Royal Palms, but that may not be important to you. All turkeys are sociable and companionable with people.

They are good table birds, if you find yourself with more than you want as ornaments.

No comments: