About think Differently About
Sheep in religion and mythology
Sheep in Art
Help Our Sheep
Animal Rights and Why they Matter
Sentience in Farm Animals
Farm Animal Facts
Why Animals matter:
A Religious and Philosophical perspective
Animals in art
Portrait Gallery: Animals do Not
all Look the Same
Links: Action You Can Take
A Memorial to Sooty
A Memorial to Joey
A Memorial To Patch
Below is a
random selection of interesting or unusual facts about
familiar gobble of a turkey may be heard a mile
distant on a quiet still day. Male turkeys
gobble while the females make a clicking sound.
Turkey is indigenous to the Americas.
Native American name for turkey is 'firkee',
from this the turkey may have got his name. Some
claim that Christopher Columbus named the turkey
"tuka," the Tamil word for peacock. Here we have
to remember that at the time Columbus thought he
was in India and not in the New World,
considering this, this definition seems more
plausible. It has also been suggested that a
physician who served under Columbus, Luis de
Torres, named the bird "tukki," a Hebrew word
for big bird.
Benjamin Franklin called the Turkey "a bird of
courage" he thought the turkey truly deserved to
be the national symbol of America instead of the
Bald Engle, whom he felt was "a coward".
Turkey is called a Poult, a fryer is the name
given to a turkey under sixteen weeks of age,
while a turkey five to seven months old is
called a young rooster and a turkey 15 months or
older is termed mature.
group of Turkeys is called a rafter rather than
a flock or a gobble as most people incorrectly
refer to them.
Turkey senses. Auditory: Turkeys have no
external ears but a keen sense of hearing
nonetheless. Visual: At about 270 degrees
turkeys have a wide field of vision and can see
movement almost a hundred yards away. Olfactory:
Turkeys have poor sense of smell. Gustation:
Turkeys have an excellent sense of taste.
you know that a turkey has a wingspan of nearly
six feet. In the open forests in which they live
they are by far the largest bird.
usual lifespan of a turkey is 10 years.
Turkeys have been around for almost 10 million
years and diverged from pheasants
Turkeys were domesticated by the Aztecs long
before they were introduced into Europe by the
Spaniards. The King of Spain was so impressed by
the new bird that he ordered every ship returning from
the New World to bring along 10 turkeys in
addition to the gold and silver that they
looted. The popularity of the turkey soon spread
throughout Europe replacing the peacock at
are two species of turkeys, the wild turkey
(Meleagris gallopavo) from Mexico and the US,
and the ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata or
Agriocharis ocellata) originally from Yucatan
and Guatemala, the later may have been
domesticated by the Mayans. The modern
domesticated turkey is a descendant of the wild
Wattle:The fleshy growth under a
turkey’s throat. Snood: the long red fleshy part
that grows from the forehead over the bill.
Caruncle: the red-pink fleshy growth
on the head and upper neck of the turkey which
turns red during courtship or when the bird
is angry. Feathers: A mature turkey has
about 3,500 feathers. The heaviest male wild turkey
recorded weighed 38 lbs.
Contrary to popular belief turkeys can fly, at
least wild turkeys, their domestic counterparts
are now not able to do so due to selective
breeding. Wild turkeys are capable of flying at
speeds of up to 55 miles per hour for short
distances and can travel on the ground at speeds
of 25 miles per hour.
the wild turkeys sleep in trees, furthermore
they prefer oak.
wild male turkeys fight for dominance to win the
right to mate with several females.
turkeys unlike their factory farmed counterparts
have dark feathers which provide excellent
camouflage in their natural woodland habitats.
bare skin on the throat and head of Turkeys,
which is usually grey, changes colour to
brilliant shades of red when he is
excited or distressed.
Domesticated turkeys weigh twice as much as a
wild turkey, this is because they are fattened in
factory farms and fed growth hormones and have
no room due to close confinement in which to
exercise. For more information:
Turkeys forage for food such as acorns, seeds,
and wild berries.
turkeys are called Toms or Gobblers. This is perhaps due
to the gobble gobble sound which they make along
with grunts whilst strutting about shaking their
feathers trying to attract females for mating.
Like female chickens, female turkeys are called
Turkeys are affectionate
The wild turkey the early Europeans and
colonists encountered was not the bird that
dominates 20th-century hunters' talk. In
anecdote after anecdote from the 17th through
the 19th centuries, the wild turkey was
characterized as showing an almost Disneylike
friendliness towards people. Wild turkeys, as
the first settlers found them, walked right up
to them. Sadly, the birds were likely to be met
with a bang for their bravery. Here are some
examples of early encounters between Man and the
Bird as told by the settlers.
"Wild turkeys drinking at the river were so
undisturbed by a nearby hunter that he took away
their broods of chicks without difficulty."
"They came so close to people they could be shot
with a pistol." "They hovered close to our fire
so we killed them all." "Wild turkeys would come
to our house and roost in the trees with the
chickens. They often sat with their young on my
fences so trustingly that I found it difficult
to bring myself to shoot them."
Extract from an article by By Karen Davis,
Turkeys Want to Be Friends, Not Food - UPC
Winter 1999/2000 Poultry Press
"turkey trot" is a dance so named because of the
short jerky steps which resemble that of a
Turkeys in religion and mythology.
The Aztecs not only used turkeys as a source of
food, meat and eggs and the feathers
extensively as decoration, but the turkey was
also of religious significance. The turkey was
considered one of the manifestations of their
trickster god, Tezcatlipoca, a god who was
elevated to the highest position in the Aztec
pantheon. The Aztecs dedicated two religious
festivals a year to the "huexolotlin," the Aztec
name for turkey. Turkey eggshells which had been
saved during the months between ceromonies were
strewn upon the streets to honour the god who
supplied them with a plentiful scource of food.
The Mayans used turkey parts in sacred
ceremonies for healing, planting and praying for
rain. In the tradition of Native Americans
the turkey is associated with spirituality and
the honouring of Earth mother. It was
believed that shamans were able to turn
themselves into turkeys and were thus able to
prowl around other villages unrecognised. In the
tradition of the Hopi creation myths, a male
turkey was the first bird to try to raise the
sun in the sky. The turkey is a totem animal and
is called the "give away eagle" or "life
giver" and is associated with shared blessings
such as harvest and fertility. More information
may be found:
Talking Turkey: Myth and Truth About the
Turkey unfortunately has become part of the
Christian tradition of roasting and cooking a
bird to celebrate the birth of its founder Jesus
whom followers of Christianity believe to be the son of
God and the "Prince of peace". Previously here in the
UK a goose or boar was eaten until the
introduction of turkeys in the 16th century. Ten
million Turkeys are slaughtered in the UK alone
each Christmas, please refer to
if you have
not already done so.
In addition to Christmas the Turkey, again
roasted, is also a part of the festivities
to mark Thanksgiving Day in the USA.
Thanksgiving was originally a Christian celebration to give thanks to God and its
origins may trace back to harvest festivals
celebrated by many cultures, and also to
commemorate the deliverance of the English
settlers by Native Americans after the harsh
winter at Plymouth, Massachusetts, but today it is now
primarily a secular holiday. Rather like
Christmas people stay home to celebrate with
family and friends and also like Christmas this
celebration includes a feast, usually a roasted
turkey. Why a turkey? Traditionally a goose was
roasted in England to celebrate harvest time, as
the wild turkey was more abundant than geese
eventually the turkey became the chosen
Turkeys in art.
Painted in 1876 the painting below was planned as a
decorative panel, rendered in oil on canvas.
French impressionist Claude Monet painted this group
of foraging turkeys on the lawn of his patron,
Ernest Hoschede's, estate in Montgeron where Monet
and his family temporarily lived for a while.
The subject was considered perhaps rather unusual
and the introduction of animals was rare in Monet's
work. The painting is housed at the Musee d'Orsay in
Claude Monet's The Turkeys.
Turkey have a large
vocabulary. Yes that's right! Wild Turkeys have been found to have
twenty distinct and specific vocalisations.
"They recognise one
another by their voices as well as their head characteristics" To
turkeys the voices of other turkeys are unique and recognisable"
William Healy quoted in the Inner world of farm Animals by Amy Hatkoff
Turkeys are more intelligent that you think. Tom Savage is a
poultry scientist and animal science professor at Oregon State
University and a nationally known researcher. Below is an
extraction from an article By Aaron Hougham, Barometer Staff writer
explaining research conducted by Tom savage and his colleagues into the
behaviour of turkeys.
"He said that one
popular misconception is that turkeys are so stupid they will stare at
rain until they drown.
He and his colleagues searched for an answer to this phenomenon.
In the early 1990s they discovered a genetic condition called tetanic
torticollar spasms. This condition causes some birds to act abnormally,
sometimes cocking their heads and starting at the sky for 30 seconds or
"It's an example of how a misunderstood animal behavior becomes
identified as proof that the animal is extremely lacking in
intelligence," Savage said in a recent press release.
Providing another example of their intelligence, Savage had an
illustration most college students could relate to.
"If you throw an apple to a group of turkeys, they'll play with it
together," he said. "Kind of like football."
Savage asks, "If turkeys are so dumb, then why do they socialize
To read the full article please click
Turkeys: much smarter than you think
I had to sum up my experience with the wild
turkey, the most profound thing that I
discovered is that they are much more complex in
their intelligence, their behavior and their
problem- solving ability than I ever imagined.
They are sentient beings. By every measure and
every definition of intelligence, in their
environment and in their world they are without
questions much more intelligent than I was.
Hutto quoted in the Inner world of farm Animals
by Amy Hatkoff
All factory farmed turkeys
live their entire lives inside dark and filthy sheds, they have no fresh
air, no sunlight and no grass to walk on. Because they have been
selectively bred to grow bigger than would be normal in the wild these
turkeys suffer agonising pain standing on broken and deformed legs
caused because of their unnatural weight. Please read:
United Poultry Concerns
includes a free
e-book: More Than a Meal
"This scholarly and authoritative book examines the cultural and literal
history, as well as the natural history and biological needs and
concerns of turkeys. And much more!"
Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals,
PETA Media Center > Factsheets > Turkeys: Factory-Farmed Torture on the
The secret life of turkeys - Go Vegan / Vegetarian -
Campaigns - Animal Defend
Important please note:
I am not an
animal expert of any kind just your average person who
loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the
plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a
writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in
mind that the information included in this website has
been researched to the best of my ability and any
misinformation is quite by accident but of course
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