8 Fun Facts About Turkeys

8 Fun Facts About Turkeys

If you’ve visited our farm in recent years, you’ve probably seen the newest addition to our farm animal center: two domesticated turkeys named Daisy and Tom. Read on for some fun facts about these fascinating birds!


1. The scientific name for the domesticated turkey is Meleagris gallopavo. Male turkeys are sometimes referred to as “toms” or “stags,” while female turkeys are called “hens” and baby turkeys might be called “poults” or “turkeylings.”

2. The skin over a turkey’s beak is called a “snood,” while the skin under a turkey’s beak is called a “wattle.” A long snood on a male turkey is an indication of good health.

3. Turkeys have excellent senses. Though their ears are internal, they hear very well. They can see about 270 degrees and can see in color.


4. Though domesticated turkeys are grounded, wild turkeys are quite good at flying, usually staying low to the ground and reaching speeds as fast as 55mph! They usually only fly short distances though, so you’re not likely to see them flying that fast.

5. There are two theories as to why this bird is called a “turkey,” One theory says that Europeans, upon arriving in America, incorrectly identified them as a type of guineafowl, like the ones which were being imported into Europe by Turkish merchants. They called them “turkey fowl,” which eventually was shortened. The other theory says that when the birds were brought to England from the Americas, via Turkish merchant ships from the Middle East, they were called “turkey birds” after the merchants who brought them.


6. Prior to the late 1800s, turkey was considered a luxury in the United Kingdom. Goose or beef was more common as a celebratory dinner. For example, in Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, all Bob Cratchit and his family had for Christmas dinner was a goose, until Scrooge bought him a turkey.

7. Turkey eggs are not usually sold or eaten as food because of the high demand for whole turkeys, and because they don’t produce eggs as fast as chickens or ducks. One single turkey egg costs about $3.50, much more than one carton containing a dozen chicken eggs.

8. Despite the popular belief, Benjamin Franklin didn’t exactly advocate for the turkey to be the National Bird of the United States, instead of the eagle. However, in a letter to his daughter, he did claim that turkeys were a “much more respectable bird.”

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