10 things about ... turkeys

You can also see: 10 things about...ice cream, easter eggs, pigs, turkeys, beavers, nettles, marshmallows, pumpkins.

At least 10 things you might not know (and maybe one or two made-up “facts”)
  1. Turkey looking into cameraTurkeys are believed to have existed in the wild for over one million years! The modern farmed turkey emerged from the wild species native to North America, where they tend to live in open forests.

  2. Turkeys can grow wingspans of up to 2 metres.

  3. The vast majority of turkeys (90%) are intensively farmed for their meat. Traditionally, turkeys were mainly reared for the Christmas dining table but today they are produced throughout the year. In 2008 almost 15 million turkeys were slaughtered in the UK.

  4. Turkeys are normally slaughtered at between 9 and 21 weeks old, depending on the size of bird being produced. The natural lifespan of a turkey is around 10 years.

  5. There are several different versions of where the name Turkey came from. The Native American name for the bird is apparently the Firkee, so you can see what happened there. Another version is that the bird arrived from Turkey although I’m not sure how that explains the name.

  6. The fleshy bit hanging down beneath a turkey’s chin is called the wattle and the fleshy bit over the face is the snood. When the turkey is excited or angry, the wattle and snood can change colour from grey to red, white and blue! There have been no recorded cases of a turkey combining all three colours into a Union Jack, yet!

  7. It’s only male turkeys that gobble. Gobbling is a mating call and can be mainly heard in spring but male turkeys like to gobble when settling down for the night or when they hear loud noises, too. The females click or cluck.

  8. Turkeys have approximately 3,500 feathers!

  9. Turkeys have great hearing but no outer ears! They see in colour, have a terrible sense of smell but a great sense of taste. You will never see a turkey in a chequered yellow tank-top.

  10. turkeys The wild turkey can fly at the surprisingly fast speed of 55mph. They can also run at an unbelievable 25mph. Unfortunately the domestic bird can do neither of these things anymore as they are too heavy due to being selectively bred to provide huge amounts of meat very quickly.

  11. Turkeys do not vote for Christmas.

  12. A “founding father” of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, wrote to his daughter that he would have preferred the US emblem to be a turkey and not a bald eagle. He thought that the turkey ‘though a little vain and silly, a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on.’

Did you spot the 'untruths'? Let us know which fact you think is false.

Think you can come up with something better?! Get creative and make up one of your own to replace it.

We'll give everyone who enters a "Love Us, Not Eat Us" animal window sticker and put the best online. Write to education@vegsoc.org (don't forget to include your name and address if you would like a window sticker!)


You can also see: 10 things about...ice cream, easter eggs, pigs, turkeys, beavers, nettles, marshmallows, pumpkins.


Privacy | | Contact

The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom Limited
Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham WA14 4QG

Registered Charity No. 259358 Registered Company No. 959115

Vegetarian Society Membership
Join the Vegetarian Society as a Junior Member