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Strutting Turkey

Why do male turkeys strut?

turkey2Male turkeys gobble, strut, prance, and sniff to attract females. During the strut the tail is fanned out and held up vertically, the wings are lowered so that the tips of their wings drag on the ground, and the feathers on the back and chest are fluffed out, with the head held back. During the strut the facial skin engorges and is red, white and blue colors. The turkeys ‘snood’ (long flap of flesh that hangs over the beak), gets long and turns bright red. When the turkey is no longer trying to attract females his ‘snood’ draws up (looks like a little horn on the forehead). Male turkeys also have what is called a beard located in the chest area. At a glance the beard appears to be hair, but actually it’s a mass of very thin feathers. Male turkeys also have sharp, spike like projections on their legs called spurs. Male turkeys use their spurs when they are trying to protect their hen turkeys from danger.

At my household we have a male turkey, his name is ‘Elliot’. ‘Elliot’ has many turkey1very impressive features. He struts constantly, there’s only one time when he isn’t strutting and that’s at bedtime. He is always wanting to show off to the hen turkeys. When ‘Elliot’ struts he seems to be as happy as he can be. Overall he is a very gentle turkey, he looks after the hen turkeys and us folks at home. ‘Elliot’ has used his spurs once on the rooster, but other than that he keeps them to himself. When our rooster trys to attack one of us, ‘Elliot’ comes and puts a stop to it. Every time we walk outside we cant help but seeing ‘Elliot’ strut. And people driving by even slow down to look at his beauty.  I love my strutting turkey.

Story and Photos by Molly Clegg, HS Intern

Story and Photos by Molly Clegg, HS Intern

Author: Staff Reporter

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