Bird of the Month: Turkey

Bird of the Month: Turkey

Ahh turkeys, not just an excellent Thanksgiving day meal staple but also a fascinating bird with a truly American history. Many people are under the impression that Benjamin Franklin once suggested that the turkey should become the national bird instead of the bald eagle. However, what most people don’t know is that he never officially suggested this. It was in a private letter to his daughter that he made a veracious claim that the turkey was the more ‘honorable bird’.

Outside of its historical context, the turkey is quite an impressive animal. Wild turkeys can fly about the length of a football field at 55 mph, run at 20 mph and its gobbles can be heard up to a mile away! It is a myth that only male turkeys gobble however. Both male and female turkeys can gobble as well as purr like a cat when they are excited or happy. The weird red thing on their neck is known as a “wattle” and can help them release excess heat. Another fun fact about their wattle is that it can turn redder and ‘blush’ when they get mad. Their tail feathers, also known as a “plume” contain over 5,000 feathers and can be a variety of different colors. 

Where does the name Turkey come from? As funny as it sounds, the bird originally got its name from trade routes that ran through the country now known as Turkey in the 1500s. Turkey was an exporter of fine dining meats, and the bird was a sensation throughout Europe. So when British colonizers arrived in America and saw the exact same bird, the name stuck and we’ve been gobbling down turkeys ever since.

Now let’s talk for a second about turkey eggs, specifically, incubating them. Turkey eggs must incubate for at least 4 days longer than a standard chicken egg. However, just like chicken eggs, turkey eggs must be turned at least 3 times a day. The humidity level is consistent with chicken eggs, it must remain between 35-55% until the hatching phase begins. Then the humidity ideally should stay between 65-80%. Any lower and the shell is too difficult to break the membrane will also dry out faster. Any higher humidity will risk drowning the chicks.

This can be quite a challenge for a novice incubator enthusiast. Thankfully, we have just the products necessary to make the incubation process a breeze. The IncuView 3 Pro comes with an easy to use screen and can incubate up to 22 turkey eggs, depending on their size. It also turns the eggs automatically, multiple times a day, meaning you have more time to prepare for the Thanksgiving season!

If you are interested in incubating your own turkey eggs, we suggest reading this article: