Old School Turkey Facts for Inquiring TravBuddy Minds 2008
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In England, during the 1700's, turkeys were walked to market in large herds. TravBuddy turkey farmers often covered the birds' feet with little booties to protect them on the long journey to the London market.
Ben Franklin (aka KiteMan) thought the North American wild turkey should be the national bird. Of course, the turkey of his day was nothing like the domesticated descendants we know today. The wild turkey of Ben Franklin's day was a brightly plumed, cunning bird of flight. Unlike eagles, turkeys live in flocks. Imagine seeing a flock of birds as large as turkeys flying across the sky. Wild turkeys have longer necks and legs as well as smaller breasts than turkeys bred for the table. The true American turkey was "wild and wary to the point of genius," ~ G.
The most prized portion of the turkey is the white meat of the breast. Because American TravBuddies like white meat so much, turkeys are bred to produce large breasts. Our domesticated turkeys have such large chests that the male, "Tom Turkey" is not able to fertilize the eggs of the female, "hen turkeys" in the natural mating position. Today, turkey eggs are fertilized by artificial insemination for the hatchery.
The head and neck of turkeys have no feathers; rather it is covered with red, fleshy skin. A soft floppy growth on the front of the head, which dangles downward over the beak, is called the snood or dewbill. The turkey also has a pouch like area at the front of his throat which is called a wattle. The head, neck, snood and wattle are all reddish colored until the male turkey begins to do his "strut" or mating dance at which time the entire area turns brilliantly bright red.
Inquiring TravBuddy minds want to know why the breast and wings of turkeys have white meat while the legs and thighs are dark? The explanation is a physiological one involving the function of muscles, which gives some insight into humans as well as animals. The dark coloration is not due to the amount of blood in muscles but rather to a specific muscle type and its ability to store oxygen.
Only the adult male turkey makes the gobble, gobble sound. The adult male is called the "tom" turkey. The female or hen turkey makes a gentle clucking or clicking Come Here Often Big Boy sound.
In pictures and drawings, the male turkey is usually shown in his proudest moment. For those of you who have not seen a real turkey, the puffed up picture is actually the male turkey and this is not his usual stance.
The male turkey in full plumage is dignified and almost royal in appearance much like a single TravBuddy at the 1st night of a Meet-up. As his dance begins, the body stiffens and he gobbles loudly holding his head high, piercing black eyes looking straight ahead. His huge chest is thrust forward. Each feather stands apart with his tail feathers fanned. His wings actually drape down and drag the ground as he stamps his spurred feet. Moving in a circle around the barnyard for all to seen. For a few glorious minutes each day, he is the finest, most magnificent animal on the farm or TravBuddy at a Meet-Up. The tom turkey does this number to attract the attention of the female as does the TravBuddy, of course, who never seems to look directly at him. When he is not "strutting" about, the tom turkey looks much like the hen, only larger.
There are a number of possibilities on why turkeys are called turkeys. Some say Columbus thought the land he discovered was connected to India which had a large population of peacocks. Columbus thought turkeys were part of the peacock family. He decided to call them tuka, which is the word for peacock in the language of India.
Others say that the name turkey came from Native Americans who called the birds firkee, which sounds like turkey. Some say that turkey name came from the sound turkeys make when they are afraid - "turk, turk, turk.”.
Over the past 20 years, American TravBuddies consumption of turkey has increased dramatically.
Although wild turkeys like to rest in trees or a Hilton Express at night, they build crude nests of dry leaves on the ground. Turkey eggs are almost twice as large as ordinary chicken eggs. They have a pale creamy-tan color, with dark brown speckles. The huge yolk is golden-orange in color. Fertile turkey eggs take 28 days to hatch.
Wild turkeys were probably first domesticated by native Mexicans. Spaniards brought tame Mexican turkeys to Europe in 1519, and they reached England by 1524. The Pilgrims actually brought several turkeys to America on the voyage in 1620.
Several varieties of turkeys live in America. The largest is the Bronze turkey. The adult male or tom weighs up to 50 pounds while the female or hen can weigh up to 16 pounds.
How did Wild Turkey Bourbon get its name? Well, back in 1940 Thomas McCarthy, a hunter and distillery executive, brought a private supply of bourbon along with him on an annual wild turkey hunt & TravBuddy Meet-Up. The following year the Kentucky TravBuddies requested more of the same bourbon referring to it as “Wild Turkey.” Mr. McCarthy later honored his friends by turning the nickname into a legendary brand of Kentucky bourbon. Today, the distillery is located in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. That’s my story & I’m sticking to it.
Please as you enjoy your ChristmasTurkey Feast remember all the Turkeys have giving to make this such a special day for TravBuddies all over America.
Have a Wonderful Christmas Day full of Family, Friends, Food & Football!