This morning, I was out reminding my turkeys where they can find food and water during the day. They forget easily. Standing by the turkey tractor at the end of the chicken coop, I had all five of my birds gathered around. I knelt down and one of my bronze hens came over. I started stroking her chest with my gloved finger. She seemed to really like that. What I soon realized is breast stroking is a turn on if you’re a turkey. She sat down and the Burbon Tom came and stood on top of her trying to figure out what to do next. Then Archie pushed him off. Apparently, I got the hen all hot and bothered and that got my toms all hot and bothered. Well who knew?
I wonder if this explains the bristle of feathers Archie has sprouted right in the middle of his chest. It’s called a beard (In the middle of chest? And they call it a beard? I know. Makes no sense to me either.) I don’t know whether this beard is for display or the toms actually use this to tickle the hens chests. Surprisingly, there is very little on the internet regarding turkey sex. (Unless you favor illicit sites about sex in Turkey.) But I did stumble onto a heritage turkey group at Yahoo. Lots of good information there and nearly instant contact with turkey breeders and keepers from all over.
What I did manage to learn is normal turkey breeding season is late February through March which means theoretically my birds should start getting amorous in about a month. Once mated, the hens will lay several eggs (ranging from just a couple to up to 20) and then brood them for 28 days. That gives you the normal turkey poult buying season of April and May. I also may have some tom fights to look forward to. My bronze hens may in fact be Naragansetts. And Archie? I’m beginning to have doubts about him being a Black Spanish. Time and the molt will tell. Course he has to survive the coming tom fights. Ain’t hormones grand?