Test Your Knowledge

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is the origin of domestic turkeys?

What is the possible second domestication event of domestic turkeys?

From where do all of the main domestic turkey varieties today descend?

Why are domestic turkeys a popular form of poultry?

What is the eighth largest living bird species in terms of maximum mass?

What is the dominant commercial breed of domestic turkeys?

What is the difference between white and dark turkey meat?

How is turkey litter used?

What is the traditional occasion for eating turkey?


Species of Bird: Domestic Turkey

  • Domestic turkeys come from central Mexico, where they were first domesticated by the ancient Mesoamericans.

  • Recent research suggests a possible second domestication event in the southwestern United States between 200 BC and AD 500.

  • All of the main domestic turkey varieties today descend from the turkey raised in central Mexico that was subsequently imported into Europe by the Spanish in the 16th century.

  • Domestic turkeys are raised throughout temperate parts of the world and are a popular form of poultry, partially because industrialized farming has made them very cheap for the amount of meat they produce.

  • Turkeys are highly social and become very distressed when isolated. They are highly vocal, and their vocalisations indicate social tension within the group.

  • Young domestic turkeys readily fly short distances, perch and roost. These behaviours become less frequent as the birds mature, but adults will readily climb on objects such as bales of straw.

  • The domestic turkey is the eighth largest living bird species in terms of maximum mass at 39 kg (86 lbs).

  • In commercial production, breeder farms supply eggs to hatcheries. After 28 days of incubation, the hatched poults are sexed and delivered to the grow-out farms; hens are raised separately from toms because of different growth rates.

  • The vast majority of turkeys are reared indoors in purpose-built or modified buildings of which there are many types. Some types have slatted walls to allow ventilation, but many have solid walls and no windows to allow artificial lighting manipulations to optimise production.

  • Commercially reared turkeys also perform head-pecking, which becomes more frequent as they sexually mature. Fatal head-pecking can occur even in small (10 birds), stable groups.

  • The dominant commercial breed is the Broad-Breasted Whites, which have been selected for size and amount of meat. Mature toms are too large to achieve natural fertilization without injuring the hens, so their semen is collected, and hens are inseminated artificially.

  • Approximately two billion to four billion pounds of poultry feathers are produced every year by the poultry industry. Most are ground into a protein source for ruminant animal feed.

  • Approximately 620 million turkeys are slaughtered each year for meat worldwide. Turkeys are traditionally eaten as the main course of Christmas feasts.Facts about Turkey Meat

  • Turkey is a popular meat that is eaten year-round and forms a regular part of many diets.

  • It is sold whole, sliced, and ground, and is used as a sandwich meat or served as cold cuts.

  • Ground turkey is frequently marketed as a healthy ground beef substitute.

  • Cooked turkey may end up less moist than other poultry meats, such as chicken or duck.

  • Wild turkey meat has a different taste from farm-raised turkeys and is more intensely flavored.

  • Turkey eggs are not commonly sold as food due to the high demand for whole turkeys and the lower output of turkey eggs as compared with other fowl.

  • White turkey meat is often considered healthier than dark meat because of its lower fat content, but the nutritional differences are small.

  • Turkeys are usually baked or roasted in an oven for several hours, often while the cook prepares the remainder of the meal.

  • Sometimes, a turkey is brined before roasting to enhance flavor and moisture content.

  • In some areas, particularly the American South, turkeys may also be deep-fried in hot oil.

  • Turkey litter (droppings mixed with bedding material) is used as a fuel source in electric power plants.

  • One such plant in western Minnesota provides 55 megawatts of power using 500,000 tons of litter per year.


How much do you know about domestic turkeys? Test your knowledge with our quiz on this fascinating bird species. From their origins in Mexico to their current popularity in poultry farming, this quiz covers a range of interesting facts about domestic turkeys. Learn about their social behavior, physical characteristics, and even their use as a power source. Whether you're a turkey enthusiast or just looking to learn something new, this quiz is sure to provide some surprises.

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