TurkeysAn Overview of the Turkey Industry in Georgia Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office Dr. Frank Flanders and Catrina Kennedy September 2006
The wild turkey we usually see in photos or pictures is not the same as the domestic turkey that we serve at Thanksgiving. • Domestic or tame turkeys weigh twice what a wild turkey does and are raised on farms for profit. • Most domestic turkeys are so heavy they are unable to fly.
Wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) live in woods in parts of North America and are the largest game birds found in this part of the world. • They spend their days foraging for food like acorns, seeds, small insects and wild berries. • They spend their nights in low branches of trees (yes, wild turkeys can fly!).
Commercially bred turkeys are usually white. • Their colors have been purposely bred out because the pigment from the feathers would discolor the turkey's skin during dressing. • They cannot fly because their breast are thicker and heavier.
Interesting Facts • Ben Franklin proposed the turkey as the official United States bird. • United States turkey growers raised 270 million turkeys in 2003. • Twenty-two million turkeys are eaten each Christmas. • 50 percent of U.S. consumers eat turkey at least once per week.
Assessment • What type of turkey do people commonly eat? • True or False: All turkeys can fly. • What color are commercially bred turkeys? • Where is Poultry rank in Georgia amongst other commodities? • Who suggested making the turkey the official bird of the United States?
Answers • Commercial • False, Commercial birds are too heavy • White • 1st • Ben Franklin