There’s a whole lot to love – and learn – about turkeys and their turkey tendencies and each year we relish the opportunity to share more about them with our food and farm family. Earlier this week we invited you to send in your turkey questions for me, Mac Stone, to answer in a special Q&A video. You asked some great questions and here are just a small selection of our favorites.
Don’t forget, you can keep sending us your questions here to be entered to win a free turkey of your choice.
“How many feathers does a turkey have?”
I don’t know. Thousands and thousands, I’m sure. The fun part of that question is that some of them, like their wing feathers, are the quills that Thomas Jefferson would have used to write the Declaration of Independence and some of them are fine little downy feathers up close to their skin to keep them warm, but there’s thousands and thousands.
“Why do some turkeys have blue heads?”
So, the waddles, the red waddles on top and below the chin are always red, but when they’re striving for attention they increase the red in their waddles and their head turns blue.
“How do turkeys reproduce?”
Turkeys are birds; they lay eggs. The tom breeds the hen a few weeks before they lay their eggs between mid-March and mid-June, so the eggs are fertile when they hatch.
“How are our turkeys different?”
Our turkeys are on pasture, running around out in the fresh air, eating bugs. They love clover and other live grasses that help give them a great flavor. The feed that we give them is also certified organic, so no pesticides were used to feed these birds.
“Do our turkeys fly?”
Yes, they do. They have wings. They’re birds. They just don’t fly really great. They can fly if they really want to, but they like the house that we have; it’s protection. And [they like] the feed we give them. They just really like it here.
“Are these birds rare?”
The Livestock Breeds Conservancy organization asked us to help preserve these breeds (Narragansett, Bourbon Red, Slate and Royal Palm). In fact, they’re so important that Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the American bird.
“How can I make sure that I have a tender turkey?”
Well, we recommend to bake it low and slow, like 275 degrees for hours until the leg gets loose on the frame. Then, you’re ready to go. You can check out our family favorite turkey recipe (and others) here.
A Question for you:
As the turkey farmer at Elmwood Stock Farm, I really appreciate your questions. But now I’ve got one for you: Why did the turkey cross the road? If you know, let me know.