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Question for you turkey experts.....

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Question for you turkey experts.....

Old 10-05-2007, 08:02 AM
  #1  
Nontypical Buck
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Default Question for you turkey experts.....

I dropped a bird last night, and was tallkin with my buddy Eric, both of us guaged this bird to be about a 1 1/2 year old Tom. Had an 8 1/2 beard, spurs were 7/8. Looking at his tail feathers, they were opposite in length of a jake, his center feathers were shorter, and looked like new ones coming in. I thought maybe he was molting, but Eric claims turkeys don't molt. If true, what may have causes the center feathers to be coming in new? This is a first I have seen were all the center tail feathers were all shorter, and coming in new. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-05-2007, 08:59 AM
  #2  
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Default RE: Question for you turkey experts.....

Turkeys do molt. I'm not an expert, but I do have several turkeys at my house. The gobblers will loose their tail feathers and they will loose their breast feathers. Maybe not all at the same time, but they will loose them. Hens will loose their feathers also. My turkeys are about 3 years old and they molt about 2 times a year.
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Old 10-05-2007, 09:59 AM
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Default RE: Question for you turkey experts.....

Yes turkeys molt. Thats probably what you were seeing. I shot one on October 1st once and just about all the tail feathers were different lengths. AS far as age, I say that sounds about right based on spur length, probably 1 1/2 years old.
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:02 AM
  #4  
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Default RE: Question for you turkey experts.....

I posted this on another site, and this is an answer I got.Taken from some printed material, source not given.


The tail feathers on a male turkey gobbler are really only useful in identifying jakes (1 year-old gobblers) from mature birds. When the tail feathers of a jake are fanned out, the middle 2 to 6 sets of primary feathers will be 2 to 4 inches longer than the rest of the feathers giving the fan a "bump" in the middle.

Jakes have the longer tail feathers because during the late summer molt a young gobbler goes through, he only replaces the middle primary tail feathers. In the second year, the tail molts in the standard adult pattern from the outside in and the gobbler will then have a full, even fan.

Once a bird reaches 2 years of age, he will have an even fan for the rest of his lifetime. There are occasions when he will lose a tail feather or get one broken off. In those cases he will quickly grow another in it's spot so it is possible to see a mature bird with an uneven, short tailfeather or two.


This "bump in the middle" tail fan characteristic is especially useful in determing the age of a strutting gobbler since you can determine quite easily if it is a mature bird or not from a long distance.

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Old 10-05-2007, 01:08 PM
  #5  
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Default RE: Question for you turkey experts.....

Turkeys do molt. Here is a picture I took last week. The center tail feathers simply are not fully grown in yet. I do agree with most of what was said above.

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Old 10-05-2007, 01:12 PM
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Default RE: Question for you turkey experts.....

a

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Old 10-05-2007, 01:16 PM
  #7  
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Default RE: Question for you turkey experts.....

yep, the one I got looked just like those 3 in the center of the pic.
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Old 10-05-2007, 01:41 PM
  #8  
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Default RE: Question for you turkey experts.....

Yes they molt. My turkeys here at home lose their tail fan feathers and grow em back...
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Old 10-05-2007, 02:25 PM
  #9  
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Default RE: Question for you turkey experts.....

my fall bird last year looke like this. 8.5 in beard, 3/4 in spurs bout 18 lbs. tail fan was nasty and middle feathers were shorter than the rest

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Old 10-05-2007, 03:22 PM
  #10  
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Default RE: Question for you turkey experts.....

Turkeys will grow / re-grow tail feathers back, just as your article says. A predetor probably got the tail feathers and the turkey just got away and was in the process of growing the tail feathers back when you shot him. Just my two cents...
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