Turkeys are hunted in 49 States and three Canadian Provinces. But do you know what a group of turkeys is called? You probably have heard the terms “gang,” “rafter,” or “flock” when referring to a group of turkeys. But what is the correct term? Well, that depends on if you are talking about domestic turkeys or their wild relatives.
Wild Turkeys – A Flock
A Flock of Turkeys
Basically, a flock represents a group of birds traveling together. And it does not matter if it’s flying birds or not. So yes, I would call a group of turkeys a flock.
Turkeys roost in flocks. Male Turkeys form all-male flocks outside of the breeding season. The mothers and their chicks travel in a family group – sometimes forming even larger flocks with other family groups.
A global breeding population of 7.8 million turkeys is estimated. About 89% of those living in the US.
But flock isn’t just for birds. Just think about a flock of sheep, a flock of goats, …
A Gang of Turkeys
I believe that this term is not 100% correct. It sounds more like something my daughter would come up with.
On the other hand: I mean, look at a group of young male turkeys (jakes) – they sure look and behave like a gang, right?
What is a Baby Turkey called?
A young turkey less than four weeks old is called a poult. It only takes them 24 hours to get out of the nest and start pecking at food – mimicking their mother.
According to the National Wild Turkey Federation, hens lay between 10-12 eggs during a two week period, but only 10 to 40 percent of turkey nests hatch successfully.https://www.nwtf.org/
What is a Jake?
The name jake is used for a male turkey that is at least one year of age, and up to two years of age. The name jake was first used by hunters in the 1930’s and is slang terminology.
Most commenly defined as a one-year-old, immature male bird.
What is a Gobbler?
A mature bird (at least 2 years old). Also called Tom. According to merriam-webster.com the first known use of gobbler was circa 1725.
What is a Long Beard?
Usually, a long beard is an older turkey, a tom. Older and larger long beards are more aggressive than younger, smaller birds. It´s a differnet story when the jakes team up…
A Tom Turkey beard can be up to 10 inches or more. Whereas jakes have shorter beards (most of the time) of “only” 2-3 inches in length.
read.. “where to shoot a turkey”
Domesticated Turkeys – A Rafter
A group of domestic turkey is called a rafter. The first person who formally coined this term was James Lipton in his book “An Exaltation of Larks.“
Lipton was the first to call a group of turkeys a “rafter.” He derived most of his archaic terms from the Book of Hawking and Hunting (printed in England in 1486).
The Free Dictionary by Farlex (click here) refers to a flock of turkeys as a rafter. However, they do not clarify if this term can be used synonymously with “flock.”
How Many Turkeys are in a Rafter
Technically it only needs to be more than one! I mean you probably wouldn´t call two turkeys a rafter – but I think it´s an appropriate term once we´re talking about 11 or more …
Happy to hear your thoughts on this! Let me know in the comments
7 Fun Facts About Turkeys
- Turkeys have an excellent daytime vision and can see in color.
- It is not uncommon to hear a turkey gobble from a mile away! Males also emit a low-pitched drumming sound, moving air in the air-sac in their chest.
- A Tom has fleshy wattles covering its face. It can turn a number of colors depending on their mood, such as white, blue, pink, and red when they’re excited.
- Males are polygamous, mating as many hens as possible.
- Turkeys are omnivorous! (Beware!)
- Within 24 hours of hatching, baby turkeys, or poults, are on the move with the hen. They grow up quickly, dry off and fluff up and leave the nest very soon.
- Thanksgiving has more turkey consumed than both Christmas and Easter combined. The average person consumes 18 pounds of turkey a year.