Thursday, July 14, 2011

Turkey Poults

I’m seeing young turkeys much later in the season than usual. This size bird is commonly seen around here in June. I’m wondering if the excessive rains and flooding this spring might have disrupted the early nesting attempts.

There are only three left of this brood. Weather continues to be a factor in their survival. Storms with heavy rain are still a regular event. Poults that get soaked to the skin are highly vulnerable to the elements and often don’t survive the experience.

The young birds stick close to their mother. After I watched a hen walk off and abandon her poults last year, it seems a good idea to keep a close eye on mom.

When the poults are a little older, they’ll probably merge into a mixed group of other young birds. It’s common to see a group of hens traveling with a large group of mixed age poults. By that time they’ll be pretty good at evading predators and they don’t seem to care which adult bird is really their mother.

I’m not sure that beneath the tail is the best place to seek shelter. The poult may be safe from many things in that position, but it seems a precarious location. He had better be ready to move if that tail starts to come up.

The hens with poults never spend much time feeding on corn. The job of the hen is to lead the little ones to areas likely to contain an abundance of protein rich insects. Those shouldn’t be hard to find this year.