What is a group of turkeys called? Is it “a flock” (like chickens), “ a brace” (like ducks), or “a gaggle” (like geese)?
Turkeys are kingly birds of the peacock genre and are popularly raised on a large scale in the U.S for barbeques and Thanksgiving.
In this article, we are going to learn about the common names of a group of these birds and the reasons behind these names.
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What Is A Group Of Turkeys Called?
A group of turkeys is called rafters because they prefer to perch on branches or other high-up places to seek protection from predators and roost.
However, a group of turkeys has also been referred to as a flock, a rafter, a gaggle, or even a gang, but the two most common names for a group of turkeys are “a rafter” and “a gang”.
Some bird lovers call a group of commercial turkeys a “flock” and a group of wild turkeys a “rafter”.
However, these names depend on whether you are talking about a group of wild turkeys or poultry breeding turkeys.
Below are some most collective nouns for turkeys.
Rafter, which means stick together in English, is the official name for a group of domestic and poultry turkeys, especially US poultry turkey breeders.
Yet, you can’t use this name for wild turkey species.
Read More: How to Raise Turkeys and Chickens Together. Learn how to make these two birds live peacefully together!
People who don’t know much about turkeys use the word “gang” (the abbreviation for “gangster” in English) to describe a group of turkeys with more than 20 heads.
When many turkeys come together, they do not tend to fear humans at all, similar to a group of gangsters.
Flock is a typical English noun representing almost all flying or non-flying bird groups that live, fly, and eat together.
But the term “flock” isn’t only specifically to call birds.
It can also be used for a collection of people or a group of mammals, like “a flock of sheep” or “a flock of goats”.
Read our related article, What is a Flock of Quail Called? for common group names and interesting facts!
So, Why “A Rafter”?
The term “rafter” originates from a weird habit of turkeys – their perching behavior.
During the early days of the European occupation of North America, turkeys were seen perching on construction rafters to nestle or hide from their predators.
The European workers then used the term “rafter” to call any turkey groups with this behavior.
Over time, this term has become popular and today, a group of turkeys is called a rafter of turkeys.
What does “rafter” mean?
According to another source, the name “rafter” from three Greek and Arabic words:
- Raphtine (Greek) means to stitch together
- TaPHar (Greek) means to sew together
- Raff (Arabic) relates to “the roof”, meaning a united enclosure or shelter for sheep
The earlier words mention the word “rhapsody”, meaning a gathering of something.
In comparison, the latest word of “rafter” combines the meaning of all those above words, representing a gathering of beams.
So, why is a group of turkeys called a rafter?
Rafter is also an appropriate term because it illustrates their behavior of running in an interweave and crisscross pattern to confuse people or their predators when being chased.
But, there is another theory that comes from an ancient phrase.
Like the second theory, the term “rafter” might relate to an old expression “to the rafters,” meaning the over-excitement or the loss of control in an animal or person’s behavior.
“To the rafters” also illustrates the turkey’s panic behavior when being hunted by people or their predators.
Therefore, the term “rafter” has now been used widely to call a group of turkeys.
Read More: Can You Put Ducks and Turkeys Together? Ducks and turkeys can coexist – here are some helpful tips!
Incorrect Terms To Call A Group Of Turkeys
Due to their lack of knowledge, sometimes people miscall a group of turkeys like “gaggle” or “gooble”.
Gaggle is a term to refer to a group of geese, not turkeys as geese often make gagging sounds, hence why they are called ‘gaggle.’
Gooble is a meaningless word with no history story or no relationship in context with turkeys.
Read more: Geese vs Duck – What is the difference?
Interesting Facts About Turkeys
Different Names For Individual Turkeys
Apart from the general term “rafter”, there are some specific terms to call turkeys in their life cycle.
- A newborn turkey is called “a chick” or “a nestling”
- As long as the turkey is less than one year old, he is called “a poult”
- A juvenile female turkey is called “jenny”. When this turkey reaches her adulthood, she is then called “a hen”
- A juvenile male older than a year old is called “jake”.
- An adult male turkey with a weight of around 18-22 pounds is called “a tom” or “a gobbler”.
Read More: What Do Baby Geese Look Like When They Hatch? A complete guide to goslings!
Toms & Hens Have Different Shapes Of Scat
A hen (or a female turkey) has a cone-shaped scat, while a tom (or a male turkey) has a j-shaped scat.
You can also use this difference to distinguish between a male turkey and a female turkey.
They Can Fly
Wild turkeys can fly at a maximum speed of approximately 55 miles per hour.
However, domestic turkeys weigh heavier to provide more meat, so they cannot fly.
Read our related article, Can Chickens Fly? Chickens can fly somewhat, but it is not for very long. Explore facts about how chickens fly!
They Are Good Runners
Wild turkeys are excellent runners. Surprisingly, they have strong legs and can run up to 25 miles per hour.
There Are 7 Wild Turkey Subspecies
Wild turkeys are divided into 5 subspecies depending on their subtle plumages and ranges, including Osceola, Rio Grande, Eastern, Merriam’s, and Goulds.
In some classifications, there are also the South Mexican turkeys as the sixth turkey subspecies.
The Ocellated turkey is a separate type, which does not look similar to other wild turkey subspecies.
It has bolder and brighter feathers than the remaining ones and has different wattles.
Read More: Do Canadian Geese Nest in Trees? Learn all about nesting geese!
Female Turkeys Raise Their Babies, But Male Ones Don’t
Precocial, or just hatched wild turkeys, are born with feathers and can protect themselves quickly.
Within 24 hours after being born, they will leave the nest to find food with their mothers.
Female turkeys take the primary role in raising chicks. Oppositely, male turkeys contribute nothing to raising their kids.
They Are Omnivorous
Since turkeys are omnivorous species, they can eat many types of food.
However, there are some differences in the diet of wild turkeys and domestic turkeys.
Wild turkeys (for example, bush turkeys) have a wide-ranging diet. Their foods range from grass, grains, insects, berries, nuts, and small reptiles.
Domestic turkeys have more limitations in their diet as they are often fed specialized food pellets to balance their nutrition and enhance growth.
Sometimes, domestic turkeys may also have treats like vegetable scraps or leafy greens.
Read More: What is a Good Food Plot for Turkey? Plots can bring wild turkeys to your favorite hunting ground or be a good addition to your farmed turkeys’ diet.
1. What is a group of baby turkeys called?
The official term for a group of domestic baby turkeys is “poults”.
For wild and non-domesticated young turkeys, you might call them “chicks” because they are lovely, just like little chickens.
2. How many turkeys make a rafter?
Rafter is a technical term to call a big group of turkeys. A rafter can consist of two to 40 turkeys. This number includes hens and their chicks or other females and male parties.
3. What is a group of turkey vultures called?
A group of turkey vultures is called a “committee of vultures”.
4. What is a group of Eagles Called?
A group of Eagles is called a “convocation of eagles” or “a soar of eagles”.
For bird lovers, knowing what a group of turkeys is called is quite interesting.
After reading this article, you have some extra information on all popular names for a collection of turkeys, their meanings, and some fun facts about this magnificent creature.
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