Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey [The Bird]

"Despite the name, turkeys have no direct relation to the country of Turkey and are native to North America."

"The turkey is raised throughout temperate parts of the world and is a popular form of poultry, partially because industrialized farming has made it very cheap for the amount of meat it produces. The female domesticated turkey is referred to as a hen and the chick as a poult. In the United States, the male is referred to as a tom, while in Europe, the male is a stag. The average lifespan for a domesticated turkey is ten years."

"The great majority of domesticated turkeys are bred to have white feathers because their pin feathers are less visible when the carcass is dressed, although brown or bronze-feathered varieties are also raised. The fleshy protuberance atop the beak is the snood and the one attached to the underside of the beak is known as a wattle."

"The modern domesticated turkey is descended from one of six subspecies of wild turkey: Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo, found in the area bounded by the present Mexican states of Jalisco, Guerrero, and Veracruz. Ancient Mesoamericans domesticated this subspecies; they used its meat and eggs as major sources of protein and employed its feathers extensively for decorative purposes. The Aztecs associated the turkey with their trickster god Tezcatlipoca, perhaps because of its humorous behavior."

"Domestic turkeys were taken to Europe by the Spanish. Many distinct breeds were developed in Europe [e.g. Spanish Black, Royal Palm]. In the early 20th century, many advances were made in the breeding of turkeys, resulting in breeds such as the Beltsville Small White."

"The 16th-century English navigator William Strickland is generally credited with introducing the turkey into England. His family coat of arms — showing a turkey cock as the family crest — is among the earliest known pictures of a turkey. English farmer Thomas Tusser notes the turkey being among farmer's fare at Christmas in 1573. The domestic turkey was sent from England to Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. A document written in 1584 lists supplies to be furnished to future colonies in the New World; "turkies [sic], male and female"."

Text Credit: Wikipedia

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