A Beginner’s Guide to raising Turkeys - Raising Turkeys in Your Backyard for Pleasure and Profit
Table of Contents
How to Choose the Best Turkeys for Breeding
Incubation of Turkey Eggs
How to Test Turkey Eggs
Housing Your Birds
Lean to Roosts
Ranging Baby Turkeys
Containers for Food
Feeding Your Turkeys
Fattening Your Turkey Chicks
How to Prepare a Turkey For Table
Did you know that turkeys are native to the New World- i.e North America, and have been around for millenniums? So, is it a wonder that when these delicious and pompous birds reached the shores of Europe in the 16th century, thanks to the traders in West Indies and Spain, they were immediately added to exotic and popular fare. And since then, a turkey dinner, especially on Thanksgiving and on Christmas was soon a part of the social fabric.
Turkeys may not be eaten as often as you eat chicken, but you can always have them for Turkey sandwiches. Turkish traders and merchants brought them to Europe by ship, and that is why the name “turkey” became synonymous with this unusually funny looking and self-important birds strutting about in your backyard.
Once upon a time there were also called the Indian fowl. I was under the impression that that was because the Native Americans were called Indians at that time. They knew the value of this bird and hunted it regularly.
That was until I found out that the “Indian” part of the name came from the European tendency of naming exotic birds, with the names of exotic lands. So the Catalans called it Gall d’inde and the French also called it Poulet d’inde meaning fowl from India.
In Hebrew, it is called Tarnegol Hodu – rooster of India. And the irony is that in Turkey, it is called Hindi which means related to India! In reality, Indians of India did not know about this bird until the Britishers brought it to India for their turkey dinners in the late 18th and 19th century.
But these are native birds living for millenniums in the North American continent. Wild turkeys also known to the first settlers as “gobblers” soon became a part of the dining table, and the Puritans must have been really surprised at such a show of pomp and colorful splendor in a gobbler.