Determining Sex of a Turkey
It's relatively easy to determine a turkey's gender from a distance. Look for these key characteristics.
Female Turkeys (Hens):
- Have feathers all the way to the top of their heads
- Rarely have a beard of whiskers protruding from their chest
- Do not have spurs on their legs
- Do not display their tail in a fan
- Make soft clucks and yelps, but never gobble
Male Turkeys (Gobblers):
- Have featherless heads that fluctuate between blue, red and white when the turkey is excited.
- Almost always have a beard of whiskers protruding from their chest
- Have sharp spurs on their legs
- Fan their tails to display dominance
- Gobble loudly to display dominance
Determining the Age of a Gobbler
Gobblers are broken into two categories by age, jakes (juvenile) and toms (adults). Look for these characteristics when determining if a turkey is a jake or tom.
Jakes (juvenile gobblers):
- Do not have wing feathers that are barred all the way to the tip
- Have beards 6 inches or shorter
- Have central tail feathers that are longer than the rest.
- Have spurs that are still forming
Toms (adult gobblers):
- Have wing feathers with white bars all the way to the tip
- Have beards longer than 6 inches
- Have all tail feathers the same length
- Have developed spurs