Can Turkeys Count?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by thaiturkey, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,390
    33
    191
    Feb 22, 2010
    Thailand
    When one of our 16 poults is out of sight of mother she immediately starts to call. One disappeared altogether today. She called the others to go for cover under a tree, located the missing one by calling it and responding to its subsequent cry. It had found a small gap in the boundary and was in deep undergrowth on the other side.Fortunately, we were around at the time and, with our help, it came back and peace was restored.

    It's left me wondering whether mother could count or detect quickly in some other way that one was missing before it called for her. This has happened several times on the land when one disappeared in long grass or a bush. Has anyone had similar experiences or can anyone suggest an explanation?
     
  2. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,867
    14
    171
    Jul 26, 2009
    Well, I don't know if they can count, but I'm sure they have recognition skills and are smart enough to know when someone is missing.

    Mine are 6 weeks old now, and the contrast between the turkeys, chickens, and ducks is interesting. The turkeys seem to me to be the most sensitive and somewhat reserved of the birds. I'm curious to see if they develop personality as they mature, and I believe they will.

    Benjamin Franklin was really trying to push the turkey as a symbol of the United States because he greatly admired their intelligence.
     
  3. turkaholic

    turkaholic Chillin' With My Peeps

    261
    2
    111
    Jan 2, 2010
    Maryland
    I guess the only way to know for sure if the can "count" is to remove a poult from her, without her knowing, and see how she reacts. If you can accomplish this task, your a magician![​IMG]

    If the lost poult you had didn't cry out a lost call I doubt she would go looking for it without any initiative. As Denninimi wrote, they might sense something is wrong. But who knows for sure what goes on in their wrinkle heads.
     
  4. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,390
    33
    191
    Feb 22, 2010
    Thailand
    Quote:Personalities they have for sure! Very bright too. We are trying to learn the language used by mother as various levels of danger signal. A large bird overhead will cause her to let out a repeated cry that makes the young ones flatten to the ground and lie still until she sounds the all clear. When the one was missing today her cry was different and they all ran under a bush, leaving her free to call to him (or her). It also set off the other older turkeys who came over and also called. Amazing stuff!
     
  5. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,390
    33
    191
    Feb 22, 2010
    Thailand
    Quote:I've tried to grab one that I think she can't see but it moves fast and she spots what I'm doing in an instant.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by