Turkey genetics question

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by GBov, May 15, 2009.

  1. GBov

    GBov Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2009
    Something I have been pondering for a while and its finally bugged me long enough to actually ask about it.........................

    Reading on another thread about an escaped heritage turkey - she went off with a wild flock - and most everyone was saying catch it or shoot it, you dont want it cross breeding and contaminating the wild genes.

    Why not?

    Surely all turkeys are descended from the wild birds??? Why be upset if a few of them mix with the wilds if they are their DIRECT descendants?

    I dont mean to throw the cat amongst the pigeons [​IMG] but I really want to know.

  2. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    The issue is more disease related, domesticated flocks have been exposed to much much more than wild flocks. To introduce a sickness into a group of wild birds could result in the loss of major numbers of wild birds.

    You are correct all the domesticated turkey come from wild flocks.

    Steve in NC
  3. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Why You Should not Release Pen-Reared Turkeys [​IMG]

    By Bob Eriksen, Regional Biologist, National Wild Turkey Federation -

    From 1940 to 1970, wildlife managers learned an important lesson: Truly wild turkeys simply cannot be raised in captivity. Studies have shown that releasing pen-reared turkeys, whether as poults or adults, has largely been an unsuccessful method of establishing populations of these fine birds.

    Today there are still areas where wild turkeys are not abundant. Occasionally, people purchase "wild turkeys" from game bird breeders and release them in these areas to get a population started. Many turkeys advertised as eastern wild turkeys by breeders are not truly eastern wild turkeys, but are the product of selectively breeding wild and domestic turkeys to look like eastern wild turkeys. They resemble wild turkeys, but their genetics and behavior are different, and are less adaptable to wild living.

    Captive rearing of wild turkeys eliminates the important learned behaviors that wild turkey poults acquire from their mothers. Therefore, they are more susceptible to predation, less likely to breed successfully and far more likely to exhibit tame or even aggressive behavior toward humans than their wild counterparts.

    Releasing pen-reared turkeys can have negative impacts on wild turkeys. Pen-reared wild turkeys are often raised with other game birds or domestic fowl. Turkeys raised with other fowl may be exposed to the diseases or parasites the other fowl typically carry, but do not get sick from because of medication in feed and water while in captivity. After release, the disease or parasites may prosper because the condition of the turkeys declines as they adjust to the wild and are no longer medicated. The disease or parasite may be transmitted to susceptible wild turkeys that the pen-reared turkeys associate with. Should the birds survive long enough to reproduce, their genetic background could have a negative impact on the wild turkey gene pool.

    The Pennsylvania Game Commission allows people to possess pen-reared wild turkeys but does not allow release of the birds without a permit (Title 58, Section 137.2.). Release of pen-reared wild turkeys without a permit can result in fines. There are some good reasons to allow possession of pen-reared wild turkeys. They are valuable for educational exhibits (they look like wild turkeys but adapt better to life in a pen) and they are excellent table fare. Many wild turkey enthusiasts enjoy having the birds around. Even captive turkeys are colorful and fascinating to watch. Turkey hunters often keep pen-reared turkeys to study the birds' vocabulary and practice calling techniques. Our advice is this: enjoy pen-reared wild turkeys, but keep them confined. Advise others not to release pen-reared turkeys under any circumstances. You are not doing the birds or their wild counterparts any service by releasing pen-reared wild turkeys. Pen-reared wild turkeys - don't release them!

    A Look Back on the Pa Wild Turkey & how it survived: very awesome article and a must read if you love turkeys [​IMG]

    Last edited: May 16, 2009
  4. GBov

    GBov Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2009
    And yet, cage reared Bald Eagles have brought the species back from the edge:rolleyes:
  5. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Chillin' With My Peeps

    I didn't know this post was about eagles.. [​IMG]

    May as well take a look at wild pheasant to right away..
    you see they been trying pen reared birds for some time in pa, with no success on a large part..

    Now they have been importing pheasant into pa captured from the wild in MT and a few other states, i think this may be the last year of them importing them..
    It is finally working and we have a wild pheasant population growing from this program in certain areas in Pa..

    I Used Pa as an example because i know of these programs here in this state.. [​IMG] other states may have the same type of programs going as well..

    ultimately they will remove some of the pheasants from these areas were they are propagating in pa to help start other areas in Pa lacking pheasants same as they did with the wild turkeys.. of course some land management must also be changed as well in order for these programs to work


    trapping and transferring of wild pheasants to Pennsylvania:: some videos as well here



    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  6. GBov

    GBov Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2009

    Naw, I was just feeling grumpy when I wrote that [​IMG] It just annoys me when people say animals cant adapt to the wild [​IMG]

    I am so glad that turkeys have made a comeback, the kids and I watched a HUGE wild stag turkey saunter across the field next to a friends house [​IMG]
  7. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    I guess about 10 or 15 years ago they stocked Eastern Wild turkeys in our area of eastern NC. It seems to be a very good habitat for them - plenty of water, thick woods, other than tobacco and cotton people grow soybeans, wheat, corn so plenty of forage. This spring we counted a flock of close to 50 turkeys in the field behind our house and every year watch hens raising poults. We have had wild hens and poults in the front yard, never the toms they keep their distance. You can hear them back in woods from time to time gobbling to our toms.

    Steve in NC
  8. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2008
    Southern Illinois
    In my opinion (which I will never be mistaken for a wildlife biologist) wild turkeys should be established in new areas through trapping wild birds and relocating them and not through release of pen raised birds.

    Now...having said that....what is the difference in releasing pen raised wild turkeys into the wild and pen raising bobwhites or ringnecks and releasing them into the wild? Seems to me pen raising turkeys for release is taboo while pen raising quail and pheasants is done extensively and widely accepted. What is the difference? [​IMG]
  9. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    The ones they stocked here in NC were live trapped in PA and brought here if I remember right.

  10. mooman

    mooman Dirty Egg Eater

    Apr 9, 2008
    Marietta, SC
    Quote:They raise those birds using a puppet hand that looks like an adult eagle. They NEVER actually see a human being, so they do not imprint.

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