Whats the difference in Wild Eastern and Wild Rio Grande Turkeys?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by texascowboy1979, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. texascowboy1979

    texascowboy1979 Chillin' With My Peeps

    What is the difference in Wild Eastern Turkeys and Rio Grande Turkeys besides there location... are they the same? or is there some physical difference?

    Females dont have beards right?
     
  2. turkaholic

    turkaholic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Easterns have rump feathers that are edged in a chestnut brown where as Rios are tipped with tan or a buff color. Easterns generally have an amber or brown tipped tail and Rios more cream, but the color of the rump feathers is a better indicator. They also have some slight differences in leg and bill length, and the degree of intensity in plumage iridescence. There are many turkeys out there with characteristics of both subspecies, due to a direct cross in the wild (overlapping ranges) or in captivity.
     
  3. turkaholic

    turkaholic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, hens can have beards in either Eastern or Rio. I've found that beards in hens occur less than 5 per cent of the time in my flock, and it usually, but not always, is passed from mother to daughter (could be a gene thing).
     
  4. texascowboy1979

    texascowboy1979 Chillin' With My Peeps

    So then how do you sex them if they both have beards?
     
  5. turkaholic

    turkaholic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Beards, if they develop, won't appear until about 6 months old (hens or Jakes). Before that happens, you can tell differences in males and females by both size, and head or wattle/snood development. As the first year plumage comes in, around 12 weeks, hens breast feathers will be edged in either brown or rust (Eastern) and buff or off white in Rios. Males of both types will have breast feathers edged in black.
     

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