Why do turkeys have snoods?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by kees, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. kees

    kees Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2008
    I've tried to figure out why nature provided snoods for turkeys and am completely baffled. Does anyone know?

    Suzy

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  2. Harp Turkey Ranch

    Harp Turkey Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 18, 2008
    McCleary, WA
    They are used to attract the hens,the most attractive feature to females is not a male's power suit or macho strut but his snood--a fleshy appendage above his beak that can stretch to twice its ordinary length during courtship. And not only do females prefer long snoods, but, according to Northeast Louisiana University behavioral ecologist Richard Buchholz, males assess the snood lengths of other males before engaging in battle. Buchholz placed two male turkey decoys three feet apart in a small arena, each with a pile of birdseed in front of it. The decoys were identical in every respect--except that one's snood was twice as long as the other's. Buchholz then put 28 young male turkeys, one at a time, into the arena. Of the 21 duped by the models, 17 risked taking food only from the model with the small snood. Just 4 fed from the better-endowed decoy's pile of seed. What's more, in fights between live males, Buchholz found that only snood length--which may in part be determined by a bird's testosterone level--was a good predictor of victory, more reliable even than weight.
     
  3. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Michigan
    Now THAT is a very thorough and extremely interesting reply! I'm glad I read this post! [​IMG]
     
  4. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2008
    Southern Illinois
    The gobblers also use them to protect more vital tissues on the head/face area when fighting another gobbler. [​IMG]
     
  5. chickiebaby

    chickiebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2008
    western mass
    My Gosh, I love biology! Are the snoods blood engorged dfuring courtship, like hen's combs at point of lay? Is that how they grow to attract? So cool!
     
  6. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    They can extend and retract the snood as well as change it's color from blue to red to white-ish

    Steve in NC
     
  7. Harp Turkey Ranch

    Harp Turkey Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 18, 2008
    McCleary, WA
    snoods, wattles, dewlaps, and caruncles are all folds of naked, blood-engorged skin that hang from the gobbler's head or neck in some red, blue, or purple hues
     
  8. kees

    kees Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2008
    Why would the snoods change color? Is it like the squid that change to frighten or display against an aggressor?

    Also, what is the purpose of the caruncle?

    Thanks for all of your answers!

    Suzy

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  9. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    The color change is to impress the hens and has different meanings to other toms (agression, "I'm top dog", etc.) . If you watch the toms as they go thru the day they will change color often, we have 6 different breeds and each breed acts different as to how they display and interact with the rest of the flock.

    Steve in NC
     
  10. kees

    kees Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2008
    Do different breeds display in particular colors? At what age does this happen? Do old birds continue to display? Thanks once again!

    Suzy
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