I am adding to my vocabulary as I continue to learn more and more about turkeys.
Wattle: No, it’s not a gait similar to a duck’s, and in this case, wattle does not mean the branches or twigs that are interwoven to make a fence. In the poultry world, a wattle is the fleshy appendage hanging down from the neck or chin of a bird. A tom turkey’s wattle is larger than that of a hen’s, and its purpose is to help cool the bird’s body by radiating heat, similar to the comb.
Snood: To hairdressers and certain other groups, a snood can refer to a type of netlike hat that confines tightly rolled hair. Our young tom turkeys are developing snoods of their own, but these are growing on the fronts of their faces, just above the beak. The snood of a turkey is another fleshy appendage. When a turkey puffs up to impress predators, visitors (or lady turkeys!), the snood will extend, and turn bright red.
Caruncle: Sounds like the noise a frog might make, doesn’t it? Caruncles are actually knoblike protuberences on the non-feathered base of a turkey’s neck …not to be confused with carbuncles. Like the snood, caruncles will flush when the turkey is excited.
“Shooting the red” –the term used to describe young turkeys that have lost their baby down and have begun to develop caruncles.
One more: rafter. Like most of us, I look up to the inside of a building for the rafters. Not in this case, however. A rafter is a group of turkeys.
Now, here’s the assignment. See if you can use each of these words, correctly, in conversation this week. If that doesn’t work, see if you can locate a rafter of turkeys and just observe their unique body parts!