Wars of December
(Turkeys fighting)
The Winter S
olstice has just passed and the Turkeys
are at War.
The Alpha winner of this annual battle is awarded the privilege to mate with the turkey hens for the upcoming spring breeding season.
(Well, for as long as he can retain his tenuous status. There will be more combat.....)

The fighting begins a little earlier her in Central Florida, however this "winter war" is a continuation of a 100 million year old ritual. Feathered Dinosaurs.

Latest Study Anseriformes (ducks & geese) and Galliformes (Turkeys, game birds & chickens) originated in the late Cretaceous. Most other bird families appeared soon after the great dinosaur extinction.

Tooth loss in birds occurred about 116 million years ago.

December......The verbal challenges continues into the night on the roost.

This is war after all.

Snoods flying in the Florida winter

December and January are noisy as the Tom Turkeys attempt to increase their standing in the flock social status.

There can be only one.......

Video clip: Turkey grappling or "Face Grabbing"

The teen birds are not immune to the winter solstice battles.

(the young toms have red faces when excited)

By January or February, the strongest Tom will have fought his way to the alpha status. The fighting will have largely subsided and turkey breeding begun. Actually the hens are already laying down for the Toms and that may have prompted the male combat to start early.

And that in itself will cause a different set of problems (I added this statement on January 1)

Today I counted three hens that have already mated with Toms.

So in theory: Two week of laying eggs and 28 days of sitting the nest.......Places the poults hatching the second week of February. Not cold by northern standards but still the overnight temperatures could drop to 45. The baby turkeys will be fine overnight, but I will have to place a heat lamp in the pen for their daytime turkey adventures.

Additional page of Turkey Fighting Pictures

And another page of Turkey Fighting Pictures

(I have a lot of Toms, & so a lot of fights

Return Home from Wars of December page

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