In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

12 Fun Facts About Turkeys to Know

Before you gobble up some turkey, learn a little about them.

You can find turkeys in the grocery store at all times of the year but most are prepared for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Before you sit down to eat turkeys, know these fun facts to amaze and astound your guests.


1. Arkansas is one of the top six states in the country raising turkeys at 26,000,000 in 2016 according to WorldAtlas. Minnesota and North Carolina are the top two.

2. When wild turkeys attack! They have been known to chase and peck at pets and humans. They possess a social hierarchy structure and will attack if it thinks you are subordinate. If you are assaulted, you can yell, fend them off with a broom, make lots of loud noises, wave your arms and turn your hose on them.

3. Only two species of turkeys exist and they live in North America. One only lives in the forest of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.

4. Turkeys got their name because they look similar to African Guinea Fowl which Turkish merchants brought into Europe.

5. In 2020, 224,000,000 turkeys were raised and sold.

6. The heaviest dressed turkey weighed in at 86 pounds! Imagine the thaw and cooking time for that bird!

7. Only male turkeys gobble.

8. Wild turkeys can fly and they can gain speeds up to 55 miles per hour. They also sleep and hunt in trees just like alligators.

9. There’s about 5,000-6,000 feathers on an adult turkey.

10. The fastest time to carve a turkey is 3 minutes and 19.47 seconds. According to the Guinness Book of World Records,  Paul Kelly of Danbury in the United Kingdom achieved the time. He also holds the world record for the fastest time to pluck three turkeys (11 minutes, 30.16 seconds) barely beating famous chef Gordon Ramsey.

11. Turkey heads can change color reflective of their mental state; the more vibrant the color, the more emotional they are.

12. Nowadays, the Butterball Turkey Talk Line fields over 100,000 turkey-prep related questions. When it launched in 1981, six people answered 11,000 questions.


Now that you know these fun facts about turkeys, you can always raise your awareness about another bird popular in the South.

How they do it: 20 fried turkeys at a time

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