The Breeding Potential of the Wild Turkey Hen

A literature review revealed that little data-based information on the breeding potential of the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is available. A nine-year study in which the emphasis was on nesting attempted to supply some of this information. We observed 155 nests and found that most hens, including yearlings, attempted to nest each spring and most adult hens renested if they lost their first clutch early in incubation. Clutch sizes and hatchability were not greatly different in first and second nests or between age classes, but yearling hens did not as often attempt to renest as did adults. The incubation period was less than 27 days. It is concluded that the breeding potential of the wild turkey. in respect to laying, is probably greater than generally supposed.

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