How to age your turkey

Discussion in 'Turkey Hunting' started by J E Custom, May 12, 2008.

  1. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    I'm not sure how many people want to know the age of there turkeys
    but if you eat them then it can make a difference in what you shoot and
    how you cook them.

    Some think it's the length of their beard, this is true only for the first couple
    of years,after that this is no longer very accurate.

    The best way is with the spurs.

    If a turkey has little bumps where the spurs should be he is around one
    year old.(some call this a jake) and the tail will have 4 feathers in the center
    that are longer than the rest when you fan them out.

    Turkeys grow about a 1/4" of spurs per year ( The black Part or Nail ).

    A 2 year old turkey will have spurs around 1/4 " long and a beard 2 or 3"

    A 3 year old will have spurs about 1/2" long, and a beard 6 or 7" depending on
    who was his daddy,This is where the genetics kick in.

    And a 4 year old will have spurs about 3/4" long and 7 to 9" beard.

    There are exceptions to this depending on the time of the hatch and
    other variables but as a rule it is very accurate.

    So if you take a turkey and he has 1" spurs he is approximately 5 years

    On turkeys 5 years or older I will breast him out and take the short thighs
    only because the drum sticks have the bone splinters In them .

    A 2 or 3 year old is perfict for thanksgiving or christmas with the skin on.

    We have both the eastern and Rio Grande strains and size and beard
    length varies but spur length works for both when ageing.

    Just some Info