In spite of wet, chilly weather wild turkeys are hatching all across West Central Wisconsin. Ground temperatures are more important than the air temperature in determining the timing of laying, setting and hatching. Recently hatched poults are being reported near their nests with the brood hen nearby watching over them.
Other broods that consist of fully feathered poults with limited flying skills have been seen along roadsides and in ditches feeding on insects. Insects are the most important first food items for the newly hatched turkeys. These poults are roosting in trees at night; this provides them much more safety than huddling on the ground with their brood hen.
Poults can be very hard to see in all the lush springtime growth. More than likely poults have been hatching since early May when ground temperatures rose to 50 degrees.
If a brood or nest is destroyed, hens will re-nest until late August to early September, and this is why hunters sometimes see grouse sized poults in October.
Hens store sperm for about 90 days to make re-nesting possible. Gobblers can continue to breed hens through July; occasionally strutters will be spotted in fields during July with hens present.
If you like what you see, I urge you to get out and see what is going on in your area and then let us know here in the comment section. I really enjoy being out at all times of the year.