On December 23, 2017, I shot a wild turkey hen. While dressing out the carcass, I found these tiny egg clusters that were attached to the inside of her lower backbone. Apparently, these are the beginning of egg formation.
Until I found these tiny egg packets the question of when eggs begin to develop in a wild turkey had never occurred to me. And since I usually try not to shoot adult hens during the fall hunt, this is the first December hen I have dressed out in preparation for the table.
Also, see When do Turkeys nest in Wisconsin?
It is legal to shoot any turkey during Wisconsin’s fall season so why do I try not to take a hen?
An adult hen (brood hen) is a proven breeder, so I choose to focus on the jakes and jennies, thinking turkey biology, they are the most likely members of a turkey flock not survive the long cold winters. In other words, they are more likely to perish so why not put those excellent eating turkeys on the table?
In December most turkeys are approaching the same size, except for some late in the season hatched chicks. Documented turkey nests with incubating eggs have been located as late as mid-August. Over the years, on three occasions, I have discovered broods of flightless poults at the end of August.
Other interesting observations from the hen.
I do not know what kind of insect it is. Even when temps are subzero, these bugs can be found moving around at the base of trees and in the bark when the sun warms the south side.