Here Come the Hens

The Woods are Alive with Turkeys

Nothing makes the still, cold winter woods come alive like a flock of hen turkeys approaching.  This video of a flock of hens, parading past the camera, seems to set the whole forest in motion.

Hens and their poults form the biggest flocks in the fall and winter. This flock seems to be on a mission, hardly stopping to scratch and peck.  They may be skeedadling from a perceived threat or just in a hurry to get somewhere else.

The third hen from the end has a beard which is about average for this flock of eleven.  About ten percent of hens grow a beard.


A bearded hen is novel, though not rare. If you hunt turkeys in the fall where hens are legal and see a bearded hen you might be tempted to shoot that  hen specifically because of its beard.  But a bearded hen is a mature hen with poults that will depend on her to survive the winter. If you are going to pick out a turkey dinner from a hen flock I would suggest a taking smaller poult and let the mature hens walk so they can guide the rest of the flock through winter. Its hard to beat a young turkey for table fare anyway.

And taking a bearded hen is not even close to the challenge of taking a wily, mature, beard swinging tom.

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