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Jake weight/beard/spur question.

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Tanglewood Taxidermy, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    What causes a Rio jake that is 15 pounds with a 4" beard and 3/4" spurs to be in the same group that has an 8 pound jake with a 1/4" beard and spur that is a rubbery nob 1/8" with others at various sizes in between?

    Is it because they are from early and late nestings or particular genetics, or a little of both?
  2. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    Wow, that is a big difference in weights between the 2 jakes! Where I hunt in Nebraska the turkeys tend to scatter in the spring. During the summer and early fall the toms/jakes tend to congregate back together in small groups. I'm sure some of the jakes/toms in these groups come from different areas and potentially have different genetics....and possibly had different diets during the spring and early summer.

    I wonder if turkeys are like humans? Some have genetics for small bodies and others for larger bodies? It may also be a difference in feed or time that each was hatched? Obviously poults that hatch earlier or live in areas with better feed have the potential of having larger bodies their first year in life. An untimely snowstorm or heavy rain event may make it tougher for poults hatched at that week in the spring to have a rougher time surviving than a week or 2 later....or visa-versa. There are so many different factors. I have a feeling you are seeing a little bit of everything that causes different size and weights.

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Thanks jimss. I'm thinking genetics may be the reason, since all eight of the jakes I have killed were within a 200 yard radius, so diet, I believe, shouldn't be much of a factor in the wide range of differences.

    I believe that most living creatures fall within a range of what is consistent with the species, however, my observations of critters like deer as an example, genetics and nutrition dictate wether it will fall within the lower, upper or midrange of what is considered normal, so I would think turkeys would be the same way.

    I wonder when the earliest hatches happen and when the latest hatches take place? Is it a few weeks or more than a month or two?

    I can see where jakes hatched in early spring could be mixing with jakes hatched in late spring, however, would those few weeks really make that much of a difference a year later?

    My grandson and I doubled on jakes from the same group at the same time early in the season. One had 3 1/2" beard, 3/4" spurs and weighed 13 pounds and one had a 1 1/2" beard, 3/8" spurs and was 11 pounds.

    This is just something we have question over the years and never asked anyone before now.
  4. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    In the area I hunt in Nebraska the rio/rio crosses migrate over a super large area between spring and winter. In fact they wander as far as 20 miles between seasons. It sounds like where you are they have a fairly small home range? In Nebraska and here in Colorado single hens start wandering away from flocks to nest starting the first or second week in April (depending upon the weather). Toms are still strutting and breeding hens into the first week in June. There is around a 2 month swath where they are nesting so I'm sure there would be a difference in size of poults the first year. I'm not sure if the turkeys would catch up in size by the 2nd season. I think a lot would depend upon their diets. If you live in the area and are in the field you might notice if there are differences in poult size during the summer and into the fall?

    An 8 or 11 lb jake is mighty small! Almost all of the toms I shoot are in the 20 to 25 lb range. I'm sure the jakes are a chunk smaller but I don't think I've seen any jakes that are 8 to 11 lbs? The turkeys where I hunt in Nebraska have a diet of corn from early fall through the winter and early spring. It sounds like the diet for turkeys in your area may be limited? There is also a huge hierarchy with turkeys. Dominate hens, jakes, and toms likely have precedence over best eating spots. If food is limited you can imagine who gets the cream of the crop! Also, how tough are your winters? If there is deep snow and they are limited in diet that may be part of what you are seeing?

    We have pure mountain merriams above my house in Colorado. They don't have any corn in their diets. The toms I harvest here are a chunk smaller in body size but they are still in the 18 to 21 lb range. I still don't think any of the jakes are 8 to 11 lbs. I almost wonder if there is a nutrition deficit or if something else is going on...possibly some sort of disease or something else that is affecting their health? It's always possible you have a strain of turkey genetics in your area that have super small bodies. Do you notice size difference in the hens as well? All of the jakes I see here in Colo are a chunk bigger in body size than all the hens. The small jakes you mentioned are pretty darn small!
  5. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    The description of my hunt area is as follows; It is located between the base of the foot hills of the Oregon Coast Mountain Range and the Willamette Valley. It is temperate rain forest made up of fir trees, oak and maple that surround small tracts of cattle ranches and grape vineyards. The grazing land is natural grass, no corn or other mast crops. Winters are mild and somewhat wet, with the temperature staying between 30 and 50 degrees, only dropping below 30 for two or three weeks in January and snows infrequently, rarely more than 6 inches, which melts away with in a week or two.

    I have killed three hens during the fall season. We are allowed two turkeys either sex per fall season. I killed two last year. One had a 7 1/2" beard, an 1/8" spur and weight 7 1/2 pounds. The other weighed 10 pounds. I killed a hen about 4 hours ago and she weighed 8 pounds.

    Of the toms that I have killed, If I remember correctly, I had two that made it to 20 pounds. Most were 17 to 19 pounds and all but three had beards over 9" and spurs over 1". One of the 20 pounders had a 10 1/2" beard and 1 1/4" spurs. The other had a 9 1/2" beard and 1" spurs. Last year I killed a tom that had an 8" beard, a 9 3/4" beard and one 1 1/2" spur that was just under 19 Pounds. The turkeys around this area can sport one spur only or no spurs at all. I killed on tom with an 8 1/2" beard and no spurs at all, not even a bump.

    The majority of the jakes and hens I see together are similar in size, which if it weren't for head and plumage coloring and a visible beard, you would not be able to distinguish them apart based on size.
  6. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I will add that crop inspections in spring and fall show a diet of grass, clover and dandelions making up the majority of the content.
  7. duxrus

    duxrus Active Member

    If it had3/4” spurs it wasn’t a jake. Odds are it had beard rot that shortened its beard.
  8. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    It had an uneven tail meaning it had 4 center feathers about three to four inches longer than the rest, so, I assumed it was a jake.
  9. duxrus

    duxrus Active Member

    Well the tail would say jake better than spur size so he must have been a Super jake. Might have been a very early hatch with good genetics
  10. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Ya, the spurs were really wide and round. I have killed three toms, one with a 5 1/2" beard, a 6" beard and a 7 1/2" beard and they each had 3/4" sharp pointed spurs and full tails. They all three weighed between 15 and 17 pounds, so, I think you are right about it being a super jake.
  11. It's got a lot to do with when there hatched, here at home are earliest will hatch 1st of June all the way to about mid to late july, studies have concluded that hens will try to renest up to 3 times before giving up for the year, each try pushes them significantly back, a lot of Jake and even Tom breeding groups are nest brothers, but a lot of groups are formed the previous fall when there mother pushes them out, so all different sized Jakes in a group are common, genetic surly play a roll but with all bird they all reach an average size, some on the high end some on the low,these Jake group move at the end of breeding season to ensure genetic divesity, that's my 2 cents! I'd say it's mostly hatch time I've killed born that year Jake's in the fall with beards bigger that a couple I've seen killed 6 months later in april, these are not super jakes, super Jake are 2nd fall gobblers around here usually 16 to 20 pounds 6 to 8 inch beards and 1/2 to 3/4 spurs, sizes are close to this in other states I hunt! Again these are my observation of witch ive logged thousands hope this helps!
    God bless
  12. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the response. I guess there is no definitive answer for one cause, as there seems to be multiple reasons for what I am seeing.

    I see hens with chicks the second week of April here.