If released into the wild would farm turkeys eventully breed back into wild turkeys?

I know chickens can survive in the wild. Can turkeys? If you released a flock into the woods would they eventually breed back into wild turkeys, or not?

I don’t have a cite, but I’ve heard that turkeys’ breast muscles have been enlarged so much by breeding that it’s impossible for a male to mount a female anymore. They used to put “saddles” on the females to make it easier for the males, but now they use artificial insemination. So I don’t think they’d do very well in the wild.


What if the flock was released into an area with wild turkeys? Could the females survive on their own long enough to run into wild males and hatch a few mixed eggs?

Heh…come here to Papa and show me your butterball…

Just a nitpick, a animal once domesticated, and then finds it’s way on it’s own is called ferrel, not wild.

Assuming that they are not a breed that has been too excessively modified, and that they are not in an area where predators while make short work of them, domestic turkeys will readily revert to something very close to the wild type in a few generations.

Here’s an article about feral turkeys on Martha’s Vinyard.

This page mentions feral flocks elsewhere in Massachusetts.

This page mentions feral turkeys in Illinois.

Feral flocks derived from domestic birds can be distinguished from true wild birds in the U.S. because the tip of the tail is white instead of chestnut. Domesticated turkeys are derived from a subspecies in Mexico with a white-banded tail, as opposed to the northern subspecies which has a chestnut band.

Nitpick of a nitpick: it’s “feral.”

Thanks. Esp. to Colibri.

This part was interesting. I never would have imagined a turkey’s gizzard would be that powerful.

Another reason turkeys might find it tricky in the wild is their well know propensity to drown whenever it rains.

It’s probably worth expanding on that thought - natural selection may cause the population to ‘revert’ to something morphologically similar to the wild types, there’s no guarantee that the result will be genetically closely similar to the wild type (in fact, it’s unlikely), because similar morphologies do not necessarily require similar genes.