Osceola turkey chicks were hatched to mom Giblet on September 9 and 10 at Brevard Zoo. These chicks are the first of their species to hatch at the Zoo.
The Zoo’s small flock of turkeys has lived at the Zoo since September 2020, and although the females had laid eggs in the past, they had not produced any chicks until recently. The chicks’ sire, Green Bean Casserole, lives with Giblet and other female turkeys Gravy and Cranberry.
This food-named flock had previously lived in a habitat near the Zoo’s Wild Florida entrance with white-tailed deer Persimmon and Baird’s tapir Josie. Over the past few months, the Zoo’s animal care team made some changes to the animals’ habitats, including renovating the large area by Florida black bears to house turkeys, Persimmon and four-month-old deer fawn Plum.
The reason for breeding success could be the new space, but animal care staff cannot say for certain. Green Bean Casserole may have also become more interested in his fellow female turkeys.
Giblet laid a total of 11 eggs in mid-August. This being her first time laying a viable nest, the
Zoo’s animal care team was unsure of how many chicks would hatch. On Friday, September 9, two turkey chicks emerged from their eggs, and another made its way out the next day.
“Giblet is an amazing first-time mom and is very protective of her offspring,” said Marc Franzen, Wild Florida Area Supervisor. “The chicks are all doing well and are staying close to mom but moving around more every day.”
Giblet and her three younglings are currently spending their days in their habitat in Wild Florida, and their nights inside a night house. “This reduces the threat of predation while keepers are not able to monitor the group,” said Marc. On Wednesday, Giblet and the chicks were given access to the entirety of their habitat so they can interact with the other turkeys and deer Persimmon and Plum.
There is potential for more turkey chicks in the future at the Zoo as female Cranberry is sitting on a nest of her own. The Zoo’s animal care team has spotted eight eggs in her nest and will candle them soon to assess their viability. Once laid, turkey eggs incubate for approximately 28 days from the time the last egg of the clutch has been laid.