Can Turkeys Change Color? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Contrary to popular opinion, turkeys are exciting creatures with amazing attributes.

There are lots of things you may not know about them even if you eat them every thanksgiving or new year.

Can turkeys change color? Turkeys can change color but not every part of their body changes color. If you have turkeys then you would know that the skins of their head sometimes changes color.

It changes from red to blue to white depending on their moods, emotions and health.

Anxiety and excitement can make a turkey’s head turn red.

This is due to visible blood vessels lying directly under the skin of their head.

Are turkeys attracted to the color red?

Can Turkeys Change Color

Turkeys have amazing eyesight.

Not only do they see in colors, they see about 10 times better than humans.

The skin of their head spot different colors from red, blue, pink to white, so these colors are quite visible and prominent to them.

Turkeys are attracted to red but not in a good way.

Most times turkey get aggressive and attack humans wearing that color.

This happens mostly during the breeding season.

The reason for this is not really understood but it is probably because they have these on their bodies and see it on other turkeys too.

During mating season, male turkeys try to dominate each other and gain more relevance in front of the female turkeys.

They do this by harassing other turkeys, scaring them away and attacking them.

When they see humans wearing color red, that instinct to dominate and scare off is aroused and they attack.

At that point they see no difference between the human and other male turkeys.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on how to make money raising turkeys

Do turkeys turn blue when they are scared?

Yes, turkeys turn blue when they are scared.

Not their whole body but their heads and throats.

When turkeys are scared, their blood vessels contracts which exposes more collagen bands under their skin.

Incoming light then scatters and reflects off of their skin which makes it appear blue.

A retraction of blood from their wattles also makes them appear blue.

This happens when they are scared or threatened.

Why do turkeys turn white?

A turkey changes color based on its emotions and moods.

A turkey’s head changes from red to white when it is passive or feeling calm and relaxed.

Turkeys can also turn white when it is ready to breed or feeling dominant.

Why do turkeys’ wattles change color?

Wattles are the fleshy, bumpy skins seen at the base of turkeys’ necks.

They are more prominent in males and they change colors.

Turkeys’ wattles change color to depict their emotions and moods.

During courtship or when a male turkey is trying to woo a female, its wattles turn bright red.

Turkeys’ wattles can also turn red when they are angry or alarmed to a threat.

This color will quickly change to blue when the turkey is scared or threatened.

Turkeys’ wattles changing colors within seconds is always an amazement.

A turkey with white wattles is either sick or not properly fed.

You should take care of that turkey and monitor its health closely.

Also here is a comprehensive guide on everything raising turkeys

Why is my turkey purple?

Live turkeys rarely turn purple but if you see your turkey’s head developing a purplish hue, it could be sick.

It isn’t normal and you shouldn’t relax about it.

Separate it from the flock and monitor its health.

It is more common however to see a purple frozen turkey.

You may not have come across this before but it is common.

A frozen turkey that turns purple isn’t bad or stale.

This should not stop you from eating it.

You should only avoid eating a turkey when it is slimy or smells bad.

A bad turkey meat smells like rotten eggs. You can’t miss it.

A frozen turkey can turn purple if the blood wasn’t properly drained.

The blood underneath the skin collects and makes the skin appear bluish or purple.

Young turkeys can also be purple.

If a young turkey that hasn’t developed a good layer of fat, is killed, the meat can turn purple.

This doesn’t mean it is bad or unhealthy.

As long as you’re sure of the source of the turkey and its cooling, you can it.

What colors do turkeys not like?

Turkeys do not like red, white, blue and sometimes black.

Generally, turkeys don’t like bright colors. These colors are found in their feathers and bodies.

And since they fight among themselves trying to establish dominance and maintain hierarchy, wearing those colors can make them attack you seeing no difference between you and a turkey they should dominate or harass.

This is why you shouldn’t wear these colors around them.

You shouldn’t hunt them with these colors too, they’ll easily spot you and hide.

Turkeys see in color and when they see blue, red, white etc. in the forest, they immediately attribute it to threat.

This can make them or hide or attack the threat which is you.


Turkeys can change color to suit their moods and emotions.

Red means angry, blue scared and white passive, sick or not properly fed.

A frozen turkey can turn purple if it isn’t properly drained or if it is young.

Turkeys do not react well to these colors. You shouldn’t wear bright colors like red, blue, white etc. near a turkey, as it can provoke it to attack.

The turkey may see you as a threat or as a fellow turkey it needs to assert authority on.

You should not hunt with these colors too. You will be easily spotted and may even be attacked.


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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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