Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

May 2006


Publication of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.


Height and shape of keel differ in domestic and wild turkeys. Wild birds typically have a dip in the keel and no drastic slope change after the dip. The distance from the lip on the upper edge of the sternum to the tip of the cranial end of the keel is obviously greater in wild than domestic birds. Note that not only the distance between the arrows differs in the figure above, but also the curvature of the slope. Breadth of the keel is greater on domestic birds, but the height of the keel is greater on wild toms. The dorsal lateral process is larger on wild birds. Tip of keel is not calcified on store-bought birds. Note the lip on the top edge of the sternum in domestic birds. Again, the width of the keel is much greater on domestic turkeys.

In cludes illustrations of wild toms vs. domestic toms and wild hens vs. domestic hens (bones).