It’s an old myth that turkeys are so stupid they’ll look up and drown themselves in a rain storm.
It’s true that if you’re raising turkeys, they should be kept out of the rain, but not because turkeys stay out there and drown themselves in the deluge, as the old tale has it.
The fact that turkeys are often found dead after a heavy shower spawned the vicious slander, and has surely sealed the turkey’s reputation as being dumber than a fencepost.
But in reality, there is a logical explanation for the deaths.
Turkeys are naturally endowed with two kinds of feathers, the hard, protective, outer feathers that give the turkey its distinct markings, and the soft, insulating down underneath that keeps the turkey warm.
The hard, outer feathers repel water, but younger turkeys lack them. As any camper can tell you, down loses its ability to insulate when it gets wet.
Young turkeys in the rain have no means of staying warm and can die from the cold.