Way, way back
Turkeys were domesticated approximately 2000 years ago by the indigenous people of Mesoamerica—specifically, the area which is now the central part of Mexico.
The name for a domesticated baby turkey is a poult or turkeyling. A turkey's average life span is 10 years.
Don't blame the bird
Turkey meat contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid to human diets that is attributed to the drowsiness people often experience after consuming turkey—like at Thanksgiving, for example. However, it is argued that any feelings of drowsiness are actually caused by all the food—particularly large amounts of carbohydrates and fats—consumed in addition to turkey.
If you're after protein, turkey meat clocks in at 28g per 100g serving, which beats out roast chicken (24.8g) and ground beef (23.1g). White meat is also considered to be healthier than its dark counterpart due to lower saturated-fat content.
They're delicious, but turkeys are also useful in other ways. Turkey litter— a mixture of droppings and bedding material, like wood chips—is now being used by electric power plants as a viable fuel source. There's one currently operating in Minnesota that uses 500 000 tons of litter per year to provide 55 megawatts of power.
Birds of a different feather
Turkeys are not all the same. There are numerous breeds of the bird including, the Broad Breasted White, the choice variety for large-scale industrial turkey farms, meaning it is the most widely consumed; the Broad Breasted Bronze, which is another strain that has been commercially developed; the Bourbon Red, which is a smaller, non-commercial breed characterized by red feathers and white markings; and the Chocolate, a more rare heritage breed characterized by light-brown markings and common in the Southern US. V