Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Turkey Experience

So beautiful
 Last   May some friends asked if we would like to get turkeys from them. Seems you have to order at least 15 turkey chicks and they had no desire to keep 15, so we said yes.

We were given 6 little turkey chicks, and one chicken chick. The chicken chick is to show the turkeys how to do simple things like, find the water and food.....

Now these were not the kind of turkeys that feed the masses on Thanksgiving. These were Heritage
Turkeys.  From what I understand they are a  cross of European and Native turkeys.

As I recall after the first night at least one died. Actually every morning for a few days it was touch and go.

With the rabbits. See the chick on their backs?
I had heard that turkeys are notoriously difficult to brood, but I felt confident we could do it!

 I realized they were getting cold and that they seemed, well ...sensitive in an emotional way. They just seemed shy,
kind of clueless. So I put them in with my rabbits and we had no more problems.

The rabbits are soft, warm and gentle. The chicks would lie between them or just sit on top of them
and snuggle up...they began to thrive.

Unfortunately they did not get much smarter. For example where as chickens will go into the coop when the sun sets, the turkeys just could not be trained to do so. The chickens could easily find their way back and forth between pens and fences, not the turkeys. They just aren't programed to think.
Now I could make all kinds of jokes about jive turkeys and such but I think you get the idea.

So every night for all these months we have been going out at night and rounding up turkeys and putting them in the coop to be safe.

Then one night we plain old got sick of it. We left them out. Sure enough the next morning one was
missing. I noticed vultures in the meadow and of course found the missing turkey.

 After that we decided to keep the turkeys cooped all the time. I mean we just couldn't go to all that work and then let a fox or some other animal get them!

I called my husband at work one day and told him the turkeys were depressed. They were too. They were, are... regal animals. Keeping them penned seemed just wrong. Now the alternative did not make us
happy.. but what could we do?

Yes, I came home on Halloween to find them all, well, ready for the freezer.

My husband said he didn't want to do it, but he felt it was the kindest thing to do.

We will not raise turkeys again.

I have heard that Ben Franklin wanted to make the turkey our national bird. I understand why, they truly
are beautiful animals. I for one think they should be wild.

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