Friday, January 24, 2014

Chuckles From the Chicken Coop-Turkey Tales

Not much happens on the hobby farm in January so I'm pulling out an old story about our chickens.  Actually, it's about our turkeys.  We decided to add turkeys to our flock and the minimum purchase at our local feed and seed was six.  Young turkeys are more precarious in their early days than young chicks and require special food and water additives.  We did this diligently and kept them indoors in our basement under heat lamps while they grew.  Still, a few did not make it.

Eventually, we moved them out to the chicken yard and lost a few more to natural causes and predators.  Then we were down to two turkeys - a male and a female.  They ended up taking quite a bit more space and feed than our chickens and the male became quite aggressive.  Though beautiful when he would ruffle his tail feathers, displaying them proudly, he also pecked and stalked when you visited.  I have memories of going into the chicken yard with an old broom for self defense, just in case.  "Tom" was his name - creative, I know.
We often let the chickens and turkeys out of the chicken yard to free range, get juicy insects, fresh greenery and a little freedom.  They forage around and love it.  I also have memories of, when Tom was outside the fenced chicken yard, running for the pasture gate being chased by him, yelling to my daughter, "Get the gate, get the gate!" and feeling so silly that I was running from a turkey.  I have subsequently heard other stories about their aggression so now I don't feel so bad.

We decided it was time for the turkeys to go and thought we would just leave them out and nature would take its course.  After my chicken plucking story, you know why I wasn't about to attempt to pluck a turkey.  Well, they wouldn't leave.  The female eventually wondered off, but the male would not.  He came up on our porch.  He fell in our pool.  He looked in the windows.  Creepy.
Finally, we loaded him in a crate and took a long ride down a country road and released him.  I'm sure some fox or hunter appreciated the opportunity.  It's all about the food chain folks.  Anyhow, life on a hobby farm is an endless source of stories.

Today's story is I need to take a pitcher of hot water over to the chickens because I'm sure their water is frozen.  So, signing off . . .


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