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Teenage Turkey Love

My pet turkeys, a bird of their own, so DIFFERENT in so many ways from other birds, and as pets for the family

My turkey girls turned one year old on April 1, just a few weeks ago.

They are both from local parents, but my Royal Palm girl, Cricket, is the offspring of one of my dearest friends from Georgia. He lost his 47 acres to foreclosure two years ago, and I drove down there in a borrowed van to help him find a rental property and pack. I brought back nearly 40 of his animals to place up here.  Among them were his three rare heritage breed Royal Palms.

My Bleu Belle is a Spanish Black hen, and is a total "momma's girl", she has been this way from the first. I got them both as under 24-hour-old poults, and while they are not "imprinted' in the Konrad Lorenz sense of the term, they are most certainly bonded to me.

These girls are both Rare Heritage Turkey breeds, which are breeds that hearken back to what Pilgrims brought over and have been improved with wild turkeys for their hardiness, taste and dual purpase abilities - egg production (less so than chickens) and meat.  I have been having so much fun on my rare heritage turkey list, meeting people and learning about these birds.

I don't have a tom, but can't rule that out at any point in the future, and the way my girls hearts right now (ahhh, Spring ... ) I think that I would be the most popular Turkey Mom in the world if I brought home a boy.

What strikes me most about my girls are their personalities. They are unlike ANY bird that I have had, not the ostrich or emu that I worked with in CO in pre-vet school, nor my chickens, ducks, geese (both wild and domestic), swans, parrots, etc. 

These girls are into EVERYTHING–they are inquisitive, intelligent, interactive, and more like people than other birds.  They have funny quirks–when they were three months old, Bleu Belle tried to get up on a chair that Cricket was sitting on, had a hard time landing on the back, finally got up there, then the weight of both of them tipped it over. Cricket gave Bleu Belle the BIGGEST dressing down, clearly blaming her–and she was right–for the fiasco! They were hysterical!

I would have to describe them as more like dogs than birds. They come when called, do Turkey Tricks, love to be held and petted. They snuggle, purr, and have to be personally involved in whatever I do, especially gardening and weeding. They will freely run into the house, and when they do, Cricket "files" (any paper or book within reach is instantly thrown over her shoulder) and Bleu Belle organizes–she carries things from one area of a room to another. No shiny object or colourful object is safe from interactive scrutiny, and ususally the end result of the interaction is a very creative one. Whoever coined the term: "Bird brains" had not ever met turkeys!

Do any of you readers have turkeys?  If so, what kind, and how old, and share your stories - I would LOVE to hear.

Dorene, Cricket and Bleu Belle–gobble gobble, purrrrrrrrrrrrr

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Millie Hill April 17, 2012 at 05:17 PM
What a sweet story. They seem smarter than some of the drivers on the road today!
Jessie Hoagland April 17, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Love it! Are you going to be part of the 2nd Annual Sustainable Backyard Tour happening all over Saint Louis on Sunday June 24th?
Dorene Olson April 18, 2012 at 02:37 PM
YOIKES! Asking self: "Did I know about the 2nd Annual Sustainable Backyard Tour?". Is this the one that is being put on by Terry Winkleman from our Meetup Chicken list? I am scrambling to find my calendar, so I guess the easy answer is NO! - I am not on any tour, but YES! - I will be going!
Dorene Olson April 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Millie - you are so right! Millie would actually be a GREAT turkey name! I have some friends from the Backyard Meetup Chicken group that are in the process of naming their new chicks. They had my dying with laughter when they told me that they chose the name "Brunhilda" for this one tiny, precocious little pullet. When I started working at Bellefontaine Cemetery for Canada goose management, I was absolutely smitten with looking at all the old-fashioned names there. I have been collecting them as I am constantly naming things that come into my rescue programmes. It's too bad you weren't a fly on the wall, er ... tree ... yesterday afternoon in my backyard. I was carrying two little rescue hens who have severe health issues to their outdoor pen. They live inside for medical care. The girls, Cricket and Bleu Belle, were out dabbling around in the Way Back. They heard me talking to Lovey and Sumo-san and RAN RAN RAN screaming and flapping and flying and running all the way up the hill to kerplunk instantly, one on each foot of mine, to purr. Which, apparently, is hard to do when you are out of breath from running, flapping, flying, and gobbling all at the same time. Turkeys, I just adore mine! Dorene and the Poultry People

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