Sunday, December 20, 2015

More Turkey Tribulations

by Pa Rock
Farmer in Winter

It didn't take long after my arrival home yesterday to get swept back up in the drama of the farm.  I blogged in this space several days ago about the two turkey hens that a neighbor had given me.  One had already died by the time I wrote the piece, attacked at night by a predator because the hen had insisted on spending the night outside.  Since that posting, the other turkey hen has also been killed by predators - for the same reason.

That leaves me with the three old toms.  Well, they aren't really old - having been born last April - but they are huge and look like they could have been ambling and shambling around when dinosaurs roamed the earth.  They have wattles, beards, spurs, prehistoric-looking, scaly three-toed feet, and large, beautiful fans.  The toms are magnificent birds, but they are also getting meaner than hell.

My son had told me recently that they have taken to chasing and bullying him, but so far they had left me alone.  Two eat out of my hand daily , and the third had gotten as far as biting my fingers and then refusing to let go. 

Yesterday, shortly after I got back from Kansas City, the old gobblers began showing me their more hostile natures.  I was doing a walk-about checking on things when I came upon the turkeys.  One has been lame for a few weeks and often stays by himself while the others hunt bug snacks.  I discovered the three big birds together, with one of the healthy ones severely pecking the head and neck of the lame one - while the third bird seemed to be standing guard.  The bully appeared intent on killing his lame brother.  I yelled at the villainous creature and tried to pull him off of his victim, but he stood his ground and kept trying to kill the weakened turkey which was now prostrate on the ground.  I even grabbed the bully around the throat in an effort to end the assault, but he was tenacious.  Finally I got my son involved and we were able to separate the lame one into a pen by itself - where he remains today.

You know, if I were a turkey, I suspect that I could think of a better time than the beginning of Christmas week to start flaunting my mean streak.   Just saying . . .

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