Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Ol' Tom Gets a Taste of Blood

by Pa Rock
Poultry Provocateur

I love to feed the birds, all of the birds. from the tiny titmouse that clings to my feeder to the three enormous tom turkeys that call Rock's Roost their home.  I keep the bird feeder outside of my front window stuffed with seed, and it gives me no end of pleasure throughout the day.

The domestic birds, however, eat more or less on a schedule, particularly in the winter when bugs are scarce.  I scatter feed for the chickens, guineas, and turkeys each morning when I open the coop at daylight, and it is at that time that I fill the peacocks' feed pans as well.  A little before noon I make a trip across the yard tearing off small bits of bread and scattering it on the ground.  All of the free birds rush forward to enjoy their daily bread treat.  Eventually I work my way back to the aviary by the barn where I cap off the morning by feeding the peacocks their bread.

In the evening the peacocks get sunflower seeds and dry dog food scattered in their area.  They particularly love the handful of dog food and go for it before the sunflower seeds.

Yesterday morning there was a problem with the bread-feeding that impacted my interactions with the poultry over the rest of the day.

The three old tom turkeys, and they are actually only about nine-months-old but wobble around appearing to be closer to senior citizen status, are growing increasingly mean and cranky - a bit like John McCain when Lindsey forgets to give him his Metamucil.   I have separated one into a pen after his two brothers tried unsuccessfully to kill him with their beaks, but the other two remain free - and they always come-a-wobbling when they see me feeding bread to the chickens and guineas.  Because the turkeys are cumbersome and slow, they are usually unable to get any bread from the ground before the smaller fowl grab it up.  With that in mind, I have taken to feeding each of the turkeys a few bites by hand - and even then chickens will sometimes jump up and snatch it from the gobblers' beaks.

One of the Tom's is a bit near-sighted, or extra malicious, and occasionally bites my finger while he grabs for the bread - and it hurts!  Yesterday he appeared to be overly excited as he lunged forward and managed to grab most of my thumb in his beak.  And it hurt - damn Sam did it hurt!  By the time I extricated my poor thumb from the beak of the felonious fowl, it was bleeding quite profusely.   I wasn't even able to complete the feeding because the slices of bread that I was carrying were soaking up blood and turning bright red and soggy.

I turned the remainder of the day's domestic chores over to my son and spent four hours trying to stop the bleeding - but to no avail.  Finally, late in the afternoon, I gave up and went to my doctor's office without an appointment.  It was after five in the afternoon when a nurse practitioner finally was able to get my poor thumb taped up.  It turns out that the Plavix and baby aspirin that I take for blood-thinning purposes actually do work!

Today the thumb is bleeding again - and I am thinking how delicious a turkey roasting over an open fire in the backyard would smell!  Ol' Tom has his defenses - and I have mine!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you were hurt...I have two sun conure parrots, I know how beaks can cause some accidental pain when excited! Really enjoy reading your posts. I liked reading this one, the way you describe your day feeding the various birds...with your writing style, feels like I'm seeing what you see :) Thank you! NB