Tagged: Irish Examiner
Time is running out for our terrible turkey twosome. They’re much larger than when they arrived – a little bit taller than a Little Missy at this stage – and strut about the garden as if it is their own especial fiefdom. They were eight weeks old when I picked them up from poultry specialist David Kelly; now, almost three months later, it’s nearly time to say goodbye.
As published in the Irish Examiner on 2 October 2010.“They’re rather…ugly,” said Scott, aka the husband, gazing intently at the pair of awkward-looking eight-week old turkeys that he had just wrestled from the boot of my car into their new home. All long legs, ruffled feathers and indignant hissing, they huddled together in the back corner. “We’ll have no problem eating such awful looking birds!” he added with satisfaction. Eighteen-month-old Hannah, fascinated with any animal that crosses her path, wanted to join them in the house but they were having none of it. A few squawks quickly saw her off and she was easily distracted with her regular playmates: the hens and cats. Thankfully, there would be no love lost there either. It’s a little early to be getting into “the turkeys have gone to help Santa get ready for Christmas” explanations.
Barbara Kingsolver may be responsible for propagating the myth that turkeys are so suicidally dumb that they can drown just by gazing skywards as it rains but a quick online search will soon see you right. In 2003, Tom Savage, a poultry scientist at Oregon State University tried to get some respect for the turkey population by explaining that the only reason turkeys stare at the sky is because of a misunderstood genetic nervous disorder. According to his observations, the birds were no less intelligent than any similar fowl. I beg to differ.
They may not be recognisable from the shrink-wrapped fowl that you can pick up at the supermarket for your Christmas dinner but these awkward-looking animals are actually turkeys. Bronze turkeys, to be precise, and they came to live down the bottom of my garden a month ago. They are not pets: they are dinner and, especially when they’re misbehaving, I’m already dreaming about a golden roasted turkey, complete with all the trimmings, quietly steaming away on the Christmas table.