Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Brandon's Birthday Turkey

Last Saturday was Brandon's fortieth birthday, and when Jamie arrived at the farm to help us get started with a celebration, he asked when we got a giant turkey.  We have a turkey?! 

We do!  Sure enough, when we went outside to make sure Jamie could tell the difference between a chicken and turkey, we found this guy strutting his stuff for the chickens.  Good eye, Jamie, that's definitely not a chicken.  The turkey has white feathers with black stripes, a long black patch of feathery hair dangling from his chest, a light blue face, and loose wrinkly skin on his neck and head that changes color from white to red depending on his mood.    

A birthday surprise, right?  He stayed all day, greeting guests as they arrived, and impressed us all by puffing his feathers and spreading his tail.  He gobbles when someone laughs, which makes us laugh, which makes him gobble.  He's fun that way.  

The turkey spends the day hanging near the chickens and sleeps at night on a table near the barn.  The turkey belongs to the same neighbors that frequently lend us their pigs.  Apparently, if you call your little plot of land a farm, animals just appear to populate it!  Who knew.  We now have: 

1 dog
3 cats
4 guineas
1 turkey
2 pigs (day time custody only)
32 chickens

Our neighbor must have realized his turkey was at our place, because he stopped by to discuss the situation with Brandon today.  He used to own two turkeys, but a predator got one of them while it was caged up.  Brandon called me at work to tell me that he's pretty sure this turkey now belongs to me, unless I specifically tell the neighbor to come and get it.  Thank you neighbor.  I think...

I worry that the turkey will fall prey to a raccoon or coyote, but the neighbor thinks that if he's free to roost where he will, then he can fend for himself.  I guess I'll find out, unless I can figure out how to make a turkey coop and convince the turkey to use it.   

We lost one of the guineas to a predator, most likely a hawk.  It was the guinea with a hurt foot, so it probably couldn't escape as fast as the others.  Now we have two pairs, which is good since guineas pick a mate and stick with them.  Each night they come back to the coop to roost, so I knew they aren't sitting on a nest of eggs yet.  Even the guineas stay out of the turkey's way.  I have to spread the breakfast grains in a broad area so the chickens can get some even though the turkey is trying to keep it all for himself.  He pulls a beak full of feathers from any bird that doesn't respect his presence during meal time.  

Enjoy this short clip of the turkey trying to keep the chickens from eating their dinner. 

In other poultry news - I found a tiny egg in the chicken coop from one of the baby chickens!  Which goes to show that they are not babies any more.  We're making plans to thin the flock of extra roosters and make a nest box for the hens.  I can't wait to have too many eggs.  

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