Do you guys remember my three little turkey peeps from last year? The ones we rescued from the feed store when it became clear that they were quickly destined to be dinner?
We lost one little peep (my favorite) to his birth defect. We lost another to a predator.
But one of the little peeps survived.
And he isn’t so little anymore.
Meet Arthur of Camelot.
(You know, because llamas are camelids, and he lives with them…Aren’t we clever?)
He is a year old, nearly fifty pound, broad-breasted Tom.
Being a broad breasted turkey, Arthur is basically a mutant, but he’s our mutant, so we love him. He spends his days wandering around, looking pretty, gobbling about how impressive he is, and also following Jeremiah and I around while we do chores, requesting clover flowers and chest scratches.
After he lost both his friends, I sort of panicked that he would be lonely, so I searched online for a couple of pet turkeys. (I’m realizing that that sentence says more about who I am than almost anything I’ve ever written on here…)
I found these two. In keeping with our Camelot theme, I named them Guinevere and Morgana.
Unlike Arthur, they are a heritage breed (Blue Slate), so I don’t have to worry about them outgrowing their own skeletal system, which, frankly, is a relief.
Of course, Arthur never really bonded with them and, instead, thinks he’s an alpaca who happens to gobble a lot.
And the Blue Slates never really bonded with him either. In fact, they don’t seem to know they aren’t chickens.
So, I guess my mission to find friends for Arthur kind of failed.
I ended up with three completely useless, but kinda cute, birds that I never really planned on. I nicknamed them “the three most useless creatures on the farm,” and just accepted their gobble-y little selves for what they were…
But, it turns out, I had it all wrong. They aren’t so useless at all.
A few weeks ago, Jeremiah and I were standing in front of the llama barn talking while the poultry free-ranged. They were scattered about the pastures when I glanced up and noticed a sandhill crane flying over the farm. It wasn’t a hawk or an eagle, both of which will gladly prey upon my flock, but Arthur didn’t know that.
I watched him look up and start gobbling (apparently a different than normal gobble). As soon as his warning went out, all of my hens and the two other turkeys ducked and ran as fast as their little feathery legs could carry them out of the open pasture and into the barn!
That was when we realized that our ridiculous, fifty pound, pet turkey had appointed himself as guardian of our flock (like any good turkey who thinks he’s an alpaca would), doing a better job of watching out for the girls than any rooster we’ve ever had. (Guys, it was maybe the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I swear, he practically counted them once they were in to make sure everyone made it.)
Of course, that’s just one with a purpose out of three…
Until about two weeks ago.
See that fancy pants, speckled egg on top? That was our first ever turkey egg!
The turkey hens just started laying. So far, they’ve almost kept pace with the chickens, laying these big speckled eggs in the same nesting boxes.
The turkey eggs have higher fat and cholesterol than the chicken eggs, which makes them less ideal as a stand alone food, but perfect for baking! (I started using them last week, making a dish of brownies for my mom, and then another for my brother-in-law’s birthday.)
Guys, you have not lived until you have eaten brownies made with turkey eggs! They are so rich that it’s almost like fudge. I’m excited to experiment with cakes and breads!
Turns out, my turkeys had purpose all along. I just didn’t know it yet.