The Trouble with Turkeys

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.

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Arthur

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.

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Arthur in the stall with his old men llamas.

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.

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Farm fresh eggs – with a blue slate turkey egg on top!

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.

 

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Jeremiah and Guinevere…or maybe Morgana (even I can’t tell them apart most of the time)
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20 thoughts on “The Trouble with Turkeys

    1. I was a little nervous to try them, but apparently turkey eggs were a staple in the American diet until the industrial revolution. Who knew?
      And I am a very fortunate blogger in that my husband’s little sister is a super talented photographer who loves photographing my critters. About half of the photos are hers. (Used with permission, of course.)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My girlfriend and I bought a cute little house in PA. that as it turns out is an original log cabin built in 1900. My job was to restore the cabin back to its original condition. UNTIL, one day she wanted just 6 chickens to lay eggs for us. We now have 26 chickens and all my time is being used to build her a massive sub-dividable coop and yard. We have a resident red tail hawk who flies over watching me build his restaurant. She is worried about the chickens and read your story as well as others and now we also have an incubator with 4 bourbon turkey eggs and 4 indigo blue peacock eggs to hatch for watch “dogs”. Your story is helping her ease her mind if the turkeys sound the alarm when any predators come close. In the mean time, bird sanctuary growing immensely, cabin, haven’t done anything since the chicks arrival. If we need, does Arthur give lessons?

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    1. Oh my! Another victim of chicken math. (My husband feels your pain. He’s slotted to expand our coop this summer to accommodate all the new chickens I don’t need.)
      Just keep in mind that I only got one watchdog turkey out of the three (and the other two are completely oblivious to such things…but their eggs are awesome.) I’ve heard good things about goose watchdogs. Not sure about peacocks.
      I feel like an Arthur lesson would be hilarious…and probably a little ineffective.

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    2. I was very good at math in school and I still use it often. Chicken Math I am not so crazy about, but I am learning. Here goes it – 5 seconds that I don’t watch her she disappears + 10 minutes that it takes to find her = 6 / 8 more chickens that we don’t need ! We now have 32 flockin birds, 4 turkey eggs and 4 indigo peacock eggs in the cooker waiting to hatch, a phone call to River City Supplies for God only knows how many “special ” chicks she plans on getting and a trip to the poultry swap in Sharpsburg, Md. this Saturday, she needs help before she chicks again. Meanwhile, the local Lowe’s store has been thinking about nominating heras this springs favorite customer, cause the chicken ponderosa is growing fast. Where is Hoss and Little Joe when you really need them ? Meanwhile again, I have had an application and interviews to work at Lowe’s just to afford this horrible addiction. THANK GOD above she didn’t get any emu’s after reading about how 2 of them beat the crap out of a bobcat. Stop her, my only next move will be to purchase and fence in the state of Pennsylvania just to accommodate all of them, – OR – SUMMER BAR-B-Q ANYONE !!! PS , I have helped name them – Rotisserie, Deep Fried, Nugget, Bar-B-Q, Colonel Sanders, General Tso’s, Tasty, Tenders, Soup Pot, Pot Pie, Battered, Catchatorie, Fricka-zee, to name a few, however my favorite is the name that her sister helped with – Foxbait and Bitchgimmethategg !! SEND HELP NOW !!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A friend and I call it the “chicken affliction.” I think husbands and boyfriends of the chicken addicts of the world should unite and raise the funds to find a cure. It’s got to be cheaper than another new coop…

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  2. My brother always wanted me to get a pet turkey. I keep all the poultry in my family and since we added the geese my youngest brother has wanted a turkey. Do you find they get on fine? no trying to eat each other or anything?

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      1. the geese are great, a small bit aggressive when breeding season is around. but you need to show them who is boss from day one. They are meant to keep predators such as foxes away.

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