I’ve never raised turkeys before. When I was a kid, we had the obligatory flock of laying hens that supplied us with fresh eggs, and sometimes enough to sell to friends and neighbors. And Mom would get about 100 chicks each spring and raise them to butcher in the summer to put meat on our table. So I’m pretty familiar with chickens. But let me tell you, turkeys are a lot different.
It started when they were poults (that’s a baby turkey). As soon as they arrived, when they were about 2 days old, I noticed that they were very interested in people in general, and me in particular. Whenever I would go out to check on their feed or water, they would run over to me and start pecking at my wedding ring. This became a little ritual every time I would see them. They would run over and immediately start looking for that shiny ring and give it a peck. Cute.
Now fast-forward a few months. Those fuzzy little turkey poults are now big, tall birds that can reach up above my waist. Just like when they were little, they always want to check out my ring, and my watch. They are curious animals with an affinity for people. They follow me around like I was the Turkey Whisperer. Whoever thought I’d have to sneak around my own place so the turkeys don’t see me? If they do, they will try to follow me right into the house. I think they want to sit on the couch and watch Duck Dynasty (those dumb ducks!). You may have heard that turkeys are stupid. I vehemently disagree. Specially challenged, perhaps, but not stupid. The other day some of the flock got separated from the others. Well, they set up quite a ruckus because they couldn’t find their pals. I went over so they could see me, and then turned around and started walking away. Sure enough, they all followed, and I led them to their long-lost buddies. My wife saw this and almost doubled over in a fit of laughter. Hey, good farmers do what they need to do to keep their animals happy!