People ask me all the time if I have turkeys or if I plan on ever getting a turkey. I suppose when one has chickens, one is assumed to be interested in all things fowl. (which if we’re going to be honest here, I kind of am – so no harm in the question).
Although I have thought about turkeys, in the same way I’ve thought about ducks and yes, even a peacock, the answer is no. The only domestic turkeys I’ve heard of and seen are those that are being raised to be “Thanksgiving Dinner”. In a major case of hypocrisy, I’m willing to eat turkey on Thanksgiving as long as it’s not one that I know personally.
And although turkeys must lay eggs (that is of course, how we get baby turkeys) I haven’t heard of anyone raising the roof about eating turkey eggs. I have to the contrary heard about the gastronomical delights of duck eggs which are supposed to be denser and fuller flavored than chicken eggs.
I’ve also heard that turkeys are the only birds that get ticks but I’m not sure if that’s true or if it’s just some bad news that is being spread around by the anti-turkey society. If this is true, one of the benefits of chickens is that they eat ticks, so if I had turkeys would the chickens eat the ticks off the turkeys?
I do know that domestic turkeys are not the brightest birds in the world, unlike their wild cousins who are sleeker, darker, and who have enough sense to literally get out of the rain, domestics are large, plump, and from what I saw this weekend when we went to a poultry farm – don’t know how to get down from the top of the hen house (although they somehow managed to get up).
Turkeys also have this thing which we’ve all seen in pictures of turkeys. When we were young we colored the thing in with red crayon whenever we drew a turkey almost like adding a red hot dog to the bird’s face. What’s that we’d ask. Oh it’s just the wattle. We accepted this and moved on to the Pilgrim pictures. But nothing prepares you for seeing this in real life though. It looks very much like a crayon colored multi-tumored growth covering the bird’s face. That really is a vivid BLUE you are seeing here. How they mange to eat anything with that one hanging appendage down the front of their face is beyond me. Seriously, who would want to go near that thing?
And yet like many things in nature, the more colorful and large the growths on the male bird, the more desirable he is to the female.
While I understand this and on some level appreciate the biology behind it, suffice it to say that our chickens and more importantly our neighbors will not be hearing the shrill gobble-gobble-gobble (which is really what it sounds like) in our yard any time soon. I’m sorry to say the only turkey we’ll be having in this family is the one on our platter for Thanksgiving dinner.