Committee of four

This farm blog is my excuse to get outside with my camera each and every day. It rained last night and the weather didn’t clear until late this afternoon at chores time. I had my camera with me though … that’s one of the nice aspects of today’s compact and very capable point & shoot cameras like the Sony HX9V, they drop right into your back pocket and go anywhere. The hillsides were full of color but the late afternoon light was diffuse and muted. I put my camera away and proceeded to take care of chores. The turkeys have been acting particularly hungry this week. Perhaps it has had something to do with the change in their feed regime. We finished butchering hogs a couple of weeks ago and I had 100 pounds of mash feed remaining in their feeder. I could see no reason to let it go to waste so I have been feeding five pounds of it to the turkeys every day. It occurred to me today that perhaps I have been misinterpreting the eagerness of their approaches at chores each day. Until sitting down to compose this post I had assumed that the hog feed wasn’t sticking with the turkeys as well as their regular pelleted feed and that they were ravenously hungry. As an alternate hypothesis I thought that perhaps their eager greetings simply reflected zeal for and appreciation of the change in feed. Maybe they had tired of the same old game pellets and have been enjoying the switch to hog mash? I have posted before about turkeys, on a couple ofย occasions. They are interesting animals and I enjoy them. At one time we raised Narragansetts, a heritage breed listed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.ย The problem was … we couldn’t convince them to stay put. It seems that calls from wild brethren held far more interest for them than the pastures and feed we had provided. We now raise Broad Breasted Bronze which we have found to be both cooperative and productive. Unlike ducks, geese, and chickens, turkeys are sociable and (relatively) intelligent birds. Rather than scattering when I approach they maintain their distance and then slowly gather around to watch whatever it is I happen to be doing. The Toms strut back and forth all the time watching and calculating my distance from them. They have a fairly large interpersonal space (if you can call it that when a turkey is involved) and are quick to adjust their distance when I come too close. If not for the fact that they always seem to gaze with disapproval I’d say that they were inscrutable.

12 thoughts on “Committee of four

  1. Gorgeous photo. I am a huge turkey fan and have introduced their glory to so many lay-folk by now that I feel we could sell t-shirts! We truly appreciate them. Recently we clipped the flight feathers off of all of our Bourbon Reds because of the overwhelming maintenance issues I had to deal with daily regarding manure on the front porch. They are now staying in the pasture with the White Giants (our first year to raise this breed) and I’m not sorry at all for getting back an hour of chore-time. Also, they’re great about encouraging the Giant Whites to forage more. I think they’d just sit on their fat bottoms all day if they didn’t see the Bourbons going about. Enjoy your final weeks of those soulful eyes and beautiful songs!

  2. What a great photograph (and post)! They really are fantastic, and definitely look like they have just been interrupted from a very important discussion.

    • Thanks … this was taken with the old camera. I’ve got the new one up and running but I won’t take it outside for fear of getting it dirty. Joanna says I’m nuts (and I know that’s true). D

      • I feel the same way about new things. I’m only afraid I’ll break them or get them dirty. Sometimes it’s easier to stick with what you know. It must be Dad’s cautious genes, or as Joanna suggests, just plain crazy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. OMG. Those are the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe you raise them!! They look so cranky and mean!!

    • ‘Ugly’ … not to another Turkey! ‘Can’t believe you raise them’ … you do like to EAT turkey, don’t you? They gotta come from somewhere. I will agree however that they do come across as not-so-nice … don’t judge the book by its cover, they are actually very inquisitive and not at all nasty. Any word on the Devil’s Work Ball – I’m dying to know that your guys think.

      • Ha ha!! Too true about the “another turkey” part! And yes, we DO love turkey. Perhaps your blog is educating me!!

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