Yes, it is that time of the year once again. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, here at Happy Earth Farm we must say goodbye to the turkeys. I know you all imagine me feeling torn as I prepare to butcher. Will I miss them? Will it be difficult to have a hand in their demise? Not a chance folks. Bring on the silver cones of death!
For starters, this rambunctious group of overeaters freaks the hell out of me at feeding time. Even the sight of the white feed bucket will turn them into a crazed pack. They charge the poultry netting, which knocks it down, resulting in a flash mob of epic proportion; turkeys scattered everywhere, some end up in with the cows, some scamper off in hot pursuit of a grasshopper, and others come at me with ravenous eyes. I tell myself to remain calm, but the scent of my fear is as strong as a frat boy’s AXE cologne. Will they take advantage of my terror and bum rush me? I don’t wait to find out…..I run as fast as I can back to the safety of the barn. I have gotten to the point where I will not go into their pasture without Steve because I fear it will turn into a reenactment of the Hitchcock movie “The Birds”.
Probably the reason I am most fed up with these prehistoric looking creatures is the damage they have done. Steve and I pride ourselves on how we keep the farm looking respectable. All of our equipment is well maintained and clean. Every time I go out to tend to the beasts, their food buckets have been dismantled, scattered, and shit upon. And I am still trying to figure out who was able to take a crap on the top of a hanging water dispenser. Now that took talent.
Don’t even get me started on their sleeping quarters. We take great care in creating safe, solid, but decent looking night pens for the turkeys. We construct them using sturdy hog panel and heavy chicken wire. We change out the tarps that offer protection from the sun and rain at the first sight of wear. For poultry pens, they look nice…..or I should rephrase that and say they DID look nice.
This batch of turkeys has used their pens as daytime jungle gyms. They spend their days either sunbathing on top, playing king of the coop or just shitting all over the damn place. What was once something looking like a neighborhood any turkey would love to live, has become a tenement slum: shredded tarps full of poop and roofs that gave way while ten, 40lb. fat asses jumped on it like a trampoline.
This is the time when I usually say to Steve “no more turkeys”, then summer comes and I am again snuggling a day old poult with maternal affection. I best put repairs to the pens on the winter project list.