For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison [to the bald eagle] a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on. ~ Benjamin Franklin
I never tire of watching our turkeys. We raised 28 this year - 5 commercial broad-breasted whites and 23 heritage - a variety of breeds including Blue Slate, Jersey Buff, Tiger Bronze, Chocolate Pencilled Palm and the above pictured Sweetgrass.
These intensely curious birds are endlessly fascinated by the buttons and rivets on my farm pants and even remember which pocket I keep my gardening gloves in. Sneaking a glove out of my leg pocket is a favorite game, which always leads to a game of keep-away.
It is impossible to be sad in the turkey paddock, and I have often escaped from the stresses of my modern world with a visit to their primitive one. They are by far the most beautiful and engaging birds on the farm.
And although it saddened me greatly when we took 14 of our flock to the processor to grace the tables of several of our family and friends this year, my heart is gladdened by the thought that the turkeys upon those tables lived as good a life as any turkey could ever expect to live - safe from predators, with fresh clean air and sunshine every day, on green grass, chasing crickets and moths and my yellow gardening gloves across the paddock.
Today I will once again sit in the presence of my little flock, listening to their chirrups like overgrown tree frogs, and be grateful for all of the wonderful blessings in my life.
Oh, and my flock wanted me to share this joke with you:
Why did the turkeys cross the road?
To prove they weren't chicken!