Monday, December 29, 2014

naming the flock

Front left to right: Selma, Sarafina;  Back: Tom, Serena, Snow White

I finally named all of my Sweegrass hens.

Last winter we still had a variety of breeds from our "mixed bag" order from Porter's, and I knew we wouldn't be keeping them all, so I didn't name them.

But this winter we are down to our permanent breeding flock of three Sweetgrass and one white Tiger Bronze hen, so the ladies now have "real" names.

This is Sarafina, the biggest of my Sweetgrass hens.  She also has the darkest red neck feathers of all of my hens.

Sarafina, our Sweetgrass heritage turkey hen

The name "Sarafina" (and it's many derivatives) derived from the biblical word "seraphim," meaning "fiery ones," an order of angels.  I think it's fitting.  She's definitely one of my fiery angels.

Pretty little Sarafina!

I love everything about her including the tiny tuft of feathers on the top of her tiny snood.  I just want to reach out and touch her sweet little feathery head.  But she doesn't care for petting.  So I don't.

Serena is the middle-sized Sweetgrass hen.  She's a bit camera shy, and I realized when I sat down to write this post that she had eluded any close-ups.

Camera-shy Serena

So I donned my 20 pounds of insulated barn clothes and trudged outside to snap some more photos in the 7° F sunshine, bare hands freezing to the camera.  The sacrifices I make for this blog, I tell 'ya.

Serena, Sweetgrass heritage turkey hen

Serena looks an awful lot like Sarafina, but slightly smaller and minus the reddish neck feathers. If I don't see her side-by-side with Sarafina however, I often get them confused.  Here she is on the right, with Sarafina on the left.

Sarafina left, Serena right

The name Serena is derived from the Latin word serÄ“nus, meaning "clear, tranquil, serene".  She is definitely my serenest hen, whereas Sarafina and Selma are my most inquisitive and playful.

And then there is sweet little Selma. If she wasn't already the smallest of the three Sweetgrass, she would still be easy to identify by her lighter neck and upper back feathers, and the tiny black feathers coming out of her snood.

sweet little Selma, a Sweetgrass heritage turkey hen

By far the smallest hen in the flock, but one of the most gregarious personalities, she is the first to come up and take treats right out of my hand, or investigate my clothing and give my snaps and buttons a good peck.

Her name is of German origin and means "Helmet of God," or "Protected by God" and may also be related to the name Solomon, which means "Peace."  

Selma's coloring is lighter than my other two Sweetgrass hens

No matter what her name means, I am smitten by her and happy to have her here.

And then there is Snow White.  She is not a Sweetgrass, she is a white-variant Tiger Bronze.

Snow White, a white-variant Tiger Bronze heritage turkey hen

She was actually named over a year ago, when it became evident that she would not be bronze like most of her breed, and the name just came up one day and stuck.

When I asked Porter's about her coloring (to see if perhaps they sent the wrong breed), they said this variant white color pops up occasionally and they recommended culling her as it was not standard Tiger Bronze coloration.

But I didn't want to cull her - for many reasons.

Snow White, a white-variant Tiger Bronze heritage turkey hen

Last summer she was accidentally but severely injured during the breeding season (it is not uncommon for the heavy toms to cause damage to a hens back when they mount or dismount).

Her wound was so severe I actually considered putting her down.

I'm so glad I didn't.  After moving her to the barn where I could administer daily treatments of colloidal silver and coconut oil, she healed quickly.  During the treatment process, I bonded more deeply with her.

We hatched all of our own eggs last year, and it was easy to see which ones were from her, with their mostly white coloration.  All of her babies grew up big and strong and healthy.

There was no way I would cull this hen.

And so here she is today, the only non-Sweetgrass turkey I currently own.  She has earned her place in this flock.

And of course we still have our tom, Tom.

Tom, our Sweetgrass heritage tom turkey

We had two Sweetgrass toms, which I referred to collectively as "Tom-Tom," but sadly we lost one to a raccoon this summer.  And so we have only one now.

But somehow he seems quite happy to be on his own with his little flock of hens.

I have never had to worry about this guy, so far he has been nothing but respectful towards me and all of our farm visitors.

Tom struts near Serena

And so I enjoy his magnificent display which goes on pretty much all day long, whenever there are females present - either turkeys OR humans.

Cheers -
Gypsy Farmgirl names her Sweetgrass hens


jenlarson said...

I love meeting your critters and hearing the names you've picked for them :) Happy Holidays!

Victoria Strauser said...

Yay, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I plan on more posts to introduce the rest of the flocks & herds!

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