Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Turkey Tragedy

Last night as we closed up the chicken coop and barn for the night, Cadence noted with a bit of concern that the turkeys had elected to sleep on the pile of brush in the bonfire circle by the big trees in the back yard. Last year we lost 25  chickens to a family of great horned owls, many of them nabbed in this exact spot.  But, we haven't seen or heard any owls this summer and the turkeys were all settled in for the night so we didn't make them move.

Terrible mistake.  This morning we discovered three of the nine turkeys beheaded and one totally missing, presumed eaten.  Cadence was especially upset - she adores the turkeys and they  follow her everywhere.  She was most outraged that the  owls are so wasteful, only eating the heads and leaving the bodies. One turkey they killed but didn't eat any of it.
Sadly, Cadence  buried the turkeys under her grapevines where at least they will provide a bit of fertilizer. We will have to start herding the turkeys into the barn at night, at least until they are considerably bigger.

The five remaining turkeys seemed pretty calm for having just survived a night of carnage.  Above,  one of them is doing what I call "Turkey Tai Chi"in the morning sun. The turkey balances on one leg and very slowly and gracefully stretches the other into an arabesque.


katiegirl said...

Oh no! That's terrible! I have to admit I tempt fate by not closing my chickens (and turkeys) in at night...even the broilers. I just can't seem to round them up, and carrying all the turkeys is a big pain.

I'm so sorry Cadence lost her beloved turkeys. I know how easy they are to love...they're just such neat animals.

forever growing said...

Oh so sorry, I have lost so many chickens and turkeys to all predators. Yesterday a hawk was hovering right over the turkey pen. And I just lost a flock of 8 chickens to a nasty fisher cat. And they were in their enclosure, but when something gets in the birds have no where to run. This season I am being diligent to not lose any! If I lose any more I am thinking of getting one of those guarding farm dogs.

Cantor Craziness said...

Sorry to hear about your turkeys! My parents have owls too and are always worried about their girls (chickens)!! You might want to be on the look out for raccoons for though, since raccoons typically eat only the heads or just kill for fun!!! Just some food for thought! Good Luck!

Cheri said...

We lost a young chicken to a raccoon this summer (coon nabbed it from the pen!) -- very sad and frustrating. Caught the coon in the act and saved a second chick in the nick of time.