Thursday, August 19, 2010

Turkey Dog

We phoned Cadence last night (she is in Mexico for school) and she mentioned that it is about time for a turkey post. Turkeys are her favorite farm critters and I think she misses them. This one's for you, Cadence.

The  toms are begining to develop their beautiful blue and red complexions. The colors intensify when they are excited, scared, or showing off.

The turkeys torment the dogs.  The toms, especially, gang up on Cocoa and Nutmeg, sometimes chasing the poor dogs across the yard. Nutmeg's strategy is to first try to ignore them; she stands her ground but looks the other way.
Every now and then she reflexively  curls her lip back. I don't think she can help it, but she is not growling.  Neither dog has ever acted  aggressively toward the birds, but twice I have seen both dogs suddenly and gently grasp onto a turkey's neck for an instant, as if to restrain him. (Don't worry, no blood was drawn nor feathers lost.)

Finally she implores me to please stop taking photos and do something.

The  turkeys are so gentle and curious around people, I can easily shoo them away and distract them with a bit of corn or a garden tomato. The most dangerous they have ever been to humans is to untie a person's shoe or peck at someone's brightly-painted toenail polish.
So, it was surprising when the AI (artificial insemination ) technician came to breed LaFonda a couple weeks ago. He  is a 6'5" muscular farmer who confidently handles huge, holsteins and rowdy, horned cows, but he was pretty scared of our turkeys. Apparently at another farm a flock of the same breed of bronze-breasted turkeys pursued him.  Kind of a funny image...

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