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December 25, 2011

Miwok and CheyenneIt is so much fun watching the rescued turkeys enjoy their outdoor pasture, acting like their wild cousins.

This is Miwok and Cheyenne. They are two of five turkeys who were dropped off at the sanctuary a couple weeks before Thanksgiving.

After their quarantine, the four boys (the girl is with the female turkeys) were released into their new enclosure.

The boys spend their time roaming the meadow, perusing the grass for edibles. Sometimes they perch up on the boulders, looking pleased with their new vantage point. There will come a time when such a feat will prove difficult, if not impossible as they will weigh too much.

Plus, when they see you enter their territory, they come running over. Sit down, and they are all over you. They love freckles and hair bands. Creek loves it when you scratch his chest. Miwok will stand still and start preening himself if you rub his belly. Dakota is shy, while Cheyenne loves to walk on your leg.

We used to play them wild turkey calls when they first arrived. They were so petrified of us that nothing could convince them to get close. When I would play them the calls, they would look intrigued, cocking their head to the side, staring at me curiously. I didn’t think it had worked, because they didn’t get any closer.

But as I was leaving their quarantine enclosure, all the turkeys came running after me. They tried to fly over the fencing, and they trilled at me. From then on, they became more friendly around people. Now they are social butterflies.

Dakota De-Beaked

Debeaked Dakota


Miwok the ewok


29 Comments leave one →
  1. Olivia permalink
    December 25, 2011 3:29 pm

    Oh, they are so precious. And how fun that they responded to the turkey call only AFTER you started to leave. I don’t blame them for having been nervous around humans; they probably hadn’t known any affection from our race in their lives.

    I’m so happy you wrote about domesticated turkeys, Marji, because I’d like to know if you watched this lovely program on wild turkeys on PBS last month:

    At least twice, Joe Hutto, the man who raised them from before they hatched, tells the audience that they are nothing like their domesticated counterparts. It sounded like a putdown of the latter.

    I think he has probably only seen the frightened, caged “shadow” of a real domesticated turkey, and has no idea that, when free, they are just as interesting, intelligent, curious and affectionate as the wild ones.

    Maybe you’ll watch the program and add a comment on the PBS page to that effect…. because if Joe is wrong, I don’t think his misperception should be allowed to stand undisputed in a public forum.

    Hugs to “social butterflies” Dakota, Cheyenne, Creek and Miwok the ewok from me and my REAL butterfly, Marcus the monarch mariposa, who needed a home for the winter, since his wings wouldn’t take him as far as Mexico. Like the turkeys, Marcus is sociable; he walks all over me and recognizes my fingers as his taxi — or launch pad! :-)

  2. December 27, 2011 4:51 am

    Great post, thanks. I hope they get to enjoy their lives as much as possible.

    Re the reference to Joe Hutto, the man is profoundly limited in his perception of and compassion for other animals and it is disheartening to see his notions being publicized so widely.

    • Olivia permalink
      December 27, 2011 5:10 am

      Good point, veganelder. I agree with you.

      I didn’t intend to publicize his wrong notions here, only to ask Marji to comment on the traits she observes in her sanctuary’s turkeys. I hope she can debunk Hutto’s limited, as you put it, perception and compassion.

      I waded through the PBS comments page and took note of the more heartening ones made by viewers. These give me reason for hope:

      ~ “This film demonstrates that every animal is a unique being, complete with his/her own personality. If we humans would only see them that way, maybe we would stop killing them for food/fur/fun and allow them to live their lives to the fullest, as they deserve.”

      ~ “A riveting program – however, now I will need to change my menu 4 Thanksgiving.”

      ~ “i hope this wonderful story will affect the people who call thanksgiving ‘turkey day’. it is actually ‘turkey death day’.”

      ~ “I do not understand hunters. How can you take the life of an animal so callously and easily and then say you love this film? It’s about life, not death. Why do humans continue to think it’s okay to kill other animals? We don’t need to eat them. So why? If a coyote kills a turkey, that’s fine. The coyote needs the food to live, That’s nature. But humans, we have grocery stores, with plenty of plant-based foods and proteins to sustain us. We don’t need to take lives. ‘One meal, soon forgotten, in exchange for a whole life.’ Think about it.”

      ~ “this video is so touching. as a vegan, i find this video delightful, and i hope people who watch this will think again about eating an animal to satisfy their hunger. they are living breathing innocent animals. don’t they deserve the right to live?????????????????”

      ~ “Thank you so much for producing this incredible perspective. After I watched it I went to sleep and continued to dream about birds. I appreciate the dedication and commitment it takes to protect life, especially before adulthood. And then at some point there’s a shift, and you realize you’re getting just as much, if not more from them.”

      ~ “Wonderful. And thank you for showing it before Thanksgiving. I already stopped eating meat years ago, and this reaffirms why I won’t be partaking in turkey on that day. Hope others consider making that choice too.”

  3. December 27, 2011 7:24 pm

    Thank you Marji for sharing the blossoming of these beautiful birds as they know more and more that they are safe… Loved and treasured. As all ought to be. <3

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