Friday, July 27, 2012

Of Poults and Pullets

I've been so caught up with the shenanigans of the sheep this summer, that I've been remiss in reporting on the turkeys and the Black Austrolorps.
Let's just fix that, shall we?
Here's a photo of the Lorps in the pen they share with the turkeys.  They're definitely a Gang of Six - they travel as a group, and rarely stray more than a few feet away from each other.

(I just wish I could get closer to them to get better pictures - they're not particularly friendly...)
I'm especially intrigued with their legs, which are black, instead of the almost-yellow of all our other chickens.

As for the turkeys, we thought we had one tom and two hens.  But late last week, one of the 'hens' suddenly started looking more and more male.  We don't know if this is normal or if he's just a late bloomer.  So, we've got one tom, one hen, and one puzzle.

Here's the tom:

He's in full-tilt Proud to Be a Turkey mode.  Tail feathers fanned, wing feathers also fanned and wings held down and slightly out to the side, all his feathers fluffed up until he looks twice his actual size, chin tucked and face colors blazing.

The funny thing is that he's been doing this since he was a week old - even before he had feathers to fluff.  He would assume the position and strut the strut.  "Oh, yeah, dude.  I'm a turkey.  Watch me now."
As for the other guy - here he is with the hen.  Up until last week, he looked just like her.  Then suddenly his neck started getting redder, that funny droopy nose-thing started growing, and he started doing the tom-turkey-fluff thing.  It was a surprise to us...

And I can cheerfully report that turkeys are just as dumb as we'd heard.  Maybe even dumber.
(You're starting to sense that I'm getting ready to tell one of my animal stories, aren't you?  Yep, you're right.  Grab a beer or a cup of tea and settle in, cuz here we go.)
This whole turkey-raising thing is new to us, if you'll remember.  It's this year's experiment, and it's been interesting.  On the whole, we like turkeys - they're not as flighty as chickens.  More placid, yet more curious.  They like to check things out, though they don't seem to come to any conclusions.
So, the other day, I was on morning chores.  Now evening chores can be done in a relaxed manner, since there are no time constraints.  For this reason, disaster rarely strikes for evening chores.
Mornings, however, are another story.  Since we have to get to work in a timely fashion, we tend to be in a bit more of a hurry, even when we've allowed an extra margin of time in case of delays.  (We have a theory that morning chores take 20 minutes if everything goes smoothly.  However, this is just a theory, since everything has never gone smoothly...)
So, like I said, it was my morning for chores.  There had already been a few delays, and the extra time had been pretty well chewed up, when I looked toward the gate to the turkey and lorp pen and saw a turkey standing just outside the (closed) gate.
It was the hen.  I don't know how she got out.  My theory is that she'd flown up to the top of the gate and then fell off.  Not great flyers, turkeys. 
I started grumbling to myself.  "Aw, crap.  I don't have time for this.  Damn turkey.  grumble grumble
I approached her cautiously, trying not to spook her.  It was the first time a turkey had been out of the pen, and I had no way of knowing how she'd react.  The very last thing I wanted to be doing was racing around chasing a terrified turkey.
She continued to stand there quietly as I edged closer.  I realized I could almost hear her singing to herself:  "I'm so dumb.  Dumb-de-dumb-de-dumb."
I got closer.
 "I'm so dumb.  Dumb-de-dumb-de-dumb."
And closer.
 "I'm so dumb.  Dumb-de-dumb-de-dumb."
I finally got close enough to lay hands on her.  She still didn't move.
 "I'm so dumb.  Dumb-de-dumb-de-dumb."
I reached behind her, unlatched and opened the gate, then, with both hands gently turned her around.  She obliged by alternately lifting each foot as I spun her, rocking in time to her song.
 "I'm so dumb.  Dumb-de-dumb-de-dumb."
I gave her a little push, and she walked back into the pen, still singing.  "I'm so dumb.  Dumb-de-dumb-de-dumb."

Turkeys.  Raising them again next year?  Oh, yeah.


Bullwinkle said...

:) Love the turkey story! They are rather placid, aren't they?

kmkat said...

::gigglesnort:: Dumb-de-dumb-de-dumb, indeed!

Erika said...

That's a riot! It's like she was too dumb to realize she had escaped.

Cookie said...

Be thankful they are that dumb. Think of the trouble they would get into if they were as smart as the Shetlands.

Anonymous said...

I just love your farm stories! I knew turkeys were dumb but I didn't realize just how much.

constance blizzard said...

I would make a joke about wishing men were so stupid. But then I remember the aphorism about "watching what you wish for" and shut my trap.

For the record, Google tells me that it's not true that turkeys drown by looking up at the rain. So they've got that going for them. Which is nice.

Laurie said...

I can hear it. I can hear you. More than funny!