The End Of An Era

 Yesterday morning, after 11 years of farm life, we said goodbye to our Old Tom Turkey.  We had watched his slow decline over the past year knowing that most likely he would not make it to the 12-year, 4-month mark,


     needed in order to become the oldest recorded domesticated turkey.

And although we hated to say goodbye to the old fellow who has been such an integral part of life here, we vowed to never let an animal suffer.  Yesterday morning when we opened the door to his house, it was apparent that something was drastically wrong with the old guy.

I can only guess that he suffered a neurologic event during the night.  He was unable to stand without falling over and seemed quite panicked.  We helped him to a quiet place and stayed with him until the injection of sedative took effect.  He passed peacefully, without any struggle or apparent discomfort.

Eleven years ago we brought three just-hatched turkey babies home to the farm.

We watched them grow...

and grow...

until they grew into beautiful adult Bourbon Red Turkeys.  Our original idea was to raise turkeys to eat.  Of course that idea quickly went by the wayside, as we became hopelessly attached to these personable birds, and could never have considered eating them.

So, "Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter" quickly became known as Tom, Chuck and Edith.  

"Edith (eateth) me not," I used to joke.

The turkeys were often the center of attention here on the farm.  Whenever we had a gathering of people, the turkeys were always in the midst of the activities.  They were always eager to help with any projects...  

gardening....


painting...


Construction workers would laugh when here to do improvements, as they couldn't hold a conversation without the turkeys putting their two cents in.  It's hard to out-talk a turkey!

No matter what the weather, if the turkeys heard us working anywhere on the farm, they'd come running to supervise.  They even made it as far as the house (a quarter mile from the barn and even farther from the turkey house) on numerous occasions.

In the end, I am grateful for the opportunity to provide a peaceful passing to this faithful old bird.

We'll miss you, Tom - each and every day - and especially when we have gatherings.

I know you may be wondering if we will replace our turkeys....

Because we are not getting any younger (is anyone?) we have decided that we will not be adding any new animals (except chickens and ducks) to the farm.  I must admit, though, that this does make me sad... knowing what is ahead for us with a farm full of aging animals.  The thing is... I want to be the one who cares for these animals through their lifetimes.  I don't ever want our critters to be a burden for someone else and I especially don't want them to ever need to be re-homed.  So, for as long as we are able (at least another 20+ years, I hope), we will care for the souls that call our farm home and dedicate ourselves to providing them with the best lives possible.

Some day, when our lives are finished, I know there will be a farm-load of animals waiting for us on the other side... so many souls that we have loved and cared for - and I am content in this knowledge.

Goodbye Old Tom - say hello to Edith and Chuck for us!

Now for some good news...

Two ducklings have hatched from the eggs that "the girls", Maggie and Macy, were incubating for us.  We will eventually be adding these two precious runner ducks to our flock...

that is, if we can pry them out of The Girls' and their Mama's hands!

And with that we have reached Friday already.  This weekend we have a bit of an adventure in store for us.  We will be back on Tuesday to tell you what we have been up to!

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Comments

Cheryl said…
So very sorry to hear about Tom Turkey. I loved reading about him and seeing him on the blog.

I know all living creatures eventually die, but it's still sad.

I guess that's why God gave us a memory, so we can remember the good times.
jaz@octoberfarm said…
oh no...this just made me cry! he was so charming. it is comforting to know that he lived the best life possible. i bet the kids will miss him too.
Jeannie said…
I'm so very sorry for your loss. You wrote a wonderful tribute to old Tom. He will be missed.
Karla said…
Oh Bev, I am so sorry about old Tom. He was quite the iconic figure there at the farm. I enjoyed how much he enjoyed following you all around! It is responsible not to add more animals, as you said, you don't want them rehomed or anything worse should you not be able to take care of them. We are in our 60's and have 1 cat left and won't be adopting any more. At one time, we had 8! We don't want our son to have to deal with rehoming any of our pets, once we are too old to care for them. It's a kindness all around.
daisy g said…
Oh, Tom. What a delightful character he was. I'm sorry for your loss, but I know he'll be strutting off to be reunited with his old pals.

Bee well...
Marsha said…
So sorry about Tom he was so handsome and a character
colleen said…
This made me shed a few tears :( What a perfect life Tom had. I sure will miss seeing him. I hear you about aging and getting more animals.
Now the suspense until Tuesday to find out about your weekend fun. xoxoxo
sheryl said…
I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for giving Tom the life that all turkeys deserve and for sharing him with all of us. I know it is not your intent but it would be my hope that anyone who reads your blog just might think twice before eating an animal. Enjoy your weekend!
Diane said…
RIP Tom, I am going to miss seeing you on the blog. What an amazing life you have had on the farm!
Lynne said…
Sad for Tom’s passing . . .
wise and humane you were to let him be in peace.
Liking your good news . . . with the little runner ducks.
Enjoy your weekend . . . we have been sitting under a rain cloud for days!

Many have asked me, and Jack, if we plan on getting another pup.
We would love having another, we each have always had a dog, dogs in our lives.
We feel as you, and with me in my eighties, I couldn’t bare the thought of
dying and my dog having be the responsibility for someone else.
Let alone, a tremendous adjustment it would be for our “pet loves.”
So, living vicariously to others, watching them enjoy their dog pets,
giving ear rubs, back scratches, having visits from friends, family pets, we are fine.
We miss “our girl” though . . . oh so, so much . . .


Marcia LaRue said…
So sorry to see Ole Tom had to cross the bridge ... always a sad read but so glad he had you and your family in his life!
Will look forward to your Tuesday blog!
Enjoy your weekend to the fullest!
This N That said…
More BHA tears. So sad to hear about Tom. He was kind of the farm mascot…..greeter of sorts… What a wonderful life he had.
So glad that the runner ducks eggs hatched…. Do ducks recognize relatives? Do animals recognize relatives? I think cats and dogs do?
Enjoy your weekend. Will be anxious to hear of your adventure. Hugs
Wanda Devers said…
I'm so sad about Tom. He was a special favorite of mine. Yall gave him a wonderful life and a peaceful death.

I would love to have some kittens and a dog but at 70 I fear I wouldn't outlive them. I'm opposite in feelings to many--I worry someone would mistreat my beloved pets.

The little ducks are so cute!
The JR said…
I'm sorry about Tom, but I know he had a wonderful like there with ya'll.
Have a great adventure. Looking forward to hearing about it.

And, I feel the same way. I don't want any more animals because I don't want them to outlive us and have to be re-homed either.

Take care,
Jody in Georgia said…
So sorry about Tom...he will be greatly missed by all who enjoy your blog each day.
Karen said…
I wish more people were like you and your husband - your overwhelming love, care and joy of your animals is so inspiring. I shared that picture of Old Tom riding on Trail Boss Jack's lap in the Gator with my family - everybody so loved it! What personalities those turkeys had - and what a joy to spend your days with them. But oh my - he will be sorely missed . . .heart felt condolences to you all.
Unknown said…
Oh Bev,, so sorry to hear about Tom.. and I so agree with you about replacing animals,, we too are not getting any younger (so they tell me).. at this point,, any 'new' animals to come into our home, will be older, geriatrics who need a loving home...
Have a wonderful summer....
hugz
gracie
oh no .....not Tom!!! he was one of my favorite critters on your farm. what a beauty he was ...and talkative too. thanks for giving him such a good life.
Rain said…
Bev, that was a tear-jerking post. What a sweet boy, I'm so sorry for your loss. I loved seeing the photos though. I wonder when I might get to the point of not adding new animals to my life...not sure it could ever happen. Yay for ducklings though! :)
leslye said…
So sorry for your loss.This was a tear -jerking post. After watching your turkeys I always said that would be one of the first animals I would get if I had a farm.
THE BEARDED ONE said…
SO VEERY SORRY...SAD !!!
Pat said…
OLD tTM WAS THE LUCKIEST TURKEY EVER tO live at the Bee Haven farm for so many years. . Rest in peace Tom. I lost my best friend just one week ago. Fergus was my Westie & 14years old. He couldn't get around anymore. The Vet came to my home we said our goodbye & he gently went to sleep. I miss him so much. I agree with others about getting another pet. I wouldn't want to leave a pet behind or feel abandoned. The love of a pet is wonderful. Bless their little hearts......