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...
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...
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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