Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Life without horses?

Well, I've been back for 4 days now. It hasn't quite hit me yet that my horses are not here. That would primarily be because I usually only go out and see them on the weekends, plus I'm pretty busy at work. When this weekend comes, I will feel it though. Although it will actually be nice to have a weekend around the house.

Well, since I will no longer have new things to talk about with my horses (except for the occasional photos and updates from my parents), I will be adding more frequent posts about the last couple years with training the mustangs. So keep watching!

For now, I just want to show pictures of our happy, 2 year old, Ms. Turkey. She thrived on the journey to WI, and she is quite happy about her plush, new abode. In her old home, she lived in a pen outside with a shelter made out of straw bales. It worked great, but she had no company, and her pen got rather muddy and snowy in the fall, winter and spring. NOW, Ms. Turkey lives in a very sheltered garden shed with windows, and a cushy hay floor. She'll live here over the winter, then when spring comes, we'll move her to an outdoor pen where she'll have more stimuli.

She can't move around well at all (a bit like a very obese old woman with bad knees - she grew too fast when she was a chick because she is a meat turkey and we fed her and her brothers (who became Thanksgiving dinner a couple years ago) too much. Now we just keep her comfortable and she's quite happy. She can get around to the things she needs, but she definitely doesn't need lots of room to run. She just needs some mental stimuli.

Her favorite time of the day is feeding time. She clucks and chirrups to us. My parents have cracked corn for the chickens, and when we gave that to Ms. Turkey for the first time, she thought she'd died and gone to turkey heaven! She chirruped so loudly!

Ms. Turkey became a pet because of her interactions with us. Unlike her brothers, who became puffy males interested only in displaying, Ms. Turkey would come over to visit and see if we had anything for her whenever we approached the pen. The way she looked at things offered in our hands before she'd go ahead an sample them was very endearing. So, Ms. Turkey earned her pardon from Thanksgiving dinner.

I just wish that she hadn't become so large. We ration her now, so that she stays at a reasonable weight. One night while I was home in WI, I had a dream that Ms. Turkey magically became a young normal weight turkey and she was jumping up and down on a bench (it is currently impossible for Ms. Turkey to leave the ground). It was a good dream, but alas, was only a dream.


Linda Reznicek said...

This is so funny that you mention this story because at Thanksgiving my parents and I were reminiscing about our own turkeys growing up--the ones we raised for Thanksgiving. I think meat turkeys are bred to gain weight easily, btw. But the one we had was abnormally large--45 pounds dressed out--and made the evening news. Anyway, we were talking about doing it again and my parents were saying how they don't have much personality, so they're easy to kill to eat--and I made a joke that I'd end up not killing it and having a pet turkey forever!!! And, here you actually have one!!! My proof!! LOL.

Andrea said...

I love turkeys! They are so... Silly? Cute? Strange? Lumbering? I don't really know of the right word... They're neat. We've eaten all the ones we raised. The fact that they couldn't walk well helped me be able to handle butchering them. Not that I butchered them, John did, but still... I am thinking of getting some heritage breed turkeys that don't get so big and can breed, so we can keep some for breeding and eat some. It would be nice to be able to let myself get attached to a couple.

Don't forget you're welcome to come out here for some horsey time! I know you're working a lot but if you get to where you can't stand it anymore...

Kara said...

Hi Andrea, I will come out and visit, but right now I just need to get caught back up at work.

I too would like to get some heritage breeds. I'd like a mixed flock of naragansetts, bourbon reds, and royal palms. I love the way turkeys imprint so strongly on you when they are young. They are so fun. They'll follow you around and peck at stuff if you point at it with your finger (how they learn what is good to eat from mom).

Linda, when we butchered the two toms, they were so HUGE! Dressed out, the big one was 48 lbs. The little one was 46 lbs! Ms. Turkey was smaller than those two, but I'm guessing her live wieght was close to 45-50 lbs. Now I think she weighs less than then, but still too heavy for her poor legs.

Kara's Mom said...

We plan on getting some turkeys next spring. I am hoping Ms. Turkey adopts them as her own.
I love raising turkeys too and they are much more worth it than butchering a chicken!

Kara said...

Well, I wouldn't give tiny baby turkeys to Ms. Turkey...she might accidently crush them , like she does to the eggs she lays every spring :( I've wondered if she might lay fertile eggs if she was with a Tom. But we'd have to collect them right away before she cracked them. Poor large turkey.