Keeping family members away from the turkeys?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Rosalind, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    I have my turkeys, 15 of them, in a large-ish tractor pen a la Joel Salatin, in the backyard. Every day, I move them onto fresh grass and re-fill feeders and waterers. There is greenhouse plastic over most of the pen. DH adamantly refused to have anything to do with the turkeys other than eating culls, because he is a sucker for animals and hates the idea of eating an animal that he had previously met alive. Don't ask me why, it doesn't make sense to me either, but that is how he feels about it.

    Sure enough, instead of leaving turkey care to me, he voluntarily did some of it. Then I asked him to help with wing-clipping, and he did that, and as he put the turkeys back in the pen, he scratched their heads and cuddled them. You can see where this is going, right?

    Now every day when he steps out into the backyard for a smoke, he walks up to the turkey pen and makes gobbling noises at them and "talks" back and forth to them. I pointed out which ones I thought would be culls (smallish, funny-looking, too many males of the same color, etc.), and this did not faze him a bit--he thinks it's great fun to talk to the boys.

    Recently, one got sick with the runny poops, so I put it in a separate pen in the barn and fed it medication for a while, and he fussed over the thing, petted it, cuddled it, cleaned its poopy butt all by himself. I was carrying a dish of cooked oatmeal and hardboiled egg out to the barn, only to find him cradling it and feeding it chick starter by hand.

    At this rate, I'm going to count myself lucky if he hasn't named them all. He says they are hideous and look like Skeksis from The Dark Crystal, but he likes them and sort of plays with them. This does not bode well for Cull Day, which will be coming around in early December.

    How do you guys keep your families from getting too attached to future food? Am I doomed to have a giant flock of pet turkeys?

  2. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    Your not doomed, what breed are they? If it's a broad breasted your way out is you'll need to process them before they get too big and have health problems... If they're a heritage breed were you going to keep a few as breeders? If so he can dote on those and eat the rest. If he balks at that, that's fine, but you're no longer buying meat at the market.

    I'd butcher them all, but I'm not the sentimential type.
  3. Poupoulles

    Poupoulles Songster

    Jul 17, 2007
    Mayberry (really!)
    Go Rosalind, I know these men are all softies at heart! Send him to run some long complicated errand and off a few. Make a it a really long errand, like a quest. MAke him believe he is the only knight in the kingdom who can possibly get you a box of grid squares, a left handed ratchet, a blue moon, whatever...
    Then make the most delicious turkey dish you know how...
  4. farmerlor

    farmerlor Songster

    Ummmm, I'm kinda like your husband. I keep getting turkeys to feed the family and then I find some reason to keep them and breed them. I know that sooner or later I'm going to have to cull some and put them in the freezer but for now, the flock just keeps growing.....

  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    There doesn't have to be anything contradictory about being caring and attentive to birds you plan to process for your table. Just keep reminding Mister that those birds are going to be dinner guests, then let him spend all the time & energy he wants towards their good care. I think of my meaties like produce growing in the garden. We attend to their needs, giving special care when they're really young & vulnerable, we admire their beauty, take pride in their growth, and anticipate their eventual harvest, looking forward to their tasty end product.

    I try to get everyone involved with the poultry-caring chores and especially the work of processing. Only then will they fully appreciate the enormous amount of effort involved in bringing meat to the table, and be more grateful for it.
  6. Duck Keeper

    Duck Keeper Songster

    Mar 18, 2009
    Out in the Boonies
    Quote:Wow, amazing.
    Finally someone who shares my pets-to-food outlook!

    Although, I do have some I would never eat unless I was starving to death...
  7. robbdebbie

    robbdebbie Professional Chicken Bather

    Jun 18, 2009
    Madisonville, LA
    Quote:I am going to print this off and read it all the time. That is such a great analogy.


  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:That is just too funny. Considering how you were all about "sneaking them in" and "how old will the poults get before he notices they're not chicken chicks" [​IMG]

    I feel the same way about my 3 BBB, though, actually. They're my buddies. They will still go into the freezer in a few weeks but they will get apologized to like crazy first [​IMG]

    I am still going to get some 'real' turkeys next year, though, and darnit I really *am* going to keep only *some* of them over the winter as breeding stock and will eat the rest. Really. Truly. Please remind me next year that I said this.

    So I can understand how your husband feels about it. OTOH that does not *necessarily* mean he will be opposed to eating them.

    Good luck,

  9. Buster52

    Buster52 Songster

    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Well, I think turkeys are just wonderful creatures, and so far love every one of mine. I talk to them, watch them for hours, pet them, the whole bit.

    But more than half of them are destined for the dinner table.The only ones who aren't are the ones whose children are destined for the dinner table.

    I know when it comes time, I'll say goodbye and do what needs to be done, and enjoy them to last bite.

  10. KellyandKatie

    KellyandKatie Songster

    Aug 29, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    okay, two points of view for you
    one, I grew up on a farm, we LOVED and cared for all our animals, they all had names and they all got loving attention, when we ate pork we asked WHO we were eating, becuase they were pets to us.
    I dont think there is anything wrong with getting attached to animals before you butcher them, they are social critters and I am sure they like the attention

    other point of view... I only butcher what is sick or dying becuase I am like that, but it would not matter if I knew the bird or not, I would not want to butcher a bird even if I did not care for it personally

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