When spring came they started acting weird (from a non-turkey perspective) - laying down and hissing. If you'd walked close by a turkey hen, she would instantly "decompress", and arch her neck. This was the best poultry party trick ever. When people stopped by I would insist they come and see the turkeys that I'd trained to lie down like a dog. I'd walk close to a turkey hen, put out my hand and give the command "Lie Down Turkey!".
I wish I had photos of the looks on people's faces.
When no one was around, I'd walk up to a turkey and say "The power of Christ compels you!" a la The Exorcist movie, and then giggle like crazy when they flopped down. If I had those myotonic (fainting) goats I would never get any work done at all.
It seemed that this squatting was in preparation for mating, but we were short a stag turkey. Underkeeper Ian went to the poultry auction this morning and purchased one for the princely sum of £5 (plus 75 pence buyer's fee).
Meet Trevor -
Trevor is a large Norfolk Black stag turkey. I don't know his age, or anything about his background. For a fiver, he was worth taking a chance on.
Trevor rode home loose in the back of Ian's Land Rover, with an old camouflage coat for a bed. When I placed him on the lawn next to a hen turkey and he immediately started showing off -
And the hen's response? She just walked off to sit under a hedge. Who knew turkeys could be so fickle?
I'm sure Trevor will settle in. He's only been here for an hour and he's already introducing himself to the others in the garden. The pups seem impressed with him.
"That's the biggest chicken I've ever seen...."
Most of the Buff Orpington hens are sitting on small clutches of eggs, and one turkey has commandeered a clutch of chicken eggs for herself. I'll leave them all broody for now. I'm expecting my annual delivery of 30 day-old meat chicken chicks when I return from Spain. I plan to divide them between these hens. It saves me rearing them under a light and gives the chicks a healthier, less stressful start on life.
The rest of the flock is happy simply to enjoy the sunshine and free-range amenities.