I was working from home, upstairs in my office, when I heard the piercing, frantic sound of a baby bird in trouble. At first I thought the sound was just regular birdsong, as our forests are quite alive with all sorts of trills and tweets and screeches. But no, allowing myself a second to really focus on the noise was enough to make it clear that somewhere nearby was a baby bird crying for its life.
What’s a girl to do? I couldn’t callously return to my research and ignore the piteous sound. Moreover, I had a every reason to presume that it was partially my fault that the bird was under attack, having introduced one said Junebug, savage huntress feline extraordinare to this avian paradise. No, I needed to intervene.
Sure enough, the sound was coming from under the deck, and I immediately saw Junebug trotting away with a struggling chick in her jaws. But it wasn’t a baby songbird, it was a day-old, speckled wild turkey poult.
Junebug dropped the bird right away to meow proudly to me. The baby took the opportunity to run like crazy, but its choice of direction wasn’t ideal for a successful escape, and it was quickly trapped behind a cooler. I collected it in no time. It was miraculously unharmed, other than being utterly terrified.
I already had the components of a chick refuge on hand – a brooder, a heat lamp, chick feeders. It wasn’t long before the baby was installed in our bathroom, where not but three days ago our Buff Orpington hen Flora had finished a convalescence while being treated for a bad case of chicken lice and anemia. Seems like a normal thing now, having poultry in the bathroom. As the fella said to me last week, you know you live on a farm when….
So we have a teeny tiny turkey now. It’s still alive, and growing. Lettuce and crumbles are its favorites, and it loves a little snuggle up close to your chest where it can burrow in and pretend the cloth is feathers. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it will, and it won’t be Dinner. Being stole from its mother and mauled by a cat is enough hardship for this little creature’s lifetime. Nope, this here is a Pet Turkey.