Baby chicks sure are cute, but baby turkeys (called “poults”) are my favorite. Unlike skittish chicks, turkeys like people and will run toward you, rather than away from you, when you approach them.
They do adorable things like cock their heads and poke at your wedding ring (shiny!) and they might even try to pull your hair.
Two years ago when we were raising turkeys for the first time, I fell in love with the tiniest, most pathetic of them all. He was about 1/3 the size of the other turkeys, and got pushed around a lot. So I took him home with me and put him in a box with a friend.
But sometimes he would peep incessantly unless I was in the room with him. So I started letting him out of his box. He would follow us around the kitchen, or visit me in my home office. It was a little distracting.
After a week or so he got strong enough to go back in the brooder with the big guys (turkeys stay in the brooder for about 5 weeks before going out to pasture). Turkeys love grass, and whenever I dropped handfuls of grass in the brooder, the little runt would manage to squirm beneath the other turkeys and grab a mouthful.
He was scrappy. So that’s what I named him.
Scrappy enjoyed a few happy months at Blue Heron Farm, eating grass and bugs and enjoying the late Indiana summer and early autumn. Sadly, he ended up a victim of the food chain, and not in the way we’d prefer: he was killed by a raccoon the middle of the night.
I admit it–I maybe teared up a bit when Scrappy died. And I try not to get attached to our turkeys these days. A few years ago I would have never guessed I’d be struck by turkey love. But I’m glad for it.