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Monday, Sep. 22, 2014

Down memory lane: Baby turkeys

Posted Saturday, November 26, 2011, at 9:47 AM

(Photo)
My sister sent me this photo from her daily dose of "ICANHAZCHEEZBURGER," the popular Utube cute-animal video site. She knows that baby turkeys are yet another of the animals I love.
Remembering the farm critters from my past

In honor of "Turkey Day," my sister emailed me a link to her Thanksgiving cute animal of the day--a baby turkey. She knows I have a soft spot for the little birds.

Yes, I know that you've all heard that "turkeys are so stupid that they'll stand out in the rain with their heads up until they drown."

Shut up! I'm not talking about commercial turkeys bred for their white meat and raised in crowded pens for the yearly Thanksgiving slaughter!

My turkeys were given to us by my husband's grandfather Orville Tedford, Sr., who had a farm near Essex, Mo.

My oldest son must have been about three, so you can see how long ago it was. He's 37 now.

Those were happy times. Everything was new. My husband and his father had cleared the hillside and built a road across the pond levee, so they could build the house. We were populating the farm with small critters to play with--5 beautiful gray geese and two elusive guineas from Arab, Mo., and an ornery little goat from the Popular Bluff auction...

For some reason which now eludes me, I took two turkey eggs and hatched them out in an incubator, not trusting the mama to raise them by herself. Ah, foolish Madeline--that never worked out well--why did you persist?

We named the largest one "Freddie," and he was so tame that he ate flies out of our fingers. When my son ran across the yard, Freddie would run/fly along side him.

When the turkeys were small, they would cuddle in my arms and make small "weep, weeping" sounds. I loved to stroke their little square heads with my finger.

It was summertime, and they liked to scratch out a place in the yard, where they could lie in the sun and dust their feathers.

I say that I never learned, because--like the baby geese I also hatched out in the incubator--these babies imprinted on me as their mother, so they wanted to be with me all the time. That just doesn't work out.

Also, we let them run loose in the yard around the house, rather than keeping them in a pen. In both cases--the turkeys and the geese--an unruly dog was their undoing, leaving me heartbroken to this day. After all these years, I'm sad when I think of the little critters who fell prey to coyotes, raccoons, skunks and dogs...

I've stayed away from such foolishness for these last 20 years or so...but I still remember the pleasure my children received from them, and I'm glad that all three of my kids had the opportunity to grow up in the country with little critters as playmates.

From the wild, gray hills of Tillman, this is your former goat, chicken, geese, duck, hog and cattle herder Madeline, signing off on an after-Thanksgiving Saturday.


Comments
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Now this is a rather bitter sweet memory to share with your readers. Those were surely enjoyable days for the little babies to run with your oldest son. Even though they experienced such a tragic end there was much joy in that short period of time. Remember the good times, let the tragedy fade away with the years.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Sat, Nov 26, 2011, at 12:42 PM

I think the commercial turkeys have had the intelligence and common sense bred out of them. The native variety couldn't be stupid, or they would never survive in the wild--which they certainly do!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Nov 26, 2011, at 7:30 PM


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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net or by phone at 573-722-5322.
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