After taking a tour of the sanctuary, we would often ask our guests, “which animal did you find the most interesting?” and more often than not, the answer would be Ronnie and Bernie, our two resident turkeys. It always struck me as strange that so many people would choose the same animal but having put some thought into it, I wonder if it is because turkeys are animals who are generally one of the least acknowledged farmed animals.
Let’s face it, outside of Christmas and Thanksgiving, mentions of our feathered friends are few and far between and this being said, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that so many people are taken aback at just how friendly, funny and majestic turkeys truly are; I think it is pretty safe to say, turkeys are so underrated by society!
With Thanksgiving here, we really wanted to take that underappreciation and turn it on its head. We want to take this opportunity to sing the deserved praises of turkeys and speak to some of their little quirks that make them such charming and unique creatures. Whilst we can’t talk for all turkeys, we can definitely give some insight into the individual personalities of Ronnie and Bernie and we’ll even sprinkle in some turkey facts whilst we’re at it!
Both Ronnie and Bernie love to be around people but definitely on their own terms. They will happily follow you and stand next to you but if they don’t know you too well, they may still avoid your hand if you reach out to pet them; They will do this with the funniest little sidestep, whilst looking at you, out of the corner of their eye. They can be pretty picky eaters when they want to be. We eventually figured out they will eat a handful of blueberries in a matter of seconds!
JP’s Thanks-living Celebration 2021
One of my favorite things about this pair is how they will let out the most hearty ‘laugh’. You’ve probably heard it described as a ‘gobble’ rather than a laugh but it really sounds like they are hysterically laughing at you! They are always synchronized and my favorite times are when I have been in the barn cleaning by myself and I’ll break the silence with a sneeze and the second that sound escapes me, both Ronnie and Bernie will erupt in their laughter. It brought me so much joy every time.
Their confidence continues to grow and they get more and more adventurous as time goes on. They are more than happy to spend time with our human visitors and given the chance, they will wander off, up the hill, to go and see what’s happening at the house or in the chicken coop! So whether it’s humans, chickens, cows or pigs, Ronnie and Bernie are so at ease and seem to really enjoy the company of others.
So whether it’s humans, chickens, cows or pigs, Ronnie and Bernie are so at ease and seem to really enjoy the company of others.
- They can fly up to 60mph and run up to 18mph.
- Their vision is 3 times clearer than our 20/20.
- Individual turkeys have their own distinct voices that can be recognised by other turkeys.
- They can memorize precise details of an area up to 1000 acres in size.
- The skin on their head and throat changes color – the bolder colors indicate more heightened emotions.
- The snood (fleshy part right above their bill) can grow to up to 5-6 inches and females are more attracted to longer snoods.
- Almost 50 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving every year.
- Babies will stay with their mother for about a year in the wild. Turkeys in the food industry will often never meet their mother and are instead born in an incubator.
- Turkeys are not protected from abuse by any federal laws and therefore often suffer greatly before they are killed.
Let’s give thanks with compassion this year and leave turkeys off of our plates!
Love to all beings ❤️
From Jenny & the whole JP Family
Share the goodness, for goodness sake …. 😉
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JP Farm Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit, tax-exempt. 501(c)(3) corporation (EIN 83-1674833)
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