Animals In Appalachia Appalachia

Turkeys that Wish They were Chickens

wild turkeys

The Blind Pig Family has been adopted by some wild turkey poults. About two weeks ago the girls were leaving for the day when they suddenly came back in the house saying there was some strange birds in the yard. After we went looked at the birds we figured they’d head back off to their mother and we went back inside. A few hours later they had migrated to the backyard where they’ve pretty much stayed ever since.

There were four birds, but a day or so after we first seen them one disappeared. The Deer Hunter said one evening he watched them all roost, but one just couldn’t make it up to the tree. I guess that’s the one that got gone.

The funny things about the birds is they seem to wish they were chickens. They hang around the chicken lot and even managed to get into the run through a hole one day. The little rats also got in my greenhouse and when they couldn’t figure out how to get out did some major damage to our tomato plants by flailing around like crazy turkeys.

Everyone has joked about our Thanksgiving turkey showing up really early, but since the girls have now named the trio I don’t think any of them will be on the carving block come November if they’re still hanging around.


p.s. Since I wrote this post a few days back the white turkey has disappeared so now we’re down to two.

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  • Reply
    Roger Fingar
    May 29, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Like Jim, I remembered the story about Joe Hutto and his experience mentoring a brood of wild turkeys in Fla. Later, in a much different environment and circumstances, he wound up repeating a similar process with wild mule deer out west. This guy has amazing patience and understanding of animals in the wild.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 29, 2018 at 11:56 am

    I’d say that the original varmit that chased them out of their original habitat…has followed them to your place and waits patiently to pick them off one at a time…
    Are you sure these are wild turkeys and not from some farmer down the road..etc…eventhough white wild turkeys can occur to various conditions…It makes me wonder…especially since they seem to love your friendly chickens and family…
    We had quite a few wild turkeys here, as well as quail and grouse…but the “Wiley Coyote” made waste with our excess plus some of our cottontails…For a long time we had a stray “pea hen” or “peacock” venture into our woodland…His voice would make hairs stand up on your arms…I suspect he also came from a farm across the ridge…We had Red foxes and then the coyotes moved in…so I am sure it “lays a’mouldin’ ” somewhere in the woodland today…
    I love my birds…all o them…even the starlings and noxious cowbirds yes, and even the Red Shouldered Hawk that scares the pee-diddle out of all the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and even the cat… when he screams and sweeps the yard landing fifteen or twenty feet on one of the Oak branches…looking for lunch!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Hope you keep good watch on your birds…penned and unpenned…there is something afoot!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 29, 2018 at 11:42 am

    When I was a young teenager, I Deer Hunted alot on Rainbow Springs, especially in Tate Cove, right above Tipton. One morning just before it got good-n-light, I was sneaking down an old logging road and spotted a bunch of wild turkeys roosting in a large Pine. I don’t care anything about Turkey Hunting, so I let them be. Anyway, the season wasn’t open in November. (like I cared)

    I bet your White Turkey got eat by some coyotes. One time I had a Jack Russell dog, and he wasn’t afraid of the devil. He heard a bunch of them coyotes howling on the ridge and jumped right in the middle and they ate him. Anymore, I keep a 30-30 loaded and leaned up against the front door facing, just in case. …Ken

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 29, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Sweet story, maybe you should build a fence

  • Reply
    May 29, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Are you trying to say that some wild animal has been gobbling up your birds? Come on now let’s talk turkey here!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    May 29, 2018 at 9:16 am

    I think they could live in the pen with your chickens. I had neighbors once who had a huge pen of chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese, and they all got along.

  • Reply
    May 29, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Sounds like you’re raising turkeys now – just watch your chickens closely that the turkeys don’t share some parasite or illness with them.
    Although I’ve seldom seen the turkeys, when we first moved out here, I often heard turkeys gobbling. Haven’t heard them for several years so was very excited to hear them about 9 months ago – turns out a neighbor was raising them for the holidays. I kept hoping a few would get loose and go wild!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 29, 2018 at 8:14 am

    No turkeys when I was a boy and deer just beginning their comeback. Attempts to re-introduce turkey were failing. Conventional wisdom then was they had to have at least 10,000 contiguous acres of mostly hardwood forest and few or no roads. Turned out the major problem was trying to re-introduce domesticated or semi-domesticated birds who were lost when it came to living in the woods. Now there are 4 or 5 that hang around near the GSMNP sign on US441 at Cherokee, NC literally at the edge of town.

    I would guess your two will wander off by and by. The immature birds act different than grown ones, hanging out together their first year and then in flocks in fall and winter but go solitary at nesting time next spring. Be interesting to see how comfortable they get. Has Ruby Sue had any reaction to them?

    • Reply
      June 1, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      Ron-Ruby Sue has totally ignored the turkeys-which is really rare for her 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 29, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Guess they think the chickens are their kin, so they’re hanging around! Not many cats around because of all the dogs, but there sure are enough wild things that would eat a nice plump half grown turkey…and then there were two!

  • Reply
    May 29, 2018 at 7:44 am

    Dad always had wild turkeys, and he established his own preservation for them. That was the only time he put up his dogs was when the turkeys had their young foraging. He was a great hunting enthusiast in his youth, but as he grew older he fed the different wild animals regularly.

    By the way I accidentally read the post about “Shotgun Wedding”, and it was very interesting. Those older posts can be very interesting. I consider myself a regular reader, so I don’t know if I have forgotten or missed a few. I guess I have forgotten, because I see where ole PinnacleCreek has posted a few times. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 29, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Tipper–Those poults almost certainly lost their mother to a bobcat, coyote, or some other predator. Alas, their survival is highly unlikely without her, and I strongly suspect the one poult which has disappeared fell to a predator.

    In your photo one of the three appears to be almost white. Is that the case? While a melanin deficiency (more common than true albinism) does occur in wild turkeys, it is by no means common.

    Did you hear gobbling a couple of months back? If so, it’s likely these turkeys came from local stock and I know Matt would have noticed any such activity.

    One other thought. There is an absolutely wonderful book by a fellow named Joe Hutto entitled “Illumination in the Flatwoods.” In it he describes his experience of actually living with a brood of turkeys for a year, staying with them all day every day and only leaving when they went to roost. It’s fascinating on many levels.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    May 29, 2018 at 6:46 am

    Wow, unusual for them to stay, they’ll be a quick snack for a coyote or house cat if not already

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