I have struggled with putting my words together for this post. However, I do believe that it is important to share this … to show that homesteading is not full of good times only. Homesteading is physically hard work. It can also be emotionally hard.
In dealing with this, my emotions have been all over the place.
Death is sad. Yes, even with animals that you are raising for meat.
What could I have done differently?
I financially invested in these turkeys and their food, shelter and fencing.
Let me start at the beginning. In April, we purchased (from a hatchery) a male and female turkey, both one day old. Within 24 hours they were dead! What happened?!?!? Sad, yet determined to not give up, we searched, found, and purchased another male and female turkey, this time from a feed store two hours away.
We set them up in a brooder and they thrived. They quickly outgrew the brooder and successfully moved to their outside home that Handy Hubby constructed for them. Mr. and Mrs. Turkey were happy together. Both were growing and seemed healthy. They were always side by side.
A few days after I posted Part 2 of Raising Turkeys, Mrs. died. When my daughter went to feed them that afternoon, she saw her…in the turkey house…dead. I am not sure what happened to her, but I am guessing it was from the heat (it was a very hot day). What was odd though, is that Mrs. wouldn’t go in the turkey house by herself. Every night we had to pick her up and put her in the coop. Mr. would then go in by himself. How did she get inside the coop? Why didn’t she go out? Did she hurt herself? No blood or anything out of the ordinary was visible. Hubby properly buried Mrs. Turkey and we tried to move on, but…
What happened next was a nightmare! Mr. was noticeably, and understandably upset. After all, he was grieving. He paced and gobbled/whistled constantly. His face and neck turned red, a sign of anger and/or stress. Then he quickly turned aggressive. He wouldn’t go inside the turkey house at night. He wouldn’t let us near him. We put some lavender inside his house, hoping the calming scent would help him to relax. We put a basketball in the fenced area, hoping he would take his aggressions out on it. Our efforts were not working. He then tried to fly/lunge toward my daughters and me. It got to the point where I approached the area with a broom (to protect myself in needed) while feeding and watering him. Then I wouldn’t go near him at all. I was scared of him! The only one he didn’t try to attack was Hubby.
As hard as it was to watch him mourn for Mrs. Turkey, I also mourned. I mourned for the peaceful life of watching and tending to my pleasant turkeys. After a few weeks, Mr. Turkey calmed down. I am able to go into his area without a broom, although I am still cautious of him.
So what helped him?
I truly believe what helped Mr. Turkey is his new friend…a new animal to LL Farm…a three month old cow. They seem to communicate with each other. (In the picture above, the cow seems to have her head tilted to show that she is listening to the turkey.)
Sometimes I see them lying next to each other, sometimes standing together.
It goes to prove that having friend can help you through the tough times in life.
To see more of our homesteading adventures, check out my blog at LL Farm.