Guest post by Candice
Last Saturday, my son, daughter, and granddaughter all came over to help decorate the “real” Christmas tree. Since the back half of our property is sand, we grow our own. We all hiked back to the field and looked over this year’s selection. Hubby climbed under the branches and sawed off the tree while Son held it up to keep it from falling. Son hauled it up to the house, with the assistance of his 4-year-old niece, who had a death grasp on the very end of one branch, “helping.”
After a good deal of pruning, drilling, grunting and groaning, the tree finally made it into the stand and just barely made it through the French doors of the conservatory. It was a big tree! The ladder was fetched and the lights and angel were placed, at which point Hubby decided it was getting crowded with all of us in there and fled to do chores.
He came through the back door some time later, calling my name in that ominous tone of voice that I’ve learned means nothing good is up. I ran to meet him and found him with one of the late summer hatched turkeys in his arms, with a fair amount of blood on it.
This seemed to the be very same turkey he had found upside down between two of the feed barrels the week before – cold as ice and at first taken for dead. He had brought the bird in that day calling out in the same tone of voice, but after we’d gotten the bird warmed up, it had seemed fine and we’d put it back in the barn with the others.
Investigation of the bloody bird revealed it had been picking at its own foot, and the others had joined in. There was a deep puncture wound, and all the scales surrounding that area had either fallen off or had been pecked off. There was a dark, swollen area on the other foot as well.
As anyone who has ever had poultry knows, getting a bird to stop bleeding is no easy task. A hunt for the blood stop powder ensued, as Hubby, Son, and Daughter took turns holding the bird and putting pressure on the wound, and a fascinated 4-year-old looked on. After a good rummage through the “vet” box, the powder was found, and some vet wrap, gauze and triple antibiotic was rounded up as well.
Once we had the bleeding stopped, we put antibiotic cream on the area missing the scales and added a layer of gauze topped by the vet wrap to keep it all in place. We washed the blood off its feathers and beak and set it down on the floor of the conservatory to see if it would be able to walk with the bandage. Success! It seemed to be a little wobbly at first, but then appeared to be doing OK.
That was when our elderly, arthritic cat George decided that he thought he probably could catch THIS bird. My son saw George streaking across the floor (his belly dragging, he was crouching so low). My son dove to grab him and missed. Hubby saw George and yelled just as he launched himself airborne, thinking he was finally going to catch himself a bird. George has learned from long experience that when Hubby yells in that particular tone of voice, he’s in trouble – so he veered off to the side, landing in a heap with a disgruntled look on his furry face.
Of course, the turkey may have had a sore foot, but there was nothing wrong with its sense of self-preservation, so it gave a squawk and with a good deal of flapping and leaping of its own, it attempted to both go behind and up the Christmas tree. This was no Partridge in a Pear Tree – a Panicked Turkey in a Blue Spruce is in class of its own! All this was punctuated by a series of ear-piercing screams of the sort only a 4-year-old little girl can produce.
Hubby requested the screaming stop, Son grabbed the cat and took him for a “time out” in another room as the granddaughter aptly put it. And the bird was hauled out from behind the tree. It was put in with my five “mid-life crisis” Araucana chickens, which still have a heat lamp in their barn, and after a good laugh, the decorating recommenced.
A couple of days later, the bird went back in with the rest of the turkeys and its foot seems to be healing. We think perhaps the lack of circulation while it was upside down may have had something to do with the injury. The turkey seems fine now, though a bit wary of the other birds after the pecking.
I do wonder, however, if anyone will believe my granddaughter when she tells her children or grandchildren in the future the story of Christmas tree decorating with a turkey at MiMa and Poppi’s house.
Merry Christmas to one and all from cold and snowy Michigan. May you all have good times with good friends and family, good food and good health over the holidays.