Turkeys are not always very nice creatures – or rather males are not nice to each other in the early spring. Last year our two males fought quite badly and we killed and ate the loser. I thought that maybe this year with lots of space, 9 females and the fact that the two males were father and son such serious fighting might have been avoided.
I was wrong. We had a plan to eat the son, but hadn’t got round to it – nature took over.
Yesterday Ataturkeyoglu (a joke that perhaps only I find funny) attacked his dad pretty badly. James found him stomping on him. We separated them.
We planned to kill the old tom on Friday when I was home. This morning I took him out of the crate to the Pear Garden. He wasn’t too badly injured, but he was crushed, demoralised. Perhaps splitting the females into two and keeping them as two separate groups would have worked, but we don’t really have the land.
I decided we needed to kill him this morning. So this was how at 7.30am this morning I found myself killing a turkey.
James put him in the cone – he was too heavy for me to lift that high
James stunned him and then I slit his throat.
While he bled out I looked at the blue blue sky and I cried.
I cried because I shouldn’t have let it get to this, I cried because I always find killing animals hard and I cried because although we have chosen to live our life like this, it sometimes seems so overwhelming. The smallholding, the campsite, our jobs are non-stop – it is hard to jump from killing a turkey to planning lectures on Ottoman miniature painting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The turkey weighed in at just over 9 kilos once I had plucked and gutted it.
Daisy ate the head (and guts)
And we will have roast turkey at the weekend.
But what about the life in the title?
Tonight I am heading off to a lambing session run for smallholders by the local vet to help me prepare for lambing in a couple of months – I did say it was non-stop round here didn’t I?