|A fat and happy domestic turkey enjoying his digs at Shelburne Farms, Vermont|
I visited a farm over the weekend and snapped this photo of a fat and happy turkey. Although the poor guy does not know it, he will not be around, enjoying his life for long. He is destined to be ‘harvested’ and the center of attraction on some family’s Thanksgiving table.
Nowadays turkeys are raised for the edible enjoyment of millions of Americans as well as other people around the world. Apparently Americans love white meat, so the birds are fattened to produce the largest breasts possible. But the enlarged male tom turkeys are unable to fertilize the female hen turkeys in the natural mating position. Therefore females are artificially inseminated. Personally, I prefer dark meat and feel badly that males and females don’t get to have any carnal fun…
Modern breeding techniques have resulted in another side effect. Domesticated turkeys are dumb.
Did you know Big Bird of Sesame Street fame is dressed in turkey feathers? His feathers are died bright yellow.
Wild turkeys are native to Central America and Mexico. Mexicans were probably the first people to domesticate the turkey. The Spanish introduced turkeys to Europe in 1519; they reached England by 1524.
English farmers in the 1700’s walked the turkeys to market and it was sometimes a long march. Farmers placed little booties on the turkeys’ feet to protect them.
Ben Franklin believed the wild turkey, a multi-colored, aggressive bird of flight, should be the national bird.
Wild turkeys can fly; domestic ones cannot.
How many readers remember the 1970s sitcom WKRP? There is an infamous episode about turkeys. I still remember it, and found a clip on YouTube. Watch the first four minutes and enjoy!