Years later, when the kids were in 4-H, a lady gave me an incubator raised white turkey, and she came with the name of Princess Leia! The only turkey I had ever handled before was Bee-Bop, and he was a pretty spindly guy. I was told to drive out to the lady's house and just put it in the cardboard box that was sitting outside her pen. I picked up the sizable bird and stuffed her into the box - but before I could close the flaps, her head was sticking out and she was squawking and slipping her wings out, and then - she was loose in the car!!! I tried cramming her into that box once again, but with no better luck, so I just drove the 20 minutes with a turkey sitting in the front seat on the passenger side floor!When I got back to our farm, I grabbed her gently to take her to the coop we had constructed, but she would have none of it! She slipped her wings free and bashed me on the head so hard with them, I was seeing stars! I had no idea how strong those birds could be!!! Finally I did the only thing I could do, and that was to grab her by the feet and wing her into the pen! I had to go take an aspirin and go lay down!
Princess Leia was with us for a couple years, and we sure enjoyed owning her. She learned to come when we called her with little turkey gobble noises, and somewhere I even have a photo of her wearing a blue babushka! No, we didn't intend to have her for Thanksgiving. She met her end in a strange and sad way. You see, Princess Leia had to be placed into her coop every night, and we did so faithfully, 365 nights a year. She just could not get the hang of walking up the ramp into her house! She didn't "get it". One winter we tucked her in with the ducks and rabbits, and the most horrid snowstorm pounded the state! It had snowed so hard that by morning we could not see out our windows! I could not open the doors! This was in Illinois, mind you - not Michigan! By mid afternoon, some of the snow had blown clear of our house, and I looked out the picture window only to see horse hooves and ankles standing right there! Time to figure out how to dig out of the house so I could put the horses back in their corral or the barn - apparently the snow was so deep they could just walk over their fence into our front yard - I didn't want them coming in through the roof to watch TV with us or something dumb like that!
When we did get outside to take care of the ducks and bunnies, Princess Leia was nowhere to be found! We looked and looked, but the snow was white, she was white...the coop door had blown open during the night, and she was just gone.
Spring finally came and the great snow finally melted. I went out to feed the animals, and there, below the coop door where the snow had melted last, was our Princess Leia. She never did get the hang of walking up the ramp into the chicken house...It was a very sad day, and we buried her out behind the old corn crib, where all our beloved pets were buried once they passed on. We sure loved her and missed her gurgling calls for attention - a very sad day indeed.
- When a turkey gets mad, excited, or defensive its head and neck changes color, and the more excited a turkey becomes the whiter the head and neck will also become.
- Wild turkeys sleep in trees at night.
- The turkey makes a “turk, turk, turk” sound when it is scared, and the American Indian name for the bird was firkee, so maybe that is how they got their name.
- Wild turkeys don’t seem quick, but they are pretty fast. A wild turkey can fly as fast as 55 miles per hour, and they can run as fast as 29 miles per hour. A wild turkey can glide without flapping his wings for almost a mile.
- A turkey has 157 bones! Remember that when you are putting away leftovers after your Thanksgiving meal!