Saturday, June 27, 2009

Backyard Turkeys: The Next Wave in Gardening



Tom Terrific "displaying" for photographer Astrid Pryor


Meet Tom Terrific, the Narragansett turkey. He's a sociable guy, in fact you could call him a party animal. If he hears human laughter nearby he bowls over and gobbles happily, joining in.

Tom lives in a pretty garden in Grass Valley, California where he and his lady turkey hens stroll and peck. Tom likes to gobble to his neighbors while they're gardening, or talk through the fence to his Afghan Hound pals. If there's no one around he goes to his owner's side door, walks up the steps, and taps on the glass.

Tom strutted to his front fence to chat me up one afternoon. His friendly gobble and intelligent eyes were irresistible. I'd always heard that turkeys were dumber than a box of rocks, but Tom certainly wasn't.

Tom Terrific looks like he just came off a Thanksgiving Day place card. His ancestors and their cousins, the Bronzes, are the archetypal birds we see in illustrations every November.

Tom descends from a cross of English turkeys and the wild Eastern Turkeys in America. Narragansett turkeys boast black and white barred feathers (the striped effect) and sociable temperaments.

Temperament matters these days, as poultry has caught the American imagination and backyard chickens are all the rage. If you want to stay a four-toed, salmon-colored, clawed-foot ahead in the stylish living race, why not get a turkey now, before the rush starts in 2010?

The Narragansetts need your help, as they are losing the popularity contest to the Bronzes. The Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities is concerned.


To leave a comment, click on the word COMMENTS below

22 comments:

Susan_Morrison said...

Thanks for the tip; I like to be on top of the trends. You've saved me suggesting backyard chickens to friends and clients and inadvertently sounding embarrassingly out of touch.

Must say, however, that you may get some push back on the declaration that turkeys aren't dumb as rocks. The wild ones in my neck of the woods do some pretty zany things!

Daffodil Planter said...

Susan, Glad to help keep you au courant.

I don't know if Tom Terrific would inspire a "My backyard turkey is smarter than your honor student" bumper sticker, but he's pretty sharp.

AJ said...

I am Tom's neighbor and personal photographer. He is indeed a sociaable bird. I, too, have always heard that turkeys are dumb, but believe me, he is indeed an intelligent, if not sentient creature. My clients and friends are delighted at his amicability and amazed by his response to laughter. He comes to be petted (as do his Hennies (sic) Penny. I personally have seen him tap on his caretaker's door more than once. He greets me every morning when I take care of the garden--indeed he has comments about nearly everything I do. He is about to become the proud papa of twenty little "turklets", who are in an incubator. If anyone is interested, let me know and I will pass on the information.

Astrid

Daffodil Planter said...

Astrid, Thank you for your photos of Tom! He is a Terrific fellow!

mothernaturesgarden said...

He's a beauty. I have always wanted a turkey. We have wild ones that show up once in a while.

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome Mother Nature! Now, that's fun to say. Tom is fortunate that you think he's a handsome devil. I had him more in the "face only a mother could love" category. My bad.

Helen said...

You have to say this about turkeys: they have good taste.

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome Helen! Ha! Like the old tuna commercial? Charlie the tuna with good taste? And I can't remember the brand, so it was not completely effective.

peoniesinthesnow said...

He is a gorgeous boy! Does he belong to Pomona? I would welcome him to my garden 'cept he'd probably beat up my dogs.

Daffodil Planter said...

Peonies, He is Astrid's neighbor, not Pomona's. I don't know if he's a tough customer or not. He's friendly to dogs through the fence, and vice-versa.

Sadge said...

Interesting post - I'll have to think about it (and then convince sweet husband). We did end up with a white tom turkey, TG (and you can guess what that stood for), when a neighbor moved. He got so big he crippled himself. Our guineas will tap on our sliding glass door, but I think they're just admiring their own reflections more than looking for me. I still miss my Afghan Hound, Omar, gone 15 years now. Now his was a real personality!

Daffodil Planter said...

Sadge, You have bumped into Afghan Hound rescue, with Astrid (Tom's neighbor). Maybe Omar sent you.

Jenny said...

Tom and his relatives would look very nice in a farmyard with those cows they call "Oreo cows"---I don't remember the name of the breed, but they are black in the front and the back, with a white band around the middle.

AJ said...

Afghan hounds? Did someone say afghan hounds? Funny you should mention it. I'm going to L.A. tomorrow to pick up four from a 12-dog rescue and returning Tuesday. Recently, I headed up a rescue team for 45 afghan hounds confiscated in Auburn, CA, of all places. So...Sadge--anytime you need an afghan, Dog will provide...

Astrid

Daffodil Planter said...

Jenny, You have an eye for design! Tom and his barred brethren would look terrific with the Dutch Belted cows. And some barred black and white chickens too. And some convicts too?

Daffodil Planter said...

Astrid, Yes, if anyone in the U.S. or Canada is interested in adopting a rescue Afghan Hound, you are the woman to contact. Readers: contact me via the email in the About Me sidebar and I will put you together.

Kim and Victoria said...

That is one beautiful turkey!

Heather said...

He is definitely a beauty! Well in turkey terms of couse. I only have the more manageable sized chickens for now but maybe next year.

Sadge said...

Oh, another Afghan - something else I'll have to convince sweet husband about (as well as Boris, our sweet little German Shorthair-ish pound hound, and the cat, who thinks he's a dog anyway, and anyone know how they are around chickens?). And you're not very far away from me in Carson City, so it's definitely a possibility. Looks like I've got a campaign to mount.

Daffodil Planter said...

Kim and Victoria, and Heather--I'll give Tom your compliments!

Sadge, Contact me via the email in About Me. Four new rescues just in.

VW said...

I think turkeys are not allowed by my HOA, but my 1-year old makes cute gobbling noises sometimes! I'll have to settle for a naked turkey in the oven in November - and it better not be making any noises.

Daffodil Planter said...

VW, Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand gobbles. That's some HOA you have--no sheep allowed, no turkeys--just your gorgeous garden!