Did you know?
Turkeys are far more stunning when dressed in their feathers than dressed for a holiday meal. Aside from their beauty, turkeys are resourceful and fleet of foot, playful, and social. With distinct personalities, turkeys love a good conversation and will happily cluck, chirp, and gobble in response to voices or along with music. They are naturally curious creatures with a wide field of full-color vision and a keen sense of hearing. Turkeys are also sensitive to touch, especially on their beaks and feet. These gentle birds are closely bonded to their young and make devoted mothers.
In nature, turkeys are born athletes, capable of running at speeds of 25 mph and flying even faster. They spend their days foraging for food, taking dust baths, preening, caring for their young, roosting in trees, and exploring. In the wild, turkeys can live approximately 10 years, but farm raised turkeys are harvested at 5-6 months-old.
In crowded factory farm settings, turkeys are not allowed to do what comes naturally. They are housed by the thousands in dark, cramped barns with little ventilation, from incubator to slaughter. Turkeys’ sensitive beaks and toes are often clipped, without anesthetic, to prevent them from scratching and pecking one another in these close confines. Domestic turkeys are genetically bred to be so heavy they can never run or fly, even if the space allowed. This genetic manipulation means many turkeys become crippled under their own weight. Each year, almost 300 million turkeys are raised for food in the U.S., about 45 million of them for Thanksgiving alone!
Meet a few of the turkeys
Michaela is our newest turkey arrival who was likely being raised for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. Michaela was found by the side of the road by one of our staff. She was just a peeping chick who loved to sit on our shoulders and supervise office activities. Michaela is growing like a weed and has moved outside with Gracie, who is showing her all about being a turkey. Gracie and her small flock of 5 other turkeys arrived at the Sanctuary this year too, from a local hoarding situation. She is a sweetheart who is currently being treated for bumblefoot, with weekly foot soaking and wraps. She’s happy to show Michaela how to be the best turkey she can be!
Declan was rescued from an animal hoarder in upstate New York, but now lives happily with the love of his life, Daisy. She was spared the fate of being a Thanksgiving dinner after a woman convinced a neighboring turkey farm to spare her. These two lovebirds are never far apart and spend their days lazing in the sun or pecking for treats in the grass. Declan delights in strutting his stuff for visitors and soothing them with his melodic coos. Daisy relishes human companionship and will sit quietly while being stroked.
Be a sponsor
We have two options for turkey sponsorship this month! For a one-time donation of $25, you’ll receive a glossy photo of your turkey to place at your Thanksgiving table. Or become an annual sponsor for $216 and receive the full benefits of sponsorship!
To receive your turkey’s photo in the mail in time for Thanksgiving, please complete your sponsorship by November 17. Sponsorships received after then will be emailed a PDF of their photo to ensure it is received it in time.