The Sad Truth About Turkeys As Pets Life

On the last Saturday before Thanksgiving, be aware that some people have turkeys as pets.

What? Yes, you read that right. This column took a left turn this week to discuss turkeys as pets.

FYI, I don’t like turkeys. I don’t like anything about them. And everything people do around turkey dinners for the holidays baffles me. There are so many other great choices for table dishes besides turkey.

Turkeys (wild and domestic) are ugly and noisy. The tissue hanging off their heads and necks looks too much like pathogenic lesions to me. The snood is the part that grows on their forehead and extends beyond the beak. The part that covers the bird’s head like a hoodie is called the acacia. The bumps in this skin are called caruncles, which I think is way too close to “anthrax”.

Oh, I know, the repellent fabric has a lot of important functions like attracting a mate or cooling the bird in hot weather. And other birds also have similar fabrics. But I suggest that this specialized cloth is the reason turkeys come to your table having their heads chopped off with an ax.

Some sources say that turkeys are excellent pets for people with a certain square footage. They claim that turkeys are “friendly and loyal”. As opposed to what, being mean and promiscuous? I don’t buy it. Check out some of the human cohabitation videos on YouTube. They hunt people. People who keep them as pets call it ‘following you’.

Male turkeys can be very territorial. They tend to use separate places to eat, sleep, and eliminate. There are lots of videos of little kids being chased by “friendly” birds and running around the safety of the house with lots of unwanted things between their toes. Meanwhile, the turkeys are in their point of elimination laughing.

Turkeys tend to peck things when they are… well, apparently for whatever reason they want. They are fast and I cannot imagine that it does not result in eye injuries. Granted, companion dogs seem bewildered by the birds’ bizarre behavior.

There are a lot of people laughing in the background on the soundtrack of these videos. They are assumed to be the owners, and all of them seem to have very strong southern accents. They seem to think it’s funny when turkeys chase after family and friends, often jumping on them using their feet to tenderize the person. The screams that some children make when chased by a turkey is a guarantee that PTSD will be alive and well in future generations.

That same cry is the one that military intelligence plays over and over the loudspeakers to provide psychological stress to prisoners at Guantanamo. A goblet then a cry, night and day for months. If you included the same sounds in a horror movie, people would think you broke one of Hollywood production’s last taboos, which is “never kill the baby.”

Add to all this the fact that experts recommend providing pet turkeys with a “large shed” or “small barn”. Truly? “The more space you give them to roost and roam around, the healthier and happier they will be,” a source said. Well why don’t you just give them the keys to your house and move to a place where there are no turkeys?

The big problem with owning a turkey is that if you want to eat it is that it needs a higher protein diet than it normally receives if you want it to keep growing. . Protein is one of the most expensive food ingredients in a ration. So overall, you save nothing.

Powell is the public information officer for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which provides this column as a community service. If you have any questions or concerns about animals that you would like to know more about, send an email to

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