Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Posts tagged ‘Wild Turkey call’

The Great Adventure – finale

(continued) “My attention now needed to be turned to helping the three in the brooder grow to the point of being released back into the wild. My daughter decided that little project belonged to her, and named them all Bernice.”

Would the three Bernices eat? That was the most critical question. Not having immediate turkey feed available, we used chick feed granules, soaked in water. They were not interested in the least. At 3:00 a.m., my daughter, Roni, woke me up concerned that they hadn’t eaten or drank…time for a little forced nutrition. Using a syringe, no needle, we worked together getting a soupy mixture into their mouths….waited for them to swallow, and added more. The next day, I stopped at the feed store and picked up flock raiser feed for turkeys.

Not completely soupy yet...but you get the picture.

Not completely soupy yet…but you get the picture.

The littlest poult, the first one we found after mama turkey had returned, was still quiet, but swallowed the food as the others. This little Bernice seemed to need a little extra attention, and was very happy to snuggle under a towel in Roni’s arms. The other two Bernices were less receptive to cuddle time, and were huge wiggle worms.

Littlest poult Bernice.  Believe it or not, she is fast asleep here...she loved to cuddle in Roni's hands.

Littlest poult Bernice. Believe it or not, she is fast asleep here…she loved to cuddle in Roni’s hands.

One of the other Bernices...fat and sassy!

One of the other Bernices…fat and sassy!

Every 2 – 3 hours we went through this feeding routine, taking shifts to support our differing schedules. Roni liked to take the poults outside to feed them. They seemed to perk up when taken outside. One of the three has a wing (or wing feathers) that sticks out away from its body. This may be the little one that Penni picked up by its wing when she originally found them. Hopefully, it is just a feather, cosmetic issue…it seems like it.

Two of the three Bernices

Two of the three Bernices

On the second night, Roni again woke me up afraid that the littlest Bernice was dying…it looked like she was. Her head was floppy, and she had no significant strength to her legs. I thought about my little rooster, Austin Healey, and how sugar water helped him to bounce back and ignite his appetite…it was worth a shot. The littlest Bernice readily swallowed the sugar water from the syringe…and we waited. A couple of hours later we fed her turkey feed softened with the sugar water. By morning, she was much stronger! She looked like she had turned the corner…one more meal, and I went off to work…by noon time, the littlest Bernice had died. 😦 It was very sad. She just never was as strong as the other two.

Still sleeping...her tummy was full, she was warm and safe. Notice the food crumbles on her beak.

Still sleeping…her tummy was full, she was warm and safe. Notice the food crumbles on her beak.

The other two Bernices gained in strength, and within a day of each other started eating and drinking on their own…YAY!! They are definitely wild birds, and do not look forward to human interaction…this is great news for their eventual release. We’ve had a couple of escapes…twice outside, once in the garage…and they immediately run and burrow under whatever they can find..it’s not easy to retrieve them.

Bernice and Bernice

Bernice and Bernice

One's a blur, the other showing off her long neck and legs. Notice that wing, it should be tucked tight against her body.

One’s a blur, the other showing off her long neck and legs. Notice that wing, it should be tucked tight against her body.

Within this first week, their legs are longer, and their necks are stretching. They are able to jump out of their brooder if the top is off, so feeding has become a bit of a challenge….but, today…they have graduated to eating turkey feed granules…no more soaking!!!

It’s a new, fun challenge…like many we are experiencing out here in the forest and on the farm….but wait, there is more….

Can’t wait to tell you of the early, morning wake-up we had a couple of days ago, opening up a new chapter to this year’s spring – summer management on the farm. Never a dull moment!!

Hope you all have a wonderful day….see you tomorrow as we walk through the forest.

The Great Adventure part 3

(continued) “Hoping that mama turkey would not be afraid to come back another time………By this time, my daughter had gotten home and joined me in the quest to reunite the family. She held a couple of the poults in her sweater, while we sat behind a tree….and we waited……”

The poults burrowed into their hiding place, nestled within our clothing.

Burrowing in for safety

Burrowing in for safety

They totally came alive, however, whenever the possibility of freedom enter into their sites. This was a great thing! Their quietness was instinctual, their flight response was crucial to their survival once released.

One of the poults jumped from my grasp into the tall grass. Even though I kept my eye on where it landed and the direction it headed, almost instantly it vanished…completely disappeared.

A hidden poult!  With her head slightly raised, this one was actually a little easier to see.

A hidden poult! With her head slightly raised, this one was actually a little easier to see.

Very carefully I searched…only me, we didn’t need two sets of feet potentially stepping on the invisible young turkey. All of a sudden, there it was! I scooped it up, hoping that mama turkey would soon return.

My daughter and I sat quietly, looking for any movement through the grass, which was a bit of a challenge since it was a windy day. All of a sudden, off to the right at about 200 ft. was the beautiful, bobbing head that we had been looking for.

This photo taken by http://www.caryinstitute.org

This photo taken by http://www.caryinstitute.org

As mama turkey reached the general area where Penni had found the poults,
May 2014
she called…our little ones woke up. We let them go, hoping they would find their way to her. This was a difficult. What if they didn’t find her, would we be able to find them again?? We wanted to walk up to mama turkey and say, “Here they are,” but we knew that wouldn’t be possible…she would leave again…would she then come back? We just had to let the poults go and hope for the best.

Getting close to release time, mama turkey is calling.

Getting close to release time, mama turkey is calling.

We released, and they ran. Mama turkey called,

the young poults chirped as they moved through the grass. We watched from a distance, but it was hard to tell when a poult would reach her. Not wanting to affect the reunion we carefully, and quietly backed off. Nature was now leading the reunion…….

(To be continued)…the story gets bigger…come on back for tomorrow’s chapter!

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