How the Hen House Turns: Turkey Is Rude, Every Morning

How the Hen House Turns: Turkey Is Rude, Every Morning
Column by Carolyn A. (Cary) Neeper, Ph. D.

You’d think turkey would know me by now. I’ve had her nearly 12 years and raised her from a chick. At least I watched the White Silkie, Ms. Fluff, raise her after the second bear attack. I’ve been bringing her lay pellets and cracked corn for a long time. I let her raise a couple chicken chicks after she set for four weeks. I bring her apple cores and give her a bite of sandwich when we have lunch on the back porch.

So why does she get all huffy and trill at me every morning now? Has she gone wild or something? Or is it my brown winter hat with the puff ball on top? Maybe she’ll recognize me when it gets warmer.

She gets even huffier when I wear my red stocking cap. Ha! That must be it. Even my six-inch Gourami fish, “Freckles,” startles when I wear a red sweatshirt. She didn’t care much, until she grew up to be more than two inches in diameter.

A friend who had llamas tells of the time he forgot to feed them. He finished dressing for a Big Band gig and went out to supply them dinner. Big mistake. One llama deliberately approached and spat all over his dress shirt. The white shirt and bow tie triggered the llama’s stranger/danger response.

Author Temple Grandin reminds us that what animals see is primarily what they get ─ WSIWG in computer jargon. An unusual article of clothing says “unfamiliar” or “danger” or “dominance challenge” or something. Don’t miss reading her book “Animals in Translation.” Visit to read excerpts and learn about the book.

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