And personal. Always. Up close and personal. Both the turkeys and their ever present associate and ringleader Geraldine the pea hen.
As I dole out the feed into separate bowls for the pigs, they have their heads in the pigs bowls, as I lean in to scoop chicken feed into the white bucket they are leaning right onto my arms trying to get their heads into that bag too, pecking at the scoop as it moves up and down – their bodies are fat and warm, they smell like summer. I have to lift them entirely, spreading my fingers wide so as to hold their wings against their bodies then move them to one side their legs peddling in space and then try to re-attach them to another side of the bench just so I can see what I am doing.
They get so close to my face I sometimes fear for my eyes, but they don’t peck each others eyes so I think I am safe from them pecking mine.
They frequently knock into me, or step on my arms, or fly at me or wack me in the head with their wings, or peck at my hands as though I am just another big bird stealing from a feed bag.
When I feed the chooks and peafowl they refuse to move away to their own personal bowls. These are the type of bowl you hook over a gate. One red and one blue. I always fill their bowls first in an attempt to free my arms to work but they ignore their own bowls until the other hens are distracted with food and the pigs have ceased their clamour. And I have finished rattling about in the bags. Then they totter away and balance precariously on the wooden pig gate where their blue and red containers are hooked and eat frantically until from the corners of their dense black eyes they see me move again, then they reel back and fall like fat grubs onto the ground jostling about like keystone cops as they recover their balance and direction and hurry after me. Drunks. Hungry nosy drunks.
These turkeys are not pretty, they do not have the smooth beautiful heads and sloe eyes of the Peafowl. Or bright red combs like the chickens. They do not have a little crown, or special long tails and their eyes are black and oval like the eyes of the martians you see in those old movies, but the turkeys are glossy like brushed blue black horses, and their feathers lay down their backs like well laid roof tiles.
And they are sweet. And strangely appealing.
I hope you have a lovely day.