no Gobble Gobbling...
Barbara saves birds from the slaughterhouse
It’s that time of year again. Everyone’s on the hunt for the perfect festive bird. I’m no different. But instead of searching for a plump, juicy turkey to stuff and season, I’m looking for live birds to save.
See, I’m a turkey rescuer, saving these birds from their fowl fate.
It all started in 2010. An animal lover, I’ve always kept cats, dogs and rabbits.
But, next, what I really wanted was some feathered friends...
So I got a chicken from a local farmer.
By March 2011, I had my very own hen party, with five more.
And my flock just grew and grew.
By that December, I had dozens living in my garden. It’s three-quarters of an acre, so they had plenty of space to run around.
‘There are so many more birds that need rescuing, though,’ I told my mates.
So I set up my own charity, called Nut House Hen Rescue and Re-homing.
And, over the next couple of years, I went from hens to saving all sorts of farm animals. Goats, pigs, geese… In December 2013, I rescued my first turkey.
It was just weeks before Christmas and I couldn’t bear the thought of them ending up on a festive dinner table.
So I contacted a local farmer. ‘Have you got any turkeys ready for Christmas?’ I asked. ‘Loads,’ he replied.
It was too late to save some of them. But what about the others?
‘I’m after some that are alive!’ I told him.
A bit taken aback, he agreed to sell me some. I got two bronze birds and named them Merry and Eve, and two white turkeys called Cranberry and Tofu. They really loved staying with me. Turkeys are actually very affectionate and like to be sung to. And they follow me around like dogs. This year, I saved 14 more.
I try to rescue them from farmers at the end of October – before they’re prepped and fattened up for Christmas. Last year, I went to a farmer who had 9,000 turkeys. I bought 22 birds from him. But back home,
I discovered that they were all sick and malnourished. Sadly, most of them died within six months.
It’s made me more determined to help more turkeys, though. I’ve become known as Mama Hen in the local community. I love it, and even had it legally added to my name.
I’m vegetarian and against eating animals. But I know people will still be buying big birds for their Christmas dinner.
My only advice would be to source your turkey from a local farm and try to check the bird’s living conditions. It’ll help you to pick one that’s been treated well. Or perhaps you’ll leave with a live feathered friend... Now, that would be clucking amazing!
They like being sung to, follow me around like dogs!
BREAD SAUCE? GET STUFFED!
SAFELY UNDER MY WING