Friday, 5 August 2011

Free-Range Christmas Turkeys, Swallows Eaten by Owl

This morning the turkey poults that the Farmer bought in some weeks ago have been allowed out to roam about and I now have constant backgound chorus of cheerful, if ugly birds, talking turkey in the yard. They are hideous with their naked heads & necks but quite fun to watch as they move in a flock around the yard picking up beetles & other insects.
Molly the sheepdog, however is in deep disgrace as yesterday one of the birds had escaped and she could not resist the tempatation it offered...it had a brief experience of freedom swiftly curtailed by an over active collie who left trail of tell-tale feathers across the yard and was found crunching bones under the climbing frame.
Hopefully the remaining poults will survive until the week before Christmas when they will be quickly dispatched having reached a good weight and will taste superb, thanks to the exercise & diet of creepy-crawlies. Meanwhile we have the dubious pleasure of having them marching around the farm...they can cause havoc in the garden having very big feet, but are quite entertaining with their vocal exercises and defensive posturing & rattling of feathers.

Continuing the avian theme, the Famer has his wood-working workshop in one of the old stables in which for the past 150+ years the swallows have nested  and raised their broods without let or hindrance. However, this year a little owl has moved in and there are no more swallows in the rafters above the workbenches, just some sad little inky blue/black feathers floating around. It seems that the owl found a feasting place with an a la carte menu. While we regret the swallows very much, it is rather pleasing to have an owl lodging in the building so near human activity. There are many more swallows in the other buildings & it will be interesting to see whether next year the hirundines try to recapture their territory from the owls...almost inevitably though, I think the owls will prove the victors.

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