Sara Jane wants to know if I would consider turkeys. It is true that there are turkeys in our family. (Bob, I didn’t mean it like that.) In fact, my sainted great-grandmother apparently had such affection for her turkey hatchlings that she incubated them in the oven, and when they all ganged up on the littlest one and kicked him out (as baby poultry will do, senseless little things that they are), she just carried him around the house in her apron pocket. Called him Joseph.
So you’d think I might be interested in turkeys. But the thing is, turkeys just aren’t cute. All poultry suffer from their too-close-for-comfort relationship to reptiles. I mean, there is something downright dinosaurish about those scaly legs of theirs, and they have a way of calling after me when they want something that sounds like a tiny dinosaur roar. (I know what you’re thinking. How do I know what a dinosaur sounds like? Hey, I watch movies.)
They have to work to compensate for all that and still come out on the “cute” side. In fact, until I got chickens myself and raised them from babies, I was a little turned off by all that wattle and comb. What is that? There’s something a little menacing about it. On a purely aesthetic level I find the Araucanas a little cuter because they don’t have as much wrinkly red stuff on their face. They’re more like big, friendly birds (yes! Big Bird!), than some vaguely reptilian creature I can’t snuggle up to. (Although, as it turns out, if your raise something from a baby, even a reptile, you can cuddle up to it.)
I just don’t know how I’d cuddle up to a turkey. And they seem so burdened by those big bodies, designed for only one thing, something I’d never allow anyway. A hen can have a very good life without ever becoming someone’s dinner–she can be a wonderful pet, a garden decoration, a consumer of pests and weeds, a provider of eggs–but a turkey? How would I relate to a turkey?
No, what I want is a goat. I love their big brown eyes and their long floppy ears.