Don’t Name Them


I just got off the phone with my friend Troy. Like many people who have moved to rural areas from more urban environments he purchased some livestock. In his case not only did he get the typical small flock of chickens, but also a pair of turkeys. These turkeys flourished under his careful care until they were too big to get through the coop door. When he told me he was having to shove them in for the night, I mentioned that that might be a sign that they were ready to butcher. A few days later his wife gave me an account of how he went out that night with a chainsaw and enlarged the poultry door for them. A few months later I stopped by his place and saw firsthand what monstrosities these birds had become. They were huge; at least thirty pounds apiece. He didn’t say much when I mentioned that he and his wife sure would be eating good this Thanksgiving. A few days later one of the monsters was killed by a skunk or weasel and he was upset. I figured it was the same kind of concern I get for our surviving birds when a predator has breached our livestock defenses, and gave him some advice on fencing. During the call I just received he asked if I could help him with a problem he was having with his turkey. With Thanksgiving approaching, I figured he was having problems figuratively “pulling the trigger.” This isn’t uncommon even for hardened lifelong ranchers. Every fall, me or another of our hunting crew had to kill our friend’s steer that he butchered every fall, and this man grew up ranching. I offered to go over to Troy’s place and put the bird down for him. He thanked me but said he had grown so attached he didn’t think he could even eat it. Turkey-Lurky is being delivered as I type this. We will keep him penned in the spare goat pen until thanksgiving, when his named will be shortened to just Turkey.

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Published in: on November 2, 2010 at 7:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Oh yeah. The dreaded name. We have two cows: JoAnna and Grasshopper. These two cows will never be eaten. At least not by us. I’m sure that when their time comes, they will be 30 years old and will go via the hand of a trained vet who will promptly send us a bill for $2,000 for all of the life-sustaining treatment these animals are receiving.

    Yes sir. Naming animals is a bad thing if you plan on eating them eventually.


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