I can somewhat imagine the Circle of Life song playing in the background of this entry. It is unequivocally sad that the first things to be born on our farm are also the first, and so far, only things to die from natural causes.
Our friend Nathan (who is a poultry expert extraordinaire) told us that Henny and her babies should be moved inside to protect them from the cold and illness. After being chased by Henny Penny (see last entry) I came inside and told Joel that A)Henny was crazy B) I guess we should move them inside the barn. When we went back outside Henny was gone. We looked everywhere. We made turkey baby noises. She had vanished.
The next day was long and turkey-less.
The next day while Sansa and I were going on a walk I saw Henny. As I turned around a corner I heard a familiar hiss and looked down to see Henny and only one of the two babies that had hatched. I walked Sansa back to the house and went back to find Henny. She had vanished once more into the tall grass.
A few days later as Joel and I were driving home down our long driveway we saw a group of about 8 wild turkeys. We stopped the car and watched them for a moment, silently comparing them to Henny and Tom. These animals were more streamlined, with brighter plumage. They look more like dinosaurs.
As we continued down the driveway I saw Henny Penny and her baby. I would swear she was looking at the turkeys wistfully. Through the rolled down windows we could hear her making turkey noises. To her babies? To the other turkeys? None of the wild turkeys had babies. I wondered if her baby was keeping her from joining them.
Joel jumped out of the car and I drove back to the house. Nathan had told us that if we grabbed her baby she would follow us into the nest area we had made for her in the barn. Joel grabbed the baby. Henny ran after him but as soon as she got near the barn door she would run off in a different direction. As soon as the baby peeped she would run towards him. As soon as he stopped peeping she would run off in a different direction. We tried over and over again. She refused to enter the barn. We tried herding her. We tried leaving the baby in the room. Finally, Henny just took off running towards the tall grass. Perhaps she thought her baby a lost cause. She didn’t seem to want to come back so we brought the baby out of the barn and gave him back to her. We didn’t know what else to do! We’d tried to get her in that barn for an hour. Henny and the baby ran off into the tall grass peeping at each other.
We didn’t see her ever again. Days later, during morning chores, Joel discovered the baby inside the chicken coop. It was peeping its head off. Did Henny abandon it to live with the wild turkeys? Did a hunter shoot her? Did a coyote eat her? Your guess is as good as mine.
Joel and I tried to save the baby, but he had been without his mom for so long, and we didn’t have any brooder equipment immediately available. He died.
This entry has been difficult for me to write because in many ways I feel like a failure. Even though all our other farm critters are doing well and thriving, I can’t help but feel sad about those small turkeys.