Every November, millions of Americans take stock of the things for which they are thankful. This tradition often culminates with the coming together of friends and family to acknowledge their blessings. But, this time of year is a terrifying time for turkeys, because more than 46 million birds will be painfully slaughtered for Thanksgiving.
Yet, even in that dark statistic there is a ray of light: This holiday, 25 lucky “poults,” more commonly thought of as baby turkeys, can thank their lucky stars. These 1-month-old babies recently arrived on the doorstep of Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres shelter in Acton, California. They were dirty, weak and debeaked, an indication that they came from a factory farm. Debeaking is a standard industry practice in which the tip of the bird’s sensitive, nerve-filled beak is removed with either a hot blade or by microwave, both procedures are performed on the baby birds without anesthetic.
Now that they are in Farm Sanctuary’s care, these tiny turkeys are receiving urgently needed medical attention and will never again know the cruelty of factory farming practices. A few of the turkeys have hernias; and they, along with some of the weaker babies, were taken to our Orland Shelter, where they can receive more specialized treatments available at University of California at Davis’ Veterinary Hospital.
And, while these babies had a rough start, with the gentle care and love of our shelter staff they are improving daily. Some are still a little shy of people, but all are playful and curious about their new surroundings.
When the poults make full recoveries, we will seek permanent homes for them through Farm Sanctuary’s Farm Animal Adoption Network. “Turkeys make amazing companion animals. It is so gratifying to help these babies regain their health and prepare them for loving adoptive homes,” explains Farm Sanctuary National Shelter Director Susie Coston. “The more turkeys we can place in safe, happy homes, the more we can make room for other rescued birds.”
If you are able to welcome one of these sweet, intelligent birds into your home, please submit your application online. You can also help these baby turkeys, and all farm animals in need, by sponsoring a turkey this year through our Adopt-A-Turkey Project.