Milly and Margo were not slated to join the more than 46 million turkeys slaughtered for Thanksgiving each year in the United States, but the autumn chill still brought with it a grim fate for their small flock. Milly and Margo were to be killed merely for being “too old.” Thanks to a kind friend, however, they now have many years left to enjoy.
Milly and Margo were among four Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys being raised by a Western New York farmer. He slaughtered one turkey for food, and the other died of natural causes. The farmer considered Milly and Margo to be too old for food, but he had no interest in caring for them so he planned to kill them instead. An SPCA worker in the area named Misty heard about of the turkeys’ predicament and stepped in and persuaded the farmer to give the pair to her instead.
Misty already provides a home for companion chickens and a rescued goat, but she realized that she was not equipped to care for industrial-breed turkeys. Like the more common Broad Breasted White breed, Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys have been selectively bred to rapidly grow to an unnatural size. The strain this excessive weight places on their bodies can cause a number of debilitating heart, leg, and foot ailments, including swollen joints, foot sores, and lameness. Nonetheless, if they receive expert care and accommodations specially suited to their needs, rescued industrial turkeys can lead happy, active lives for many years.
Misty began looking for a home for Milly and Margo. When she asked folks in her area for ideas, several suggested that she kill the turkeys instead, which, for her, clearly was not an option. Eventually, she got in touch with Farm Sanctuary. To her delight, we gladly offered the turkeys a home at our New York Shelter.
Milly and Margo are shy but very sweet. We look forward to getting to know these intelligent birds as they settle into their new lives with us. Once they have a clean bill of health, they will join our very social flock of fellow rescued turkeys. Thanks to their rescuer’s act of compassion, not only were Milly and Margo alive this Thanksgiving season, but they lived it up at our annual Celebration for the Turkeys, where they, along with all of their friends, were the guests of honor and enjoyed a delicious holiday feast.