Monday, September 04, 2006

Constable and turkeys

I sketched this cottage during the weekend in watercolour. It is Willy Lott's Cottage near Flatford in Suffolk and is the same cottage that was painted in John Constable's famous painting "The Haywain" in 1821. Flatford Mill was owned by Constable's father and the house on the left side belonged to a neighbour, Willy Lott (a tenant farmer), who was said to have been born in the house and never to have left it for more than four days in his lifetime. Willy Lott's house has survived to this day practically unaltered, but none of the original trees in the painting exist today. The water level is also higher as that area of East Anglia has sunk into the sea by 30cm since Constable's time.

Until a few years ago I had never seen a live turkey except on television or in a photo. When I visited the Liens to purchse my first chickens, I met their turkey. It was a huge tom - a bronze turkey and it filled the doorway of the barn. I've never seen such a large bird before. It wasn't agressive, but it sure was big.

Since then there have been many turkeys in the barn. And so far all have been white turkeys. They are rather interesting creatures and very curious, investigating everything and everyone who enters their pen. They do also have an agressive streak like most birds and if there is an injured bird or any sign of blood they keep attacking. This is what happened to one of the older turkeys. Some pin feathers were pulled in its wing and the bleeding attracted more attention, so it was removed from the pen to provide the bird time to heal before being returned. As a result, the turkey wanders around the barn and out into the yard, exploring its new found world. It makes funny little barking noises, rather like that of a seal or small dog, not the gobble gobble, that people associate with turkeys. Like most animals, their voices change with age and it is 6 months or so before they have their adult voices.

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2 comments:

Mallika said...

Wow. I never knew there were so many different kinds of turkeys -- and I've never even seen a white one before. (I think it's great to learn something new every day!)

Do turkeys get aggressive when you go near them (like some geese) or are they more like ducks and chickens?

The wounded little turkey sounds like so much fun to watch. I hope he (she?) feels better soon. I wonder what he's thinking as he wanders around, checking things out -- "oooh, what have we here? *barkbark*" Heh. :)

Jeanette Jobson said...

They're quite placid but very curious about the world. They are very attracted to shiny things or dangly things so if you go near them with a ring or bracelet on, look out, they peck away at it. Cute when they're tiny but it hurts when they're big!