Arkansas Town VS. Classic Sitcom - Who's Correct?
October 7, 2011 5:02 PM   Subscribe

That WKRP episode was hilarious. I wonder how the rest hold up.
posted by Splunge at 5:06 PM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]

Editorializing: Is there no limit to which some Red Staters will deny simple Science? Turkeys are NOT aerodynamic. But apparently they even have the AP and WaPo spreading the mythology about "letting wild turkeys fall from low-flying airplanes as spectators watched them glide to the ground". Is 'glide' the new PC word for PLUMMET? This is no way to treat turkeys... unless Arkansas-based Tyson Foods is buying the crashed birds to make Turkey Burgers.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:07 PM on October 7, 2011

posted by Splunge at 5:08 PM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

Admittedly, this is the very first thing I thought of when when I saw the dinosaur/turkey thread.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:10 PM on October 7, 2011

Real (that is, wild) turkeys absolutely can fly. Neither very far nor very high, but, yep. They fly.

Dropping them from planes, though, is pretty fucked up.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:12 PM on October 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

That WKRP episode was hilarious. I wonder how the rest hold up.

Most of them are pretty good. Some are excellent.
posted by jonmc at 5:16 PM on October 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

Most of WKRP does hold up well over the years, and the first season is available on Hulu. If you can, check out "A Commercial Break" where they make a radio ad for a funeral home (with jingle!) and "A Fish Story" where the station mascot, "the KaRP", has a confrontation with W-PIG's mascot. (We West-Coasters all know that K-PIG would never act like that)
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:19 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

My turkeys. My aerodynamic turkeys. Let me tell you about them.

I wanted turkeys because I was jealous of a friend's home-raised 34-pound Thanksgiving dinner, and because my husband and I already had chickens, and, you know, because how hard could it be? They'd strut around all day, preening and looking like those cheesy wall decorations from grade school. They'd stand there, being turkeys, but--saved from a factory life--they'd gratefully peck at scratch and entertain me with their adorable gobbles. Then I'd find someone to cut their heads off and then we'd have dinner, the end. Turkeys! Badass!

In fact, NO.

My nine birds (six Royal Palms and three Narragansetts) eat, poop copiously, roost on the fence and in the trees, and visit the neighbor's front door first thing in the morning. Because, hooray, THEY CAN FLY. Unlike their factory-raised brethren, these heritage turkeys have a lot of room to move around and have retained their ability to clear a six-foot fence, which we had deemed high enough to keep them in. It sags these days because the birds sleep on it at night and they wake up and they're like, "Hey, I don't see any fence, let's go to Denny's!" And they're off. I walk out at about 6:45 a.m. and round them up out of the grapes or the barnyard or off the roof of the truck, and walk behind them in a forward-moving arc, swooping left then right to drive them toward the pen door, all the while saying "Turkeys, GO FASTER. I need my coffee!" They oblige. I go inside and have coffee. They've escaped again before I finish my first cup. The second or third round, they've made it clear up to the barnyard, and they're menacing the chickens. I stand by the open pen door and yell, "TURKEYS! Get in here!" And because they run downhill, they take to the air, and I am surrounded by a whoosh of flying turkeys as they round me, and the corner, and go back in their fenced accommodations.

Now you're asking me why I don't just clip their wings on one side, which would be a great idea if not for my dog. My bird-rustling, turkey-killing dog, who snatches them out of the air like so many Frisbees. Recently, he dug his way into the pen--twice--and if the birds hadn't flown the coop, they would have been dead meat. (As an aside, I mean that literally: they escaped by flying on top of the coop and over the fence. I used to have 10 turkeys until the pain-in-the-ass dog snuck an early Thanksgiving dinner. All that was left afterwards was a single, scaly claw.) The turkey pen is, for various reasons which seemed good at the time, close to the barn and is within the dog's territory, so the birds see the dog EVERY DAY. He has chased them, harassed them, chewed on them, and STILL they randomly decide that they're going to break out and go smoke ciggies behind the barn, and suddenly I hear barking and a great gobbling, and there I am again, running outside, shouting "GODDAMMIT, OFF! NO EATING THE TURKEYS, DOG! FUCKING DOG, OFF THE TURKEYS!" I put the dog in his crate and I herd the turkeys in, and they look at me evilly, like, "You're not the boss of us, nuh-uh. Ooooh, look shiny object full of water, quick, over there!" Not much brain there. So I won't feel quite as bad about cutting their heads off.

Because yeah, there's one old guy in the area who will process turkeys. Or so we hear. He might be dead or in a home by now. So, most likely, I'll be standing outside in my blaze orange coveralls holding my turkeys' feet as my husband wields the ax. If he shoots them instead, I'll be the one gathering up the carcases and learning, in a hurry, how to pluck and de-gizzard them. All nine of them. All *he* can talk about is building a flight pen next time around. Next time? Oh my God, I'll be lucky if I make it to Thanksgiving with my sanity. Because every time I walk past the pen, I obsessively count to nine in waltz-time, in groups of three, to reassure myself they're all accounted for; I slip on turkey poop outside the front door; I see them driven before me and hear the lamentation of their gobbles; I run hell for leather through the pasture in my Crocs and jammies, trying to save the hindmost bird from the dog's jaws. This is the new normal.

And that's what happens when you turn around to your husband, with envy in your heart and no foresight in your mind, and say "TURKEYS. I MUST HAVE THEM!"
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:21 PM on October 7, 2011 [431 favorites]

I once saw a turkey fly, across the road, 5 ft of altitude, into the front of an SUV going 50 miles an hour. Plastic explosive in the middle of a pile of 100 down pillows wouldn't have been more impressive.

And yes, that episode of WKRP is a classic...
posted by HuronBob at 5:25 PM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

MetaFilter: "Hey, I don't see any fence, let's go to Denny's!"
posted by Splunge at 5:25 PM on October 7, 2011 [14 favorites]

My totally true turkey story. (self-link)
posted by cjorgensen at 5:31 PM on October 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

I don't see why this is such a big deal that they are diverting FAA resources.
posted by jellywerker at 5:31 PM on October 7, 2011

WKRP was not consistently funny, but it captured workplace dynamics better than any other television show I've seen. The best gags revolved around the steps eccentric people take in order to get along with each other. The turkey episode certainly was an effective riff on the way something really dumb will come out of an office without anyone stopping to question the basic premise.
posted by texorama at 5:35 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

You would change your mind if a turkey landed on your head or the jackass crashed a low flying plane into your crapper.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:36 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

MonkeyToes: My wife and I can help you eat them.
posted by wobh at 5:42 PM on October 7, 2011

...Lunsford says he’s seen video of a turkey falling straight down and bouncing off the roof of a building.

Roger Vickers, the sheriff in Marion County, told the newspaper that some turkeys do get hurt, “but that’s going to happen with anything.”

“It depends on what they fly into,” he said.
Seriously? <face slap for sherrif nincompoop>
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 5:43 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

So why don't PETA supporters offer to take the place of the wild turkeys? Seems the right thing to do.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:45 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

And the theme song must be the Lacy J Dalton classic.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:48 PM on October 7, 2011

Most of WKRP does hold up well over the years, and the first season is available on Hulu.

Unfortunately, it's hard for contemporary viewers to judge the original episodes completely on their own merits because of the changes , including dialogue re-dubs, necessitated by WKRP in Cincinnati's music licensing issues.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 5:52 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I knew a guy who raised heritage turkeys a couple of decades back. The first year, they had trouble with a local cat, which kept getting over the fence and taking chicks. Winter came, and the cat went off somewhere, and life went on. Eventually spring came. The guy was sitting in a room overlooking the turkey run when the cat came back. The guy said "I learned several things that day. First, wild turkeys have long memories. Second, an adult turkey can run faster than a cat." Apparently, he had been treated to the sight of the cat running full out, hemmed in and paced by a pair of turkey taking turns pecking the dickens out of it. He said "Eventually, it made the fence, but I have never seen a more unhappy-looking cat."

So, cats, you know, be careful out there.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:55 PM on October 7, 2011 [19 favorites]

Ugh, who cares? It couldn't possibly be worse then cutting their heads off and then eating them.
posted by delmoi at 6:06 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hahaha oh my god "but that's going to happen with anything" is like the dumbest quote I've ever read in a news article.
posted by palidor at 6:12 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think he meant "but that's going to happen with anything YOU THROW OUT OF A PLANE WITHOUT A PARACHUTE."
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:15 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Delmoi, why are you doing such horrible things to your cats?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:18 PM on October 7, 2011 [8 favorites]

posted by Sticherbeast at 6:18 PM on October 7, 2011

The article is better if you read all the quotes by the turkey drop fans in the voice of that hick from The Simpsons.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:22 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Turkey drop and then some donkey basketball. Round out the rural animal misery.
posted by oflinkey at 6:22 PM on October 7, 2011

Turkeys in flight.
posted by event at 6:48 PM on October 7, 2011

I would prefer to enjoy WKRP episodes exclusively in my memory now, because I can't bear to face the hack job they did to remove the music and references to lyrics in the dialogue. But that would mean not seeing Bailey Quarters again, which would be a fate far, far worse than death.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:51 PM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

posted by Splunge at 6:08 PM on October 7 [+] [!]

sorry, best I could do
posted by swell at 6:59 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

I had the misfortune of startling a fully grown* wild turkey once; it was about the size of a male golden retriever, maybe 45-50 pounds. It did not so much "fly" as "leaped-at-me-like-a-MFing-Alien-alien" while emitting a a piercing warbling scream that I will take with me to my grave.

Beautiful creature though. I fully understand Ben Franklin's respect for these birds. It's amazing how much more majestic they look compared to their pale albino domesticated cousins.

Crap, now I'm going to have nightmares of wild turkeys liberating battery turkey farms, then enslaving their weak cousins to act as shock troops as they wage war on humanity.

*at least I hope that's as large as they get
posted by porpoise at 7:01 PM on October 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

Never in my life, as a child or as an adult, have I seen my father so utterly helpless with laughter as when I was a kid and we were watching that episode. He has a great sense of humor, but it's more frequently expressed with a single, sharp bark of laughter, or a wry grin. He's just not the belly-laugh type.

My mother was terrfied. She thought he was having an aneurism or nervous breakdown. Then came the clincher, "With god as my witness..."

And then she lost it, too. I was laughing along, but it was the nervous laughter of a kid who's convinced us kids would have to go live with Uncle John and Aunt Laura after they shipped our folks off to the funny farm.

As an adult, I re-watched it with cynical skepticism. It was the '70s, TV sucked, it was probably as funny as a Rich Little sketch - which was to say, not at all.

"Oh, the humanity!"

If you haven't seen it, it will be the single funniest thing you see on YouTube today, guaranteed. A sterling high-point of television.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:05 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

(But only the full episode, the montage posted in the FPP kinda sucked.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:10 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are many great WKRP episodes.

Scum of the Earth

The Dayton Poisoner

Little Ed Pembrook

Rip Tide

The Tornado

The one where Herb escapes from the hospital and hides out in a movie theater showing 3D German porno

Dropping live turkeys out of a plane? Not so much.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:18 PM on October 7, 2011

Here is an unauthorized (but easily Google-able) copy of the classic clip in its whole, but be forewarned, it is on an Italian website that probably gives kickbacks to Berlusconi.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:23 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ideefixe: "So why don't PETA supporters offer to take the place of the wild turkeys? Seems the right thing to do."

And they should do it naked. NAKED!
posted by Splunge at 7:27 PM on October 7, 2011

George_Spiggott: "I would prefer to enjoy WKRP episodes exclusively in my memory now, because I can't bear to face the hack job they did to remove the music and references to lyrics in the dialogue. But that would mean not seeing Bailey Quarters again, which would be a fate far, far worse than death."

What ever happened to Bailey?
posted by Splunge at 7:29 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

In case anyone's curious, you actually are allowed to drop things out of airplanes provided they don't provide a danger to people on the ground. I imagine the FAA will be going after the perps with the catch-all "flying dangerously" clause.

Boston has had an infestation of wild turkeys, particularly in the Brookline area. A bunch of people have been assaulted by them - apparently they're not very temperamental creatures. There is also, ironically enough, a large flock of them living near the Air Force Base and I get to see them strutting around on my way to work. Never considering capturing them and dropping them from altitude, though.

All in all, I think this whole event is pretty fowl.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:30 PM on October 7, 2011

MY favorite WKRP episode was about music censorship. Johnny Fever did a great, George Carlin-esque bit about old ladies in a church basement playing records slower and sloooower until they heard a dirty word.

My cousin's husband is a recreational aviator. They don't drop turkeys, but they do do this thing called the Damariscotta Pumpkin Drop. They load up a pumpkin, get some coordinates, and fly over a spot in Maine. Different plane crews compete to see who can drop the pumpkin the closest to the coordinates. He's Egyptian, and the first time he told us about it, we thought he was saying "Bumpkin Drop." Which would have been more grisly.

Even though we eat the turkeys anyway, there's another layer of entertainment-based cruelty here that I'm not all that enthused with. An axe to the neck is pretty quick and clean compared with several hundred feet of panicked, helpless freefall. Given the choice, I think I know which I'd take.
posted by Miko at 7:41 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

My parents used to have a flock of wild turkeys that would visit their back yard, one place they lived. They had a number of bird feeders, and the turkeys would come around to clean up after the blue jays, who would arrive for a late breakfast, bully and chase all the smaller birds away, and proceed to eat super-messily and scatter random seed all over the place.

A large kitten/small cat also lived in their neighborhood. It had been abandoned the year before by the students who had rented the house across the street, and taken in my their next-door neighbor. My father dubbed the cat "Killer", 'cause it wasn't, although it liked to think it was. One of the events contributing to Killer earning his name was the following.

One late morning, the turkeys were on their usual clean-up duty, when Killer decided he'd stalk up on them and take one down. So he slinks up, veeerrryyy slowly, crouched low to the ground, so that his black and white fur would somehow blend in or be hidden amongst the 2-inch-high green grass. The turkeys kind of glance over, notice this little creature that's maybe 1/30th their size - maybe (turkeys are big), and aren't too concerned. But when Killer gets close enough, they kind of shuffle a short bit down the yard (having pecked the area they were working on clean of seeds anyways).

Killer continues to creep and stalk toward them, and the turkeys continue to nonchalantly, even contemptuously, shuffle and peck their way down the yard. Eventually they get to the end of the yard - no more seeds, loose line of trees separating the next yard. Finished for the day, the turkeys take off and fly away. Apparently, if cats were capable of staring with jaw agape, this kitten would have been. It was completely shocked and surprised that it's quarry just up and flew away.
posted by eviemath at 7:43 PM on October 7, 2011 [7 favorites]

My earlier turkey comment.

"God's own truth, as I was catching up my turkeys last saturday morning, the last three pushed open the door to the pen and took flight over the electric fence, out of the pasture, over the pumpkin patch, over the deer fence, settled comfortably about 40' up in the treeline a half mile away.

Heritage birds don't need pardoned."

I also still have the physical scars from catching turkeys that day (to go with the financial scar of watching $300 fly away). Turkeys are big, strong birds. And, for those of you taking care of your own turkeys, don't use an ax. Use an upside-down traffic cone to contain and calm the bird and slit the jugular. Plus, you don't have to try and wrestle with said 40-lb animal as it thrashes about sans head.

On topic, this a pointlessly cruel and asinine act. It's an act of breathtaking stupidity that only someone dumb enough to voluntarily share a cockpit with a pissed-off wild turkey could possibly consider a good idea.
posted by stet at 7:56 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Splunge, that story has no citations except a dead link to the National Enquirer, itself dead and not exactly known for honest reporting even when it was alive. There is a comment ostensibly from Ms. Smithers on Monsters and Critics (google it yourself, I'm not inclined to perpetuate this stuff with links) in which she [?] denies it in a pretty even-tempered and not entirely ill-humored way.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:00 PM on October 7, 2011

Venus Explains the Atom has always been one of my favorite bits, but trying to watch an entire show now, sans proper music, is depressing.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:19 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Well, boo, that clip left off the best part at the end. Here's the whole thing.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:36 PM on October 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

An apartment complex I lived in a few years ago in the middle of the City of Buffalo had a wild turkey who presided over the parking lot. He would perch on the top of the parking garage (not very high, as it was recessed), preen, and strut about the cars in the long, thin lot. I felt like I needed to keep my car especially clean because of him. He was lovely, and never hurt or attacked anyone, but he would sometimes stand in the middle of the one-way exit drive and consider the larger meanings of the universe while a car was trying to leave. Everyone always waited patiently for the master, though.
posted by oflinkey at 9:17 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

A turkey made me crash my boyfriend's car. Since turkeys should not randomly show up in the middle of the street in Somerville MA, clearly this turkey was brought back in time by one of us. You see, in the original timeline, something terrible happened that could only have been prevented by the absence of the car. So, when the surviving one of us figured this out, s/he came back in time and put the turkey in the middle of the road, preventing disaster.

We have a picture of this time travelling turkey. I don't know if the turkey could fly, but I know he can travel through time..

(No turkeys or people were harmed in this incident, just a right front tire and my pride).
posted by nat at 9:33 PM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]

Nature finds a way.
posted by biffa at 12:49 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

to get dropped out of a fucking airplane
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:05 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

You're no better than a turkey dropper sitting over a thanksgiving dinner
posted by Cerulean at 6:28 AM on October 8, 2011

Hey George_Spiggott, I'm still here, just too shy to use my full name!! Ha.
posted by bquarters at 6:35 AM on October 8, 2011

So, how many of the turkeys get hurt?
posted by michaelh at 7:44 AM on October 8, 2011

Boston has had an infestation of wild turkeys, particularly in the Brookline area. A bunch of people have been assaulted by them - apparently they're not very temperamental creatures.

I got chased by the Brookline turkeys once. They were much bigger than I'd expected, and faster, and menacing. There were about 6 of them and they were following my down the damn sidewalk, and I kept on walking faster and faster and they kept speeding up behind me.... If they'd taken to the air I probably would have given up and simply cowered in fear.
posted by ubersturm at 8:40 AM on October 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

That WKRP episode was hilarious. I wonder how the rest hold up.

WKRP is one of my favorite all-time shows. They hold up better than I thought they will. And I still have a crush on Bailey.

As for turkeys - wild turkeys are exceptional flyers, but they stick low to the ground and in the trees. Throwing them out of planes is sick.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:58 AM on October 8, 2011

I strongly recommend people check out My Life as a Turkey. It is a weirdly cool documentary.
posted by srboisvert at 10:33 AM on October 8, 2011

Here are a couple things on the topic from Little Rock's alt-weekly's blog.
posted by box at 10:41 AM on October 8, 2011

monkeytoes, your comment is one of the most awesome pieces of writing that I have ever read. THANK YOU.
posted by davidmsc at 12:34 PM on October 8, 2011

People keep telling me that the wild turkeys around here don't actually taste good. Too tough or gamey or something. Could that possibly be true?
posted by small_ruminant at 2:41 PM on October 8, 2011

People keep telling me that the wild turkeys around here don't actually taste good. Too tough or gamey or something. Could that possibly be true?

I can't speak for the turkeys where you are, but my experience has been that people say this about every kind of wild meat. People have grown really used to meat that doesn't taste like much of anythng. Even grass-fed or farm-finished meats taste "too strong' to a lot of people. I haven't eaten a wild turkey, so I just can't say for sure, but I ate a heritage breed farm-finished turkey and it was richer, oilier, and 'gamier' than other birds - but it was also deeeelicious, with a pronounced turkey flavor.
posted by Miko at 4:51 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lots of wild turkeys around here. Not the bourbon kind, but the bird kind. Annoying birds. They fly. Or at least I assume they do as I have seen them in trees although never actually going from the ground to the trees. In suburbia, there are laws against shooting the turkeys and the over aggressive deer around here too. Too bad.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:38 PM on October 8, 2011

Wild turkeys can fly, but not very well and not very far. They fly in short bursts, to get to and from roosts as you've noticed, and to get out of trouble. But they don't take to the sky in long travels like geese.
posted by Miko at 6:49 PM on October 8, 2011

There is (or used to be, I haven't been there for years) a flock of wild turkeys at South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island. I saw them a couple of times and was totally charmed. Wild life! In New York City! But they cornered a co-worker of mine and scared the crap out if him. They're big birds.
posted by Mavri at 7:06 PM on October 8, 2011

People keep telling me that the wild turkeys around here don't actually taste good. Too tough or gamey or something. Could that possibly be true?

My cousin the hunter bagged a wild turkey last year for Thanksgiving. It tasted pretty much the same as the farm-raised turkey, as far as I could tell.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:09 AM on October 9, 2011

One of the most humiliating experiences of my life involved a flock of wild turkeys. (Well, they added insult to injury, anyway.)

In my first job out of college, I was, for a few months, the marketing manager for a small theater in the Boston suburbs. That year, the theater was putting on A Christmas Story around the holidays, and someone thought it would be a great idea to buy a bunch of leg lamps and rotate them around the nearby towns with a drawing for the lamps to promote the show. The raffle was a miserable failure from the get-go (I'd often pick up drawing boxes with only one or two entries) but weeks and weeks of the promotion had already been scheduled in local businesses, so I was stuck shlepping leg lamps all around the northwestern suburbs in the onset of a Boston winter for no apparent purpose.

On the last day of the promotion, I went out to the furthest location from my home base in Cambridge to retrieve the last leg lamp. It was the end of the work day, the sun was setting, I had already picked up three other lamps, and the last one was at an insurance agency. I parked my car, walked up a footpath, and around the corner of the building to its entrance. There was one person left at the office to hand off the lamp and the (empty) entry box, and, having done his duty, he locked the door behind me and disappeared.

When I turned the corner of the building to head back to my car, massive leg lamp in hand, there they were. Three huge wild turkeys, conveniently blocking the only path. I was stuck. I knew turkeys could be aggressive, and they outnumbered me (besides being unencumbered by leg lamps). The building behind me was locked (and was alone on this stretch of road), and attempting to go around the turkeys would either put me in the road on my left which had blind curves approaching from both directions, or, to my right, into a ravine.

So I waited. For forty-five minutes. The turkeys pecked at the ground, and glared at me if I so much as stepped in their direction. Until, finally, they were done, and they flew off into the ravine.

That was the day I decided that I was moving to New York.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:36 PM on October 9, 2011 [12 favorites]

MonkeyToes, where can I read more of what you write?!
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:12 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I got chased by the Brookline turkeys once. They were much bigger than I'd expected, and faster, and menacing.

Not surprising, since they might be the descendants of dinosaurs like the velociraptor. Or maybe not

Either way, I always think of that last link when I see those gigantic ass wild turkeys wandering the mean streets of the city.
posted by canine epigram at 11:31 PM on October 14, 2011

MonkeyToes, for the record, my wife and I have the exact same experience as you with our turkeys this year. Here's our solution. We got 120 feet of electromesh fencing, a 25x25 foot piece of bird netting off Amazon to lie on top of the pen, and a bunch of beer. As of a couple of weeks ago, having gotten sick of finding the goddamned birds on the hundreds of acres of woodlands that surround our home, we put the birds in the pen (where they'll fatten up better, anyhow), keep them in with that bird netting, and give them pans full of beer to keep them drunk and happy. They're fattening up on cheap beer, they're liquored up enough that they don't care that they're in a pen, and my very pregnant wife no longer has to herd our little flock of eight turkey half a mile up our mountainside. Everybody wins. Except the turkeys, as of the day before Thanksgiving, when we'll slit their throats without an ounce of regret.
posted by waldo at 7:18 PM on October 22, 2011

For those of you playing along at home, an update. Sometime during the sixth escape of the morning I saw what I must have looked like to the neighbors: a tiny woman using her zip hoodie as a matador's cape, swearing and driving the little flock of turkeys into their pen OVER AND OVER AND OVER. If this were a relationship, folks over on the green would be saying "DTMF (Flock) A" and telling me that something had to change. So I herded them under the coop, blocked off their escape routes and built a low flight pen out of T-posts, hog panels, bird netting and eleventy billion zip ties. It wasn't pretty, but it worked. When my husband came home that day, looked at the pen, looked at me and said, "You get a lot done when you're pissed off."

And everything magically got better. I could let the dog out without worrying. I could finish my cup and coffee and then go throw my turkeys some scratch. Best of all, I could drive away and come back and the turkeys would be exactly where I left them. Yay, me!

This morning, it snowed. It snowed on the netting I had carefully zip tied together. I watched as the middle of the netting--on three separate sides of the coop mind you--bowed lowed and lower until finally it all ripped apart and the turkeys glimpsed freedom. So after I finished swearing for a bit, I told my husband that we had to catch the turkeys and put them inside the coop so they'd be protected from the snow, and so we could repair the pen tomorrow without worrying about where the turkeys were. There is no greater test of a marriage than when you know you are right, and your spouse's plan (involving straw bales and chalk boards and power tools in a steadily blowing snow) is wrong and you still sigh and go along with it. In short, bale fail, loose turkeys and my husband standing there saying, "Well, do you have a better plan?" And I said, "YES, WHY DON'T WE PUT THE TURKEYS IN THEIR COOP?"

Which meant that I ended up crawling under the coop in the mud and the shit and the snow, and driving the turkeys into the far corner and, one by one, catching them by their legs, tucking them under my arm while belly-crawling out from under and getting to my feet with increasingly angry birds and gently tossing them inside their new digs. Nine times. With my husband standing there doing door duty. When we were finished, and he shut the door on the ninth turkey, he said "See? This is the fun part of farm life!"
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:51 AM on October 29, 2011 [7 favorites]

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