Surprising Reasons to Adopt a Turkey This Thanksgiving

Farm Sanctuary Turkey Turpentine
© 2014 Farm Sanctuary; courtesy of Farm Sanctuary
Turpentine is just one of the turkeys available for sponsorship "adoption" through Farm Sanctuary.

Industrial turkeys have bigger bodies since they’re selectively bred. According to Coston, a typical wild turkey could be 11 pounds, but these can range from 20 to 27 pounds for females and about 50 for males, even once their diet has been restricted. That means you also need to give them a good amount of space so they are comfortable and don’t feel closed in.

If you’re not a repeat adopter, preparing a shelter can take awhile. Retrofitting an existing barn on your property is easier than setting up a new shelter. Once that’s done, it’s all about understanding care. You need flooring that won’t hurt turkeys’ feet, since the tips are often removed in the industry to keep them from fighting, and you need the right feeders, especially if the turkeys' are debeaked. Also talk with a poultry veterinarian about the proper diet and feeding procedure to help keep your turkeys healthy.

Sponsor a Turkey

Even if you can’t home adopt, you can still make a difference by sponsoring the care of a shelter turkey. With a one-time donation of $30, you get a photo and a certificate telling you about its personality. Coston says you can even visit the turkey you adopt at its shelter.

Either way, you’re helping these amazing birds, who around Thanksgiving may be thought of as just food, but who are, in fact, curious, attention loving, and would enjoy nothing more than following you around or sitting beside you so you can pet them.

“It’s about recognizing an animal that has been unrecognized for so long,” Coston says. “Instead of seeing them in just one way, it’s about seeing them as individuals.”

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