Goodbye Persephone Kerfuffle
Tonight it was time to say goodbye to Persephone Kerfuffle. Her leg was deformed when she was born, and she possibly also suffered malnutrition in her first weeks. As she grew up, she grew too heavy for her fragile legs and they eventually gave out. She did well for a few weeks getting around without walking or standing, but the past few days she could no longer get to food or water on her own, and she was struggling too much to stay comfortable. So tonight we sadly said goodbye. Here is a little background on her beautiful little life and the big impact she made in such a short time with us.
Oh how I loved this sweet little face from the moment I met her.
Persephone came to us on June 30th along with her little broiler chicken friend, Toro roo. These two little kids were confiscated during a domestic disturbance police call, and I heard later that the owners were charged with animal cruelty. We don’t ever get the full story because of privacy concerns, but I think there were many other animals like cats and dogs confiscated as well.
Persy had a bum leg when she arrived, but she got around so well I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I knew it could be an issue as she grew bigger and heavier. Toro roo was not well when he arrived, so he got most of my attention. He stumbled and fell when he walked, and he ate so much he made himself sick. I did not think he would survive for long.
They were the best of friends when they arrived, and they remained good friends up until the end. Toro is still doing well for now… he can stand and walk a few steps, which means he can get food and water on his own. He is also comfortable and can change positions to stretch when he needs to.
I had never had a turkey before, so I didn’t know what they would be like. Would they be anything like ducks? Or more like chickens? It turns out they are entirely their own special thing. Toro was a little stand-off-ish when he first arrived, but Persy was immediately affectionate and sweet as pie.
While she loved her buddy Toro, she would cry for me every morning to pick her up and snuggle her close. She loved to be very close to my face and to talk with me every morning.
She pressed her face against mine when she missed me, much like a dog will nudge your hand to be petted or a cat will head-butt you to show affection. Persephone would press her face right against mine to show love, especially when she first saw me after I had been at work all day.
As she grew up, her legs unfortunately got worse and worse. The better one wasn’t strong enough to compensate for the bad, twisted leg, and the bad leg was just not good at all.
Near the end of July, Persy’s leg looked really crooked, but she was still light-enough to prance around if she used her wings. I had hope that maybe she wouldn’t gain much more weight, and then she could live a fairly normal life, as long as she could get around enough to be comfortable.
But that wasn’t meant to be.
By the end of the first week in August, Persy was having trouble standing.
Her bum leg just couldn’t take the weight of a growing turkey anymore.
Persy did okay just sitting around for awhile, as long as she could still get up and turn around and get to food and water.
We built her a harness so she could get up off the ground each day for a bit, and stretch her legs well too. She didn’t like it too much, but it was good for stretching. She liked it better once we made it “treat time” and fed her dinner and peas and lettuces and grass in her harness. But during the days she was moving less and less, and having more trouble staying comfortable.
I knew by this past weekend that her time was short, and that it was almost time to say goodbye.
So I spent two full days in the yard with her, all day long. I’ve grown very attached to her in the past two months, and I just wanted to make her last few days as happy and comfortable and peaceful as possible.
She and her best buddy Toro roo rested and napped in the shade on the lawn, along with me and the rest of the flock.
She made happy turkey trilling sounds and enjoyed the long weekend quite a bit.
She was a very bright light and a very sweet soul. I can’t believe I loved her so much in such a short time. Turkeys are smart, a little bit pushy and extremely emotional. They’re sensitive and easily scared, but also extremely lovable. They adore attention and snuggling and petting and sweet talk. They have complex vocalizations and many different sounds with different meanings. They call and expect you to call back, in several different tones.
I loved this kid so much. It breaks my heart to say goodbye, and it makes me so sad that if she had just had two good legs and good nutrition, she could have lived for years. But I know she lived a very good, short life, and I am thankful for that.
Tonight as I fed her some peas before saying goodbye, I promised her that I would take good care of her best buddy, Toro roo. She was a little stressed out, but she ate some peas and listened to me talk. I remembered back to the first time I held her and how grateful she seemed to be held and loved. She was so giving and loving and grateful for her life, and such a joy to be around.
Rest in peace, sweet little girl. I love you so much. You were the best baby turkey ever.