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.

bum leg
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.

odd couple
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.



Your people

06. September 2011 by Silly Human
Categories: Sad Endings | 29 comments

Comments (29)

  1. I reallly enjoyed Persephone Kerfuffle’s story and Too roo, her friend and was so saddened by her inability to stand to even get water and food at the end.
    At least you gave her some good memories and a good life as short as it was.
    I’ve always wanted to get to know a turkey.
    My condolences.


  2. so absolutely sad. do you know of anyone who has successfully made prosthetics for birds?

  3. Aww Tiff. I’m so sorry. She was a very precious girl. I’m so glad you were there to love her.

  4. I cannot begin to tell you how touched I am by your love and compassion. Persy was lucky to have you in her life.

    My condolences.

  5. We loved her too. Rest in peace Miss P.

  6. Wayne (above) expresses my feelings to a T. I’m happy you got to experience some turkey love and became skilled in feather message during your time together.

  7. That is a beautiful story.

  8. I’m sorry to hear she passed away.
    She was a beautiful turkey indeed and she felt so comfortable with you.

    My condolences.

  9. Bye, Persy, your time here was short. I’m glad you were at least happy and cared for during the end of your life.

  10. Oh, Tiff, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for giving this sweet girl such tender care and for sharing her experiences with us. Her happy trilling reminds me of the bubbling noise cavies make when having a conversation. Her time with you may have been short, but you made it the best quality possible.

  11. i’m so sad for you and her and toro. sorry i don’t have anything helpful to say either. xoxox

  12. Enjoy those new legs, Persy 🙂

    Turkeys are surprisingly personable, and lovable, with their soft warm bumpy heads and necks. So affectionate for bumpy dinosaur heads 🙂 Thank you Tiff, for what you do. I know what it feels like to just love them with all your heart even though you know you must lose them. It never gets any easier, does it?

  13. Dear sweet Tiff,

    I though of you off and on all day yesterday, and my heart goes out to you and your gang.

    A herd of wild turkeys shows up round our house from time to time, and I’ll always think of Persy when I see them from now on. If I were to put something out for them, would peas (fresh, frozen?) be a treat? Or should I leave them alone to forage?


    • I’d leave them alone to forage. They are safest if they stay wild and don’t become habituated to humans. Thanks for the thoughts.

  14. Tiff – you are one of my heroes. Your dedication and kindness towards Persy and Toro have touched me greatly. Persy was so lucky, that after a hard start in life, she spent the reminder of her time under your loving care.

  15. Here I just asked you about Pers, not knowing the end was that near. I am so sorry for you & Toro roo. I love my toms that come wandering around my back yard, looking for leftovers from the geese or parrots. They do love to gobble at me when I say good morning to them. They take dust baths in the back yard, roost in the low branches for an afternoon nap & just hang out for a while. You were blessed to get to know Persephone & what a beautiful bird she really was. My sincere sympathy. Laura.

  16. So glad that Persy had you, and really wish she could have stayed longer. Big hugs to you and Toro and your loss.

  17. Oh, poor sweet Persephone. At least she had a wonderful life while she was with you.

  18. I’ve very much enjoyed reading about Persephone. She, no doubt, is looking down from Turkey Heaven right now and saying “thank you” for your love and kindness to her.

  19. very sad story – at least she knew love in her short life – my condolences

  20. So sad to hear about Persy. You gave her a very good life & was very much loved. How is Toro roo dealing w/the loss of his best friend?

  21. Bye Bye Persy.

  22. What a great 2 months that Persy got to have in your back yard, on your lap, cuddling with you. Thanks again Tif for all you do and for making Persy’s life a bit better even if just for a few short months.

  23. you took such good care of this little one. She had such a loving place with you. I am so sorry for your loss.

  24. what a very special relationship you had with her and Toro Roo. This story really touched my heart and i wanted to come back and tell you how much love i felt when i read it. Thank you for your kindness and compassion. What an incredibly seet person you are to care for these dear little innocent souls.

  25. Persy was lucky to have you and vice versa. She was a very assertive, confident turkey who knew exactly what she wanted, and aren’t shy to ask for it. She is a smart, spunky girl.

    Her time was short on this earth because of how humans raise turkeys and see them as food. I blame ourselves and our ancestors for doing so.

  26. Such a sweet girl. She got so big so fast!
    Hugs, Tif. Hang in there.

  27. Turkeys are wonderful!

  28. What a dear Persephone K.! I’ve never gotten to know a turkey, so I especially appreciate your sharing her life with others. Tiffany, thank you for making it such a marvelous one! I hope my dreams are filled with turkey songs . . . .

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