Crisis management

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My turkeys and my husband have something in common: they’re all middle-aged. The birds are exactly three months old, putting them squarely at the three-fifths mark of their lifespan. Because Kevin’s execution isn’t scheduled, we can’t predict his demise with the same precision, but supposing he’s three-fifths of the way through an 83-year lifespan would not be unreasonable.

Drumstick at the three-fifths mark

So it’s mid-life crisis all around. The turkey version consists primarily of insecurity. When we go into the turkey pen, the alpha male, Drumstick, seems determined to prove that he’s a force to be reckoned with. He fluffs himself up and fans out his tail and makes a low clucking sound that he seems to think is menacing.

Kevin, not one to be deterred by the displays of other males, refuses to take him seriously. “Dude,” he says to Drumstick, “you’re not scary.” He gets right in the poor bird’s face, puts his arms up like wings, glares, and clucks.

Any turkey with self-esteem would realize that Kevin’s just baiting him, but not Drumstick. He takes the bait. He fluffs up even more, and paces around in front of Kevin, compelled to flaunt his mid-life manhood.

The other two males, Beta and Gamma, are even worse. They hide behind Drumstick, unable to muster the wherewithal to put on a show. Our one hen, Edith, is only a bystander to these proceedings until Kevin uses her as a pawn in his little alpha-male game.

“Hey, Drumstick,” he says, as he scoops up Edith. “I’ve got your girl.”

One of the interesting things about keeping livestock is that you get to see, up close, what we humans have in common with other species. Maleness is maleness, whether it has feathers and wattles or free will and opposable thumbs.

While there’s an element of display in Kevin’s mid-life crisis (“Hey baby!” he says to me in his best he-man voice as he flexes his biceps, “Are you coming to the gun show?”), that’s just window dressing for the real issue. Last week, in an attempt to recapture the glory of his youth on Long Island, he bought a surfboard.

It’s not a Maserati or a stripper, so I’m okay with it.

I’m just about at the three-fifths mark myself, so I figure I’m entitled to my own mid-life crisis any day now. If I get to pick, I want a month in Provence.

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Comments

  1. Howling with laughter here – so funny!

    A month in Provence sounds good … or just about anywhere in France (or Italy) really.

  2. Go quick or you’ll have to wait till next year – Sept is waning. The veg season is almost over even in Provence.

  3. I burst out laughing at Kevin’s gun show comment. Here Mike flexes his muscles and tells me “You better call the vet ’cause these pythons are SICK!”. It sounds even less convincing in a British accent. I don’t know where he picks these things up. Is it genetic? I’ll spare you the description of Mike’s ‘I just got out of the shower’ dance but I’m betting Kevin has one of those too.

    I’ve also noticed that male dominance is not species specific, but that’s the funniest observation of it that I’ve ever read.

  4. Jen,I must humbly request of your most honorable husband, the license to use “you better call the vet”. on this side of the pond. I will of course allow Mike reciprocal usage of “the gun show” all such nonsense being banned should we pay a visit to the UK.

  5. I’m cuh-rying! This conversation has reminded me of every ‘I just got out of the shower’ dance I’ve witnessed my husband do, although, honestly, he’s warmer BEFORE he gets in the shower so he’s more likely to dance then. He is certainly more entertaining then, being warmer then, if you know what I mean. Being fairly long-limbed, he’s smart enough not to succumb to the lunacy of calling attention to his, cough, biceps, but he’s not past flexing his pecs at the dinner table, which is hardly the place for that.

    I love the fact that our males keep us entertained, even if it is in a goofy way sometimes. The question is, do turkey hens find turkey cocks just as funny, and is that what’s really attractive about them?

  6. BWahahahahahaha! Love the stories. In the wild, I love how the toms strut around all puffed up with the “Look at me….I’m a pretty bird” attitude and the hens are all like “Whatever Dude. There are some really nice seeds to eat over here.”

    My midlife crisis involves eating and drinking my way across Italy. Off in three more years!

  7. I raise narragansette turkeys and ISA Brown chickens. Because the turkeys have a date with the butcher I dont name them. I am keeping a tom and 2 hens for breeding and they may get named. I am totally hooked on poultry and I think I need a 12 step program.