Sunday, November 27, 2011

Moving Day

The turkeys were up very early on Sunday morning.  They knew it was moving day, and were excited and in some cases a bit worried.  Lemuel was happy to be headed somewhere they would be safe, but concerned because he’d spent all his adult life here at Bart’s farm.  Tiffany was so excited she’d thrown up her breakfast.  Courtney decided that was just as well, as it was better than throwing up in the back of Bart’s truck.  Courtney’s worry was about the truck It was pretty good sized, but she was afraid someone might step on Tiffany if it bounced around the streets like it did driving on the farm. 

Lemuel had walked the perimeter of the run at sunup, saying good-bye to his home.  He looked wistfully towards Val’s property, hoping to see Kid one last time, but she was nowhere in sight.  He sighed and headed back to the coop.  Maria was just unlatching the gate into the run.  “Good morning, all.  I have some great news for you.  I was worried about you all traveling in the back of Dad’s pickup, even if he did put a tarp over the top, so I got a friend of mine to lend us his truck for the morning.  Now don’t laugh when you see it.  It used to be a promotional truck, but he got a real job, and it’s just been sitting around in his back yard.  He and his family are going to help with the move.  I think it’ll be better if Dad doesn’t go with us.  Is everyone ready?”

She picked up a dog crate that she’d put down when she had opened the gate.  “This is for Tiffany.  I want to make sure she gets there safely, and there is too much of a chance that she’ll get squished by an adult if she’d just with the rest of you.”  Courtney, who’d stuck her head out of the broody coop was glad to hear that.  One worry taken care of. 

Just then a big yellow and blue truck pulled through the gate from the front of the farm.  It slowly drove towards them, and when it stopped five people piled out – two adult humans and three human children.  Maria introduced them to the turkeys and explained that this would be their transportation.  The man got back into the truck and backed it up to the gate. 

Sheila called out to the hens, “Everyone on their best behavior.  No fighting or trying to escape.  If we don’t go to this new place we end up as turkey dinner, so cooperate!”  The hens settled down and formed an orderly queue at the gate.  Maria looked at her friends, who stood there with their mouths open.  It was as if the turkeys understood what was going on, but of course, they couldn’t. 

One by one, the turkeys were carefully picked up and handed into the truck, where an area had been fenced in for them with chicken wire.  Tiffany was placed carefully in the crate and carried into the truck.  As the last few turkeys waited to be carried in, Lemuel heard Kid calling his name.  He turned, and saw her standing under the truck.  He moved closer and said, “Oh, I hoped I’d see you before we left.  Isn’t this a nifty truck they have for us?  I feel like we’re in a circus or something.  I’m going to miss you, Kid, but I’ll tell every animal I see to send Emma an email and say how we’re doing.  You’ve been such a good friend to me.”

Kid smiled.  “You’re my best friend, you old tom turkey.  I’ll never forget you, and expect to hear from you as often as you can send word.  Now go to your new home – everyone else is on the truck.”  She smiled although her eyes were suspiciously wet. 

Lemuel allowed himself to be picked up and carried into the truck.  He was placed in the fenced area.  Adjustments were made to the fencing to allow the turkeys room to breathe easily, but not to move around and possibly get slammed into the chicken wire or side of the truck on a sharp turn.  Tiffany’s crate was tied to the floor so it would stay in place, and towels were secured on the insides to keep her from banging herself on the wire.  The top was left open so the humans could keep an eye on her.

The littlest human called from outside the truck, “Mama, there’s a cat under our truck, and I think she’s crying.  She looks really sad.  Come see if she’s okay.” 

Maria climbed out instead, and reassured her that the cat was okay.  “I think she’s a friend of the tom turkey.  I’ve seen them talking together before.  She probably just came to say good-bye.”  Leaning down Maria said, “Don’t worry, Kid.  We’ll take good care of your friend and all the turkeys. I’ll stop by and let you know how they’re doing next time I come up to visit.  You better move, though, because we’re going to be leaving soon, and I don’t think my new bosses at the Humane Society would like it if we ran over a cat on my first rescue mission.” 

Kid shot out from under the truck and into the turkey run, where she could watch them leave.  She called a last good-bye to Lemuel just as the back doors of the truck closed and watched as the truck drove away.  She walked around the run for a few minutes, thinking of her friend and hoping that the ride wouldn’t be too tough on the turkeys.  She was about to leave when she spied a beautiful long tail feather that had to have come from Lemuel, as none of the others had tail feathers anywhere near as dark.  She picked it up in her teeth and carefully carried it back home.  She considered where would be the best place to keep it safe from the others, who would treat it as a toy.  She decided that the entertainment center, just behind the television would be the best place.  None of the others went up there, and if Val found it, she’d think Lizzy put it there because it was so beautiful and she wouldn’t disturb it.  Kid settled down for a nap, not exactly sure how she felt about all this.  Happy, sad, lonely?  All of the above?

The ride to Popcorn Park Zoo took over an hour.  By the time they were halfway there, the turkeys were miserable.  Kiki was heard to say that she’d rather have been slaughtered for soup rather than endure the ride for another minute.  Doris just moaned.  Tiffany, on the other hand was having a ball.  She’d dug her claws into one of the towels that draped onto the floor of her crate and used her fuzzy little wings to balance herself.  The young human who was keeping an eye on her told his mother that she looked like she were on some sort of amusement park ride and having just as much fun as if she were on that ride. 

When they finally arrived, the turkeys were carefully carried into their new enclosure, with little Tiffany going in last of all.  One of the vets had arranged to come and look over the flock to assess their health as well as any possible risks they might pose to other animals or birds at the zoo.  The hens were too miserable to even notice that yet another person was handling them and checking them out.  Lemuel, who was feeling a bit better, thanked her for her concern, and bobbed his head to emphasize his point.  To his surprise the vet replied, “You’re welcome.”  The staff brought in clean water and sufficient food for everyone once they regained their appetite, and put Tiffany in a small brooder.  There was room in there for her and Courtney, and maybe one other adult hen, but it was toasty warm, so neither Tiffany nor Courtney complained. 

Their enclosure was ringed with yellow tape, letting visitors know that these were new zoo residents and not to be disturbed.  Finally the humans all left and it was just Lemuel and the rest of the flock.  He carefully explored their run.  It was definitely smaller than the one at Bart’s but they were a smaller flock than they had once been, so there was plenty of room.  The large coop was well built and had a roost attached to one side.  The brooder was a few yards behind the main coop.  Lemuel checked out the soil and discovered it was much sandier than at Bart’s farm, and in places it was covered with pine needles.  Overall it had a lovely smell.  He went over to check on the hens, who told him to leave them the heck alone and let them die in peace.  Lemuel chuckled.  They’d feel better soon, and then they could all begin their new lives.

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