In Character with Sara Cogan
A turkey neck is something you definitely want to avoid. If youre talking gobbledygook, youre not making much sense. And if someone calls you a turkey, well, lets hope its just in jest.
With Thanksgiving almost upon us, somebody needed to stick up for turkeys. We tried Sara Cogan, farm manager at Zenger Farms in Southeast Portland.
Portland Tribune: Lets talk turkey. I hear theyre not the smartest of animals?
Sara Cogan: I hear the same thing.
Tribune: From the animals or from people?
Cogan: From people. The turkeys think theyre quite bright.
Tribune: Is there evidence to support that assertion?
Cogan: As individuals they may not appear very bright, but theres a lot of intelligence in the flock. A couple years ago we didnt get them put into the coop quickly enough and dusk started to fall, and the turkeys survival instinct kicked in. They went to the highest spot on the farm, which is the rooftop of the barn.
Tribune: Wait a second. Why is that smart? If theres someone with a rifle around theyre sitting ... turkeys.
Cogan: Were in the city limits; its illegal to discharge a firearm. They were safe from their predators, coyotes and raccoons.
Tribune: So they climbed up the building to get away from coyotes.
Cogan: No, they fly.
Tribune: Turkeys can fly?
Cogan: Yes. They dont fly far, but they can fly high.
Tribune: Then why dont they get out of here before you guys take them to the butcher?
Cogan: They know where their food is.
Tribune: But not where our food is, apparently. One point for the dumb turkey theory.
Cogan: One time we slaughtered them on site. And we arrived in the morning to get set up, to get the water boiling and the knives sharpened. And the turkeys were gone. A person had accidentally left open the door, but they werent in their run. They were on the farthest side of the farm. They had never been there before.
Tribune: Was this before the knives came out or after?
Cogan: Before. When we arrived they were gone.
Tribune: Youre trying to tell me turkeys are prescient?
Tribune: OK, well count that as one for the turkeys side. What other powers to they possess?
Cogan: Theyre really amazing vocalists. They gobble when they hear kids laughing, when they hear an ambulance going by, or a truck backing up.
Tribune: Is there anything they dont gobble at?
Tribune: Youre making my case here. Lets talk about the people who buy your turkeys.
Cogan: I had a request for the feathers of the bird that (a family) was going to eat. There have been requests for the feet of the bird.
Tribune: Why in heavens name?
Cogan: The feet make really great stock, or backscratchers. I know somebody who made jewelry out of the feet. They used the toenails in a necklace.
Tribune: Of the bird they ate on Thanksgiving? I mean, its one thing to eat the guy, but carrying his toenails around your neck is like some ...
Cogan: Head on a post.
Tribune: Yeah. Thats upsetting. Forget the humans, lets get back to the turkeys.
Cogan: Around their pen there is a flexible plastic fence. They roughhouse and invariably will knock into the fence. Occasionally a turkey gets his head stuck in the fence and needs assistance.
Tribune: This has happened more than once?
Tribune: They roughhouse to the point where one of them needs rescuing to save his life, and then they keep doing it again. Another point in the dumb turkeys ledger. What have you to offer in defense of this species?
Cogan: They are tasty.Add a comment