Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Feral turkeys. Not truely wild ones in Hawaii, but feral. They came from domestic stock, not wild populations. How'd they get to an island in the middle of the pacific? Well...a long, long time ago in a land far, far away......stop. Wrong beginning. Reboot...........

Many years ago domestic turkeys were imported for releasing here. Reason....to provide a food source for locals and as a game bird for hunting businesses. Importation occurred numerous times, starting in the late 1800's, with the most recent large release being in the 1940's (I'm told, but  I wasn't around then) Additional intentional releases took place up until 1960's.  Rio Grandes are the predominate type currently thriving. Those that set up life on Big Island were highly successful. But there were several other turkey breeds introduced over the decades. I would guess the various strains interbred, but what is now running around my area of the islands is of the Rio Grande ilk. They all have the buffy-tan band on their tail feathers, a decidedly Rio Grande trait. 

Regardless of which breed or strain of turkey I have running around here, they are a pain in the neck for gardeners. And while I admire their slug eating capabilities, I wish that they'd leave the veggies alone. Come on guys, why are onion leaves so appealing? And carrot tops? Geez. Did you know that a turkey can peck out each individual pea from a pod whole leaving the pod intact on the plant? When turkeys invade a garden, I don't get even one pea, not one! 

But there's a  plus side to turkeys......good eating. Yes, older birds are tough and stringy. They need to be used to make stock, or else ground up and pressure cooked. But get them young and they can be just as tasty and tender as store bought, but much more flavorful. 

Right now I have five turkeys wanting to set up house keeping in the main garden areas. Two momma hens and three youngsters. 

This morning the group greeted me as I stepped out my front door. Geez Louise, they are begging for grain right along with the young chickens! The word is out that there's a free buffet up at the house. 

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