Main course won’t include these turkeys

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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TURKEY TROT - Palamia Davis, 12, of Irving is followed by one of the turkeys she helped save last year after it got ran over by a lawnmower on her family's farmland in northern Wise County. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 248 million turkeys are projected to be raised in the United States in 2011.

Many of these will meet their end due to Thanksgiving. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that more than 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten just for the holiday. That’s one-sixth of all turkeys sold in the U.S. per year.

But at least two turkeys living in Wise County this year will be spared the oven and the deep fryer.

Stubs and Fuzzy will be celebrating their one-year birthdays right about the time Thanksgiving gets here.

TALKING TURKEY - More than 46 million turkeys will meet the oven or fryer this Thanksgiving, but not this lucky bird. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The birds live on a rural patch of property between Decatur and Greenwood. The land features sloping hills bristling with post oaks. They share the space with goats and chickens and a cadre of five guinea fowl that scour ticks and scorpions from the land.

The two turkeys are lucky to be alive.

“We found the eggs after they got crushed somewhat by a lawnmower,” said 11-year-old Michael Davis. “We were able to save two eggs. We took care of them, and they hatched.”

Today, they follow his 12-year-old sister Palamia around like dogs, strutting and cooing, hoping for some corn kernels or oats or apple.

“They are just like pets,” said mother Elizabeth Davis.

The family lives in Irving, but they raise an assortment of farm animals on the rural property. Taking care of them brings them to Wise County every day. A winding country road, arched over in places by gold and red and orange autumn trees shedding their foliage like thousands of flowers, leads to the small farm.

And as cooks in 116 million households get set to prepare turkeys for Thanksgiving feasts, Stubs and Fuzzy are probably thankful just to be alive.

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