Gobble it down

Yeah. That would be nice. So, anyone actually paying attention to this blog may recall a brief discussion about antibiotics and a certain beleaguered turkey. We had hoped that we could simply hide the pill in some sort of food and she would hobble it on down. 

Don’t ever let anyone tell you turkeys are dumb. She saw through that instantly. She actually gave me a look before eating everything around the pill without touching it. 

Le sigh. That of course means force feeding her. Now, these birds may trust us and know we are the purveyors of yum, but they don’t like being touched an will very gracefully avoid it. So we knew this would be fun. So let’s consider this a tutorial. 

Step one. Catch a turkey. I highly recommend teamwork and the use of corners. Hold the turkey between your knees while in a crouched position. This keeps her from going pretty much any direction including up and down, and keeps her wings at her side where she can’t smack you or hurt them. 

Step two. Get the turkey’s mouth open. I do not recommend trying to hold the bottom jaw, as the bird squirming could result in hurting her. Their jaws seem pretty loose and bird bones are delicate. What works best for me is holding the upper beak between thumb and forefinger and slipping the index into her mouth as she tries to stop you. You will get bitten. It doesn’t hurt that bad. Suck it up, buttercup. You wanted birds. Oh, turkey toms can be a bit protective. Watch for them running interference on you. 

Step three. Put the pill in her mouth, as far back as you can reach, preferably slightly off to the side. A turkey’s throat is like 90% esophagus. They’re eating machines. The trachea, for breathing, is very cleverly disguised as a tiny fleshy ring ON the back of the tongue. Not behind the tongue, on it. It’s so crazy. If you ever get the opportunity to stare into a turkey’s mouth, I highly recommend it. 

Step four. Let go of her head but watch to make sure she swallows before releasing her and giving her treats. Amusingly enough, this actually gets easier as they get used to be handled. You’d think they’d come to dread it. 

If this hasn’t made you dream of growing up to be an avian veterinarian, I don’t know what will!

No turkeys were harmed in the making of this tutorial. A human did get dirt in his sandals. Also, the turkey shows significant improvement of symptoms after only a few days. 

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