Mama T (also known as Mamati) came to the sanctuary from a local small-scale farm, where she had been overcrowded with hens and geese in a small coop with a tiny mud yard. When she first arrived, she was so overweight from lack of exercise that she rarely walked more than a few steps at a time. Now she ranges widely and truly freely, visiting with all of the people and many of the animals at the part of the sanctuary known as “up the hill.”
Mama T is both highly sociable and exceptionally curious, often going out of her way to meet new people or investigate goings-on. Earlier this year, she scared a contractor working inside a trailer by coming inside to see what all the banging was about. The contractor called Cheryl and whispered, “there’s a turkey in the trailer. What do I do?” They made friends, and Mama T dropped by for a visit every day the contractor was on the property.
Despite stereotypes of roosters “ruling the roost,” it’s Mama T who bosses the birds “up the hill.” Every former fighting roosters hop to it when she tells them to get out of her way!
Of course, we are writing about Mama T today because this is the day when so many people choose to express their gratitude for life by killing and consuming a turkey. So, even as we celebrate her verve, we mourn all of the birds whose bodies are used as symbols of conquest and gluttony every Thanksgiving Day.
Turkeys are much more than the symbols people make them into. If you want to learn more about turkeys as they really are, while also learning the history of people’s ideas about and uses of these birds, you can’t do better than to read More than a Meal by United Poultry Concerns President Karen Davis.