Cork turkeys being saved from the carvery by kind-hearted souls

The pair was determined to buy one male and female turkey to raise as pets.
Cork turkeys being saved from the carvery by kind-hearted souls

“These guys weren’t for Christmas,” he explained. “They were being saved from the table.”  Picture Dan Linehan

ANIMAL lovers are purchasing Christmas turkeys as pets in a heroic attempt to save them from the dinner table.

While most of the birds are destined for the dinner table, Gerard O’Leary-whose flocks include poults (baby turkeys)- said he had a couple travel all the way from Galway with the purest of intentions. The pair was determined to buy one male and female turkey to raise as pets. The idea behind the purchase was to save the birds from inevitable death.

While it is unclear why the couple travelled so far to rescue the birds, Gerard said they may have been on a nationwide mission to save turkeys from Christmas. He opened up about the bizarre encounter.

“These guys weren’t for Christmas,” he explained. “They were being saved from the table.” 

The poultry farmer was initially confused when the couple approached him.

“When they rang me I told them that there were plenty of places to buy turkeys in Galway but they wanted to come to Macroom. They told me that they wanted a boy and a girl. However, when I asked them if they were going to breed them they said no. The cage they had for them would have been able to hold a car. I joked that the turkeys would get lost in it.” 

Gerard was only too happy to oblige.

“Only one in every hundred is a boy but we were able to find them one. Today’s families want small turkeys so opt for hens. They want to spend one day eating it, rather than have a lot left over.” He laughed that other customers had no idea the couple were there as part of a rescue operation.

“There were some people there passing comments like “he’ll be grand for the dinner table” which I don’t think they took quite kindly to. Sometimes you’re better not to comment for fear of offending someone.” Gerard admits he found the gesture touching.

“The majority of people are buying turkeys for Christmas. In a way, it’s kind of nice to be seeing some of them survive. A lot of things like that are starting to happen.” 

He spoke of how another woman adopted a runt as a pet.

“We had one other woman who took the runt as a pet. It was the smallest of the group so it was never going to be a big turkey. We didn’t think it would make the weight for Christmas because it wasn’t growing as fast. It was about one-third the size of the others. We still get pictures so she has kept us updated.”

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