George the Turkey

A small memory of autumn in rural Ohio

Terrie Schweitzer
2 min readNov 23, 2023
George with me, Andy, Tony, and Jenni.

When I was eight or nine years old, my parents decided to raise turkeys instead of chickens over the summer. My brothers and sister and I were excited about the change. Trucks from the local turkey farm often traveled down our road, filled with crates of white turkeys, and we were curious when the new brood took over our chicken coop. They were large and all looked identical to each other, unlike the colorful flock of banty chickens we’d had before.

A week or so after getting the turkey chicks, my dad was on his way to work and noticed something next to the side of the road. It was another baby turkey, a bit younger than ours, that had fallen off a turkey truck. A freebie! He put it in the trunk and continued to work. During his break, he called my mom, and she packed us into the car and drove into town to retrieve the turkey and bring it home.

The flock decided right away that they didn’t like the idea of a newcomer. They pecked and picked at the new turkey, and chasing him around the pen. It was clear that they would keep at it until they had killed him.

Not wanting to lose this free turkey, Dad built a small addition to the chicken coop with its own door. My siblings and I loved the miniature turkey pen and its new occupant and started calling him George. We made a bit of a pet out of him, picking weeds and grass to feed him in addition to his food, and making sure that he had water just like the other turkeys.

The photo above is of us with George. It was taken the day that all of the turkeys were butchered. No tears were shed.

During that winter, every time we had turkey for dinner someone would say, “I wonder if this is George?”