Pumpkin the turkey hen was purchased from a feed store as a baby to be raised for a family’s Thanksgiving dinner. The little girl who cared for her quickly grew to love her, and the family agreed to allow her to live out her life in sanctuary instead.
Luckily for Pumpkin, she escaped the fate of over 300 million turkeys in the United States every year, and rescuers drove over five hours to bring her home to Blackberry Creek Farm Animal Sanctuary in Colfax, California. Pumpkin is a broad breasted bronze turkey, a type selectively bred to grow from a tiny chick into an enormous bird in only five to six months. Because of their rapid growth, their legs and internal organs often cannot keep up, and they have significantly shortened lifespans if they are lucky enough to escape slaughter. While domestic heritage breed turkeys can regularly live ten to twelve years, broad breasted bronze have a lifespan of only two to five years.
These turkeys, along with their white broad breasted cousins, make up more than 98% of turkeys in the poultry industry and are some of the most abused individuals in the animal agriculture industry as a whole. They are so large they cannot even breed naturally and are consistently roughly handled and artificially inseminated, their eggs then stolen from them before hatching. Though Pumpkin may not have an exceptionally long life, she will have a deservedly happy one, soaking up the kisses and pets lavished on her by caretakers and visitors and teaching the world to see all turkeys as friends not food. She lives with her best friend, Nutmeg, another broad breasted bronze who is blind in one eye and escaped slaughter the very week she was to be killed in the yard of a backyard butcher. These sweet friends enjoy being cuddled and loved by their caretakers, exploring their outdoor habitat, and taking naps in their warm straw-filled barn. Pumpkin has even visited local school children to teach them about kindness to animals and the benefits of a vegan diet!
When November approaches, the turkeys offer the public a better alternative to eating them for Thanksgiving by dining with them instead. They enjoy being fed tasty treats while the humans get to know their gentle personalities at the annual Tea with the Turkeys event. This is Pumpkin, a survivor of the poultry industry and ambassador for a kinder world.