Treasured turkey born to be Christmas dinner turns ten

Henfield. Turkey
Henfield. Turkey
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This week’s Animal Magic star comes in the form of a Bronze turkey called Patchwork who turns ten today (August 1).

Proud owner Linda Turvey, who owns Hen Heaven in Henfield - a refuge for over 700 former battery hens and turkeys - contacted the County Times to celebrate the incredible milestone.

“She was born to be a Christmas dinner so she would have been killed at 20 weeks old,” she explained. “It’s incredibly difficult keeping them alive for any distance so ten years is really exceptional and she’s very much loved.

“I called her Patchwork because her head is an amazing colouration, she looks like a patchwork quilt. It’s red and blue spots all over.”

Linda has run Hen heaven for around 17 and a half years with Patchwork and her sisters, Curlycoat and Laptop, arriving nearly ten years ago when Linda had a total of around 55 turkeys.

“I started rescuing ex-battery hens because there was no where else for them to go ,” added Linda, who has been a vegetarian for 48 years.

“When I was at my boyfriend’s farm before that, we had loads come in including two turkey’s and I just fell in love. They’re amazing creatures, absolutely amazing, and since I’ve been here I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of turkeys.

“Curlycoat died six weeks ago and Laptop died earlier this year but other than that they all died earlier,” she continued. “Laptop was named because she would always jump on your lap and Curlycoat was called because her feathers started curling up.”

Linda explained Patchwork’s birthday is the optimum time for Turkey’s to be born as they would be ready to be killed in time for Christmas - but Patchwork fortunately survived to live a happy life with Linda at the sanctuary.

She said: “I adore her, she’s wonderful but she’s always been a loner. When all the others wanted out the back, she would march out the front.

“In the morning I feed her an egg, strawberries and she also gets a banana. She gets spoilt rotten but she deserves it. She’s always been a very special bird actually, very much loved.”