Turkey's Christmas dinner

Hayley with family pet Thelma the turkey.
Hayley with family pet Thelma the turkey.
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Thelma, the turkey who loves Christmas, has survived another festive period without seeing the inside of an oven.


The old bird was fattened up and destined for the table back in 2014, but escaped the chop by the skin of her neck.

Thelma goes 'walkies' with owner Hayley Mahon.

Thelma goes 'walkies' with owner Hayley Mahon.

This year, like the previous four, she will enjoy Christmas dinner like the rest of us, gobbling up her own festive treats while (whisper it) millions of her breed get a Yuletide roasting.

“She’s part of the family,” said owner Hayley Mahon from Catforth, who gave Thelma a home after her sister Louise, also rescued from the dinner table, met her end in the jaws of a fox.

“She’s a survivor. And we’re all hoping she’s around for a few more years yet.”

Thelma, like Louise, was heading for the oven four years ago, but was spared after a local farmer had more turkeys than orders.

The table is for standing on for this Christmas turkey.

The table is for standing on for this Christmas turkey.

Now she rules the roost at a smallholding which she shares with a French cockerel called Rene – also a rescue bird – and 13 chickens and bantams.

“Thelma’s definitely the boss,” said Hayley. “She just wanders around like she owns the place.

“I’ve not weighed her, but she is well over 20 pounds.

“She’s got a face only a mother could love. But we all love her.

“She gets spoilt every Christmas – and why not? After how close she came to being someone’s dinner she deserves a bit of affection.

“Turkeys are very sociable birds and very tame. She follows me around and she likes to be stroked. She purrs like a cat when she’s happy.

“Thelma is part of the family and so, on Christmas Day, she’ll get a few treats. She likes cabbage, so she’ll get one of those to peck at.

“On Halloween we gave her a pumpkin which she enjoyed.”