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We buy our feed at two places – Ranch-Way Feeds here in town and a little mom and pop store north of town called The Old Feed Store. Both have their own, unique brand of charm. There’s a camaraderie at feed stores that says, “We’re in this together.” The stores and people are warm and friendly in a down home sort of way.

You’re likely to find a variety of farm and ranch products other than feed on the shelves. Things like dog toys, grooming products, eggs, baked goods, books, and chicks at the right time of year. In all the years I’ve been buying feed I haven’t come close to examining everything these stores have to offer.

At The Old Feed Store, they keep chickens and a few turkeys. I almost always go out and visit them when I’m laying in the next few weeks supply of grain and horse candy. I’m fascinated by chickens, though I’m not exactly sure why.

We buy our eggs there because I know that the chickens are happy, healthy and not enduring life if you can call it that, on some factory farm. These chickens scratch in the dirt, eat bugs, carouse with their chicken pals, move from the outdoors into the barn where they have nesting boxes. In my limited knowledge of the art of raising poultry, it seems to be a good life for chickens.

 

A few weeks ago I became enamored of the turkeys waddling around in the chicken area. I realized that in my life I have rarely been up close and personal with a turkey. They look like something created in the special effects room in Hollywood.

Weird and beautiful at the same time.

They really do make a gobble, gobble sound. They’re quite vocal.

When she noticed me taking pictures of the turkeys, the storekeeper invited me to go into the pen to get a better shot. For a moment I hesitated, but she assured me that it was completely safe.

What was I afraid of? That the chickens were going to mob me?

So the turkeys gobbled and preened and pranced around the yard as I snapped photos. Then she told me their names. “Meet Thanksgiving and Christmas,” she said.

Then it became crystal clear. These turkeys were not long for this world. I knew they weren’t pets, but I didn’t want to think about what that really meant.

Deep in my heart, I know that the next time I go buy feed, one of those turkeys will be missing. And then by January there will be no turkeys. That is until spring when little fuzzy turkey chicks will appear in the chicken yard again.

 

I have to distance myself from the process of where meat comes from, or I can’t eat it. I could never raise an animal in 4-H and sell it off. I’m much too softhearted. Or maybe that’s softheaded. I’ve tried several times to be vegetarian, but it just didn’t work for me.

 

I do know this: On Thursday I’m going to say a little prayer of thanks for all of the turkeys named “Thanksgiving” who are feeding us on this day of feasting. And then I’m going to try to not think about it again.

Wish me luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bud absolutely loves this little treat. I mean to say he adores, is crazy about, goes gaga over horse candy.

Like good parents, we insist that he finish his grain before he gets to eat candy. Since he’s a food gobbler, as described in an earlier post, he can dispatch his pan of grain in short order.

That’s when he starts nosing around the candy bucket.

On many occasions, he’s been able to use those prehensile lips to open the lid, if I’m not paying close enough attention. The candy goes flying to the ground and Bud does his best imitation of innocence.

“Oops.” The look on his face tells me he’s as surprised as I am.

“I was just trying to get a little snack. I have no idea why the whole darn bucket of candy is on the ground.”

He noses around and then, never one to pass up a snack, he plucks one or two or twenty from the dirt. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

In his younger years, feeding treats to Bud was like plugging a parking meter with dimes. You just kept on feeding the meter, one after the other. He did a bang up imitation of a squirrel, with his cheeks packed with candy.

These days, he’s slowed down a bit because of his teeth. He’s missing a couple on the bottom, which make chewing more difficult. Translation: there’s a LOT of spillage.

But spillage or no, we have a routine, and as far as Bud is concerned, the routine is everything. First grain, and then horse candy.

Never deviate from the plan.

Never.

If you’re wondering about Pepper, she also loves horse candy.

What’s not to love?

A little grain and filler, nutrients and sweetness. Sugar and molasses are what make her tail fly up.  Most horses have a real sweet tooth and ours are no exception.

I can relate.

And by the way, I’m not promoting this product. Ranch-way feeds doesn’t even know I exist. I’m just tellin’ you what my horses like.

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