Rewilding Our Threatened Heritage Breed Royal Palm Turkeys

We’ve had the opportunity to work with heritage breeds of turkeys. We like the striking contrast and hardiness of the Royal Palm turkey. The Livestock Conservancy has its status as threatened.

What I noticed over the years that we’ve had them, as we started to let them free range, is how well they did. I found they needed very little feed because they foraged so well.  The hens were excellent mothers and were able to raise their young. Some of the hens were better at rearing their young than others and those are the ones that survived. They learn how to roost in the trees to avoid predators at night. We had very little involvement in their maintenance. Along the way I learned about rewilding and it seemed to tie into what I was experiencing

Rewilding by John Davis,” It is restoring natural processes and species, then stepping back so the land can express its own will.” How this relates to domesticated animals is that one can step back so that these animals can express their own will. By doing so, health and vigor can increase dramatically in these animals. People have an opportunity to learn to strike a balance with other living entities. My son Viggo witnesses how well our turkeys are doing and he absolutely loves them. Viggo is learning something at seven that I’m just learning at 50.

Restoring alpha predators is one of the essential ideas in rewilding. My thoughts led me to recognizing humanity as being the alpha predator globally. Is there a way for us to step back to allow the environment around us to express its will? I believe we can. I believe we can start in our farmyards and backyards to learn how to step back while also supporting health and vigor around us and in turn help encourage health and vigor in ourselves. I believe this approach can be learned by practicing traditional animal husbandry with heritage breeds like the Royal Palm turkey.