My Life as a Turkey

My Life as a Turkey

59 minutes 9.1/10 based on 135 votes

Biologist Joe Hutto was mother to the strangest family in the world, thirteen endangered wild turkeys that he raised from egg to the day they left home.

For a whole year his turkey children were his only companions as he walked them deep through the Florida Everglades. Suffering all the heartache and joy of any other parent as he tried to bring up his new family, he even learnt to speak their language and began to see the world through turkey eyes. Told as a drama documentary with an actor recreating the remarkable scenes of Joe’s life as a turkey mum.

Some facts about turkeys:

  • The wild turkey was first domesticated by Native Americans. Spanish explorers took the birds to Europe in the 16th century.
  • Turkeys’ heads change colour when they become excited.
  • The turkey was Benjamin Franklin’s choice for the United States’ national bird (he considered the bald eagle as a bird of bad moral character).
  • A wild turkey’s gobble can be heard up to one mile away!
  • Turkeys can run at speeds up to 25 mph, and they can fly up to 55 mph.

GD Star Rating
Rating: 9.1/10 based on 135 votes

Discuss This Documentary

  • I think I found my soul mate in this person. I have a similar connection with my domesticated hens. I was deeply moved by his connection with these birds. I have not yet seen it through to the end and dread their separation. My one burning question for him is why he thinks domesticate turkeys are essentially so different than wild ones. I’ve heard cases of rescued hens that have known nothing but a battery cage fly right into the trees when they are given an opportunity. In other words, they intuitively return to their natural behavior.

    • pizza.princess

      Is he gay?

      • frannylee

        Ask your father

        • pizza.princess

          Obviously he is gay and so are you. I love gays. :-)

          • frannylee

            Again it comes back to love of one’s father, obviously!

    • Nancy Drew

      I think the same. I also have chickens for pets.I am sure in ways they are different from domestic turkeys, yet instinct will out in the end.The thing is this bunch is mothered by a human. They still knew they were wild. Birds get on well with people because they are far more intelligent than most people will ever know or recognize. This is a film that I come back to again and again. It is a joy and a wonder to behold. We can be thankful that he did this. Few would! I hope everyone who sees this will share it.

  • docwatcher
    • Elton Hartzler

      . . . Thanks.

  • jdc1957

    Best doc I’ve seen in a year !!!

  • jordyn

    I saw this in school now I can’t stop watching it I’m really touch by it

  • Morten Andreassen

    this actually changed my life and insight into others lives

    • Ginas

      When I encounter wild animals in our yard in suburban Northeast NJ, I make soft sounds so that they don’t feel threatened and attack me. Raccoons, skunks, ( even 2 wild turkeys) and NEVER get close. I retreat to safety.

  • Susiedarling

    Sweet Pea and Turkey boy broke my heart. Wonder why Turkey Boy attacked him so visciously – that really shocked me.

    • Ginas

      Turkey Boy, as he said, saw that he was “leaving” him and therefore attacked him. Did not know they could be so vicious. All over here in Northeastern NJ. Two in my back yard 2 days ago looking for mates. I will certainly keep inside the house until they leave if there is a next time..After all, they are inherently, wild animals. Instincts kick in. I think he must have died after the author had to defend himself with a shovel to the head or be killed. He said:”I never saw him again”. To me, that says Turkey boy died. So sad that Sweet Pea was killed defending her eggs. Brave and loving. I felt so enriched yet sad when the documentary was over. Came out on DVD and got it from our library this week (4/17)

  • Lee

    A great story but, I wonder about the truth of it. This was in Florida at his cabin, while in another show called “Touching the Wild”. This same man, Joe, lived with mule deer near his cabin in Montana. The same premise, wild animals accepting him in their group.

    • Nancy Drew

      He went on to live with the deer after he did this. I remember reading that somewhere. An interesting man. As close to nature and animals as few people get.

  • Jan

    This movie confirmed to me that DNA carries much more than building blocks for cell. Which also confirms the loss of intelligence and brain power we have been experiencing for at least the last 200 years.

  • Jan

    One of the best documentaries ever. Made me realize that DNA has a lot more in it than we know about.

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