The Turkey Hatchlings’ Near Escape

by Baxter Balick, Rype & Readi Contributing Author and Flagler Sophomore Student


“Oh dear, oh dear…” Tammie, the Mama Turkey clucked to herself as she trotted through the grass of the Rype & Readi Downtown Market, swinging her head nervously to and fro. “Why can’t anything ever go easily, why can’t it ever go easily?”

As one might gather from Tammie’s mutterings, things were not going well for her. And the day had started out so well, too.

That morning, she and her ten chicks had moved from their home on a farm just out of town to the Rype & Readi Market in Saint Augustine. Her chicks hadn’t been very happy about the move, and Tammie wasn’t exactly flapping her feathers for joy either, but it wasn’t like she’d had much choice in the matter! With ten growing chicks, Tammie needed a larger home to settle in, and the market had space in spades!

Turkey Hatchling's Near Escape
Photo by Jon Noeth Videography

The move had gone along well enough, even with her chicks chirping irritably the entire time Farmer Seb was driving them over, but as soon as they’d arrived, things had gone south. Which was doubly ironic seeing as turkeys couldn’t even fly!

Anyway, Tammie had only turned her head for one second so she could ask Farmer Seb when feeding time would be, and when she’d looked back? Poof! Her ten chicks were gone like the wind!

The only reason Tammie wasn’t panicking was that Farmer Seb had been quick about shutting the gates to the market’s fence, so her chicks were still on the property, but that still left her with the problem of finding them. It looked like all that space was working against her!

Either way, Tammie still had to find her chicks, so she hurried off to look around.

She decided to make her first stop with her family’s new neighbors, a mother and son pair of goats named Bailey and Gomez, respectively.

Tammie poked her head into the goats’ shack of wooden pallets, drawing their attention with a worried gobble. “Hello, Gomez. Hello, Bailey,” she greeted them politely. “I’m sorry for intruding, but I’m afraid I’ve lost track of my chicks. Have you seen them anywhere?”

“No-o-o-ope,” Gomez bleated with a yawn.

“Ha-a-a-aven’t seen them,” Bailey concurred with just as little energy.

“Oh, I see…” Tammie hung her head with a sigh before looking back up hopefully. “Well, could you at least help me look for them then?” She hoped that they’d say yes…

“Ca-a-a-an’t do that,” Gomez responded.

And Tammie’s jaw dropped as those hopes were promptly dashed. “W-What? Why?”

“‘Cause of the vo-o-o-oices, of course,” Kahlua told her blandly.

Tammie slowly blinked in confusion. “Voices? What voices?”

“The voices in our he-e-e-eads.”

“They started spe-e-e-eaking a few minutes ago, said they wanted to go ho-o-o-ome.”

“So we’re staying right he-e-e-ere until they’re quie-e-e-et.”

“So-o-o-orry.”

“Uh…” Tammie blinked slowly at her neighbors… before raising her head as an idea came to her. “Wait… do you mind if I come in?”

“He-e-e-elp yourself,” the pair bleated carelessly.

Tammie trotted into the pallet-shack, poked her head about the goat’s horns… and sighed in both exasperation and relief as she found four of her little chicks hiding on their neighbor’s heads, tweeting in their ears.

“Sorry for the trouble!” Tammie gobbled as she swept her chicks off their heads and waddled out of the shack.

And so, four little turkey chicks were brought home.

Next, Tammie checked into the barn that Farmer Seb used to sell his wares. There was an impressive variety of produce on the shelves, from luscious apples to succulent zucchini.

Unfortunately for Tammie, her chicks were a lot easier to find in the barn. This was ‘unfortunate’ for her because the trail they’d left behind was a trail of fruits and vegetables they’d gorged themselves upon. She could only gobble woefully as she trotted along, following a trail of bitten bananas, guzzled growlers of Kombucha, and several small sacks that had been left behind once the seeds had all been swallowed.

She found three more of her chicks snoozing between the pack of organic noodles they’d nibbled on and the flat Chinese Cabbage they’d chewed through.

And so, three more little turkey chicks were brought home, bringing the total to seven.

Finally, with only three chicks left to be found, Tammie wandered around to the back of the Rype & Readi Market where a flock of five hens were living, and walked up to the oldest of them who was called Paprika.

“Hello, Paprika,” Tammie raised her wing with a gobble.

“Good afternoon, Tammie,” Paprika clucked serenely. “I hear that you’ve lost track of your chicks?”

Tammie perked up eagerly, her hopes raising at the first trace of help she’d received in awhile. “Why, yes, I’m afraid they wandered off! I’ve found most of them, but three are still missing. Do you think that you and your brood could help me find them?”

“Hmm…” Paprika tilted her head for a second before shaking it in denial. “I’m afraid we can’t do that. After all, we can’t help look for something that’s already found, can we?”

Tammie’s head shot up in surprise. “You mean—?”

“We found the last of your chicks a few minutes ago,” Paprika chuckled into her wing. “Poor dears were so tired from running around, they fell asleep the second we put them next to our eggs. Come, let’s go and fetch them, shall we?”

And so, three more little turkey chicks were brought home, bringing the total to a perfect ten.

Once all her chicks were back together, Tammie only had a moment to sigh in relief before a wave of sadness overtook her. “Oh, my poor little chicks…” she sighed regretfully. “I’m so sorry for bringing you out here against your will. I thought this change would be nice, but… do you really hate being here that much?”

However, much to her surprise, the chicks chirped, “No no no! We love it here, we love it here!”

Ten Bourbon Red Turkeys
Photo by Jon Noeth Videography

“What?” Tammie squawked. “But on the way here, you were all so unhappy! And when I looked away, you all ran off!”

“But that was before, and this is now!” the chicks chorused.

“Mister Gomez and Missus Bailey are really funny!” three of the chicks tweeted.

“The food here is really tasty!” three more chirped… and burped.

“The chickens are all really nice!” the final four cheered.

“Now we know we really love it here!” the chicks exclaimed happily. “We want to live at Rype & Readi forever!”

And so, that is exactly what Tammie and her chicks did.

 


Downloadable Story 

Downloadable Maze – – Help Tammie Find Her Chicks!

Downloadable Coloring Page