My Life as a Turkey

A New Mother

In this scene from My Life as a Turkey, wild turkey chicks, emerging from the shell, are introduced to an unusual mother: writer and naturalist Joe Hutto. The story of one man’s remarkable experience of raising a group of wild turkey hatchlings to adulthood. My Life as a Turkey airs Wednesday, November 27 at 8/7c (check local listings).

These particular eggs that lie before me now represent something very important to me. Each harbors a mystery, something untamed and virtually unknown to us–an embodiment of wilderness. They are the wild turkey.

* * *

Gradually, a uniform line begins to develop that seems to be confined to a particular latitude, approximately one-third of the way from the larger end of the egg. The hatching activity is punctuated with rest periods lasting only a minute or two. Often, it seems that he resumes hatching in response to my vocalizations. At last, the end of the egg falls away, hinged by only a small piece of membrane. The little turkey pushes at the door he has created and scrambles free of the egg. The entire process has taken fifty-five minutes.

–Joe Hutto, Illumination in the Flatwoods