Gravy’s Story: A tale of uncertain identity

Gravy the turkey joined the Pathfinder family last spring when she was hatched in the incubator. From those very first moments onward, Gravy (formerly thought to be a male) has been a favorite among naturalists and students alike. Why do so many people fall in love with Gravy? It probably has something to do with Gravy’s friendliness and her heart-warming tale of confusion and family.

After Gravy hatched, the mama turkey who laid Gravy’s egg had laid and successfully hatched other eggs; with these new poults around, the mama was sure to reject baby Gravy, so she couldn’t live in the same coop. The chickens in the other coop were too big for tiny Gravy to live with safely, so she couldn’t live there, either. She had nowhere to go on the farm. So, Gravy stayed in the Nature Center, where she was hand-raised by naturalists and met many loving students, but no other birds. Naturally, this led Gravy to believe that she, too, was in fact a human, albeit a small and fluffy one.

Gravy grew happily in the company of visiting humans for several months, until one day a new batch of baby chickens arrived at the farm. These chicks were just the right size for Gravy to live with, and she soon moved in with these news chickens. Gravy took to her new chicken family quickly, and soon seemed to decide that despite being significantly taller than her new family perhaps she was, in fact, a chicken, and not a human after all.

Throughout all of this, Gravy’s mother continued to raise her three other poults, all of which were most certainly turkeys. Eventually, all of the farm birds at Pathfinder were allowed out of their coops to free-range around campus. Gravy came into contact with other turkeys for the first time in her life! But, she did not recognize them as her own, and she continued to hang-out with and occasionally defend her adoptive chicken family.

Once in a while, Gravy seems to look longingly at the other turkeys or will follow them around a bit. Other times, she will look in the window of the staff house as if she wants to enter. These are only moments, though, and Gravy always returns to her true home – in the coop with her chicken family.

Gravy eating dinner at home with her family.

Gravy eating dinner at home with her family.

The one and only Gravy!

The one and only Gravy!

Gravy free-ranges with other chickens.

Gravy free-ranges with other chickens.

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