Vladimir and the turkeys—a guest post

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I’m very excited about today’s post, which is a true story about a pheasant living with wild turkeys I’m posting with permission from the writer. I came across this story when scrolling through one of the pet chicken groups I belong to on Facebook and thought it was lovely.

Can’t wait to share it!

Thank you very much to Meredith Alvin, who wrote the Facebook post, for graciously allowing me to republish it here along with the photos!

Vladimir spreading his wings
Vladimir, the silver pheasant, spreading his wings for his sexy wing-flapping dance!
When I was a teenager, my elderly neighbors gave me a pair of silver pheasants. The pheasants had been kept together in a small cage for years, and I wanted them to be able to free range with my chicken flock and experience life outside a pen.
Well, it turned out the two hated each other.
The female disappeared almost immediately, but the male, which we named Vladimir, tolerated me locking him up every night and would wander around with the chickens every day. He wasn’t very friendly, but he was quite fond of being fed grapes.
Then he disappeared too.
I was sad that a predator had probably eaten him, but was happy he at least got to experience a little freedom at last.
Well, a few months passed. It was literally Thanksgiving morning, and we were preparing for turkey day. We looked out into the side lane next to our house and there was Vladimir.
But not just Vladimir, he was walking in the midst of a wild turkey flock containing dozens of turkeys!

Vladimir and his flock roamed our neighborhood for years. They had quite a few blocks they traveled in, but he would often lead them to our yard for treats.

Pheasant waiting for grades
Waiting at the front door for scratch grain and grapes. Photo courtesy of Meredith Alvin
Though he was the smallest of all of them, he had convinced the turkeys that he was a dominant bird, and we often saw his putting the tom turkeys in their place or doing a seductive wing dance for the turkey hens, who were quite impressed. He became famous around the neighborhood – many people thought he was an “albino turkey.”
My mom worked at a hospital several towns away and even she had several patients who told her about the little, white bird they’d seen in their usual turkey flock.
My bantams did not like the intruders and we would often see the turkey flock arrive for their daily treats, with Vladimir beating up the turkeys if he wanted their grapes, and then my even tinier chickens beating up Vladimir and stealing the grapes from him (it’s all about confidence level, not size).
Vladimir eventually became tame enough that he would eat from our hands, but he still preferred living with the wild flock and roosting in the trees every night.
Vladimir during molting season (but still handsome). Photo courtesy of Meredith Alvin
He lived a long and happy life as a spoiled but wild bird, the self-declared leader of the neighborhood turkeys.
Vladimir arriving with the turkeys
Thanksgiving day, when Vladimir and his crew were first discovered strutting in the lane. Photo courtesy of Meredith Alvin


  1. That is so neat! We have wild turkeys out here. I stopped one day to take pictures of some that hang out in a field nearby. I would love to see them in my yard!

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