Turkeys gobbling Christmas dinners of their own

Paul Mahon with Prancer and Dancer

Paul Mahon with Prancer and Dancer

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Plucky birds Prancer and Dancer are two turkeys who can’t wait for Christmas.

The pampered pair escaped the oven 12 months ago and are set for a right cracker this year as family pets.

“They’re even having their own special Christmas dinners,” confessed builder Paul Mahon who raised the girls from chicks to be someone’s festive roast.

“It was touch and go for them this time last year. But we’ll make sure they enjoy Christmas this time.”

Prancer and Dancer were part of a small flock Paul fattened up for family and friends. But while the rest ended up on the table, the two were spared the chop as surplus to requirements.

Since then the Mahon family have grown to love the birds and their feather-brained antics.

So much so that turkey is 
off the menu at their farmhouse in West Lancashire this Christmas.

“None of us could face the traditional Christmas dinner, so we’re having lamb instead,” said Paul who has run a family building firm in Walmer Bridge, near Preston, for decades.

Paul reared 20 last year for the first time as a project and the girls were the only ones left after everyone had claimed theirs. So they won a stay of execution. But over the past 12 months, Prancer and Dancer have become part of the family and get up to mischief around the farm where the Mahons live near Rufford.

“They might not be the prettiest of birds,” confessed Paul. “They’ve got faces only a mother could love. But they’re real characters with bags of personality.

“I don’t think people realise just how loveable turkeys can be. Most of us just see them on a plate on Christmas Day with stuffing and gravy.

“But actually they’re really sociable birds and very tame.

“They come and greet you when you come home. They’ll sit with us in the sun and let the grandchildren play with them.

“They look at you with real affection and purr like cats when you stroke them.

“We’ve got two dogs and 14 chickens and the turkeys follow them about. They fend for themselves and have become clever at hiding from foxes.” While most turkeys live for only about 16 weeks as they are fattened up for the Christmas table, the girls are into their second year and will now be allowed to see out their days in the lap of luxury.

“On Christmas Day we’re having lamb – there’s no way anyone in the family would eat turkey now after getting to know these two.

“It just wouldn’t be right,” laughed Paul.

“And the girls will have their own special meal, with boiled rice, mashed fruit and mixed grain.

“We’ve stopped short of buying them presents but they will still got a few little treats.

“Why Prancer and Dancer? Well, they’re Christmas names – and they seem to prance and dance when they walk.”