On Wednesday, we made the decision to euthanize Ozzie, our Royal Palm turkey, who lived in the farmyard. He had been sick for a long time, and seemed to defy the odds on a daily basis. Up until this past week, he was his usual ornery self, even through what we strongly suspected was cancer. Late last week he started limping, and eventually went lame, and didn’t respond at all to the treatments for pain we were giving him.
As with all animals here at the Museum, Ozzie was necropsied and we have the results back from the initial look (called the gross necropsy). He did have a large multifocal tumor in his kidney that was pressing on his sciatic nerve– probably the cause of the lameness. Our decision not to wait any longer to euthanize was the right one.
Ozzie was a great turkey and although he would go for blood with most of the keepers and wasn’t all that friendly to his former female companion Harriet (who moved to keeper Kent’s house because of Ozzie’s non stop harrassment), I will really, really miss him. He’s been my desktop picture forever and I have a nice scar on my leg to remember him by. Many years ago, Ozzie somehow popped the air sac in his chest. Until it healed, it would fill up with air, and keepers had to draw large amounts of air ( 100-150 cc’s if I remember correctly) out of his chest using a needled syringe twice a day. Then we had to massage his chest to push out the last of the air. While normally an aggressive bird, he was really weak and passive at the time. He recovered nicely and ever since has held a bit of my heart!
Ozzie endured a lot of Thanksgiving comments, and had a lot of vocal conversations with visitors. He was a really beautiful bird; you can see him in his full, fanned out display here. He was a rare breed, with a rare personality, and we’re all sad he’s gone. Below is a nice video Cassidy took about a month ago of turkey enjoying some freshly laid mulch. Please feel free to leave your fond Ozzie memories in the comments section.