Wednesday, December 24, 2008


When 49 Christmas dinner shoppers give you the bird because you don't look good enough to eat, you could feel a bit down in the gobble.

But not Wilbur - who is probably the tattiest turkey in Britain.
The nine-month-old Norfolk Black and Blue scoffs at anyone who feels sorry for him being the only one of a flock of 50 left unsold at a pick-your-own farm. For he's now celebrating the festive gift of life - after being adopted as a family pet by owner Peter Hayford. Despite being fed like all his siblings on a diet of home-grown corn, Wilbur weighs just 11lb against their average 15lb. And not only is he scrawny. He has a mis-shapen body, walks with a pronounced limp and has more than a few tail feathers missing. No wonder every would be purchaser reckoned, even within his earshot, that he'd fowl up their oven. Their uncaring roastings though, were definitely Wilbur's gain - as instead of being stuffed he'll now be roaming free on 72-acre Branscombe Farm, near Totnes, Devon, among the beef cattle, chickens, ducks and other turkeys which are kept specifically for breeding. Peter, 66, isn't letting on whether he intends to let Wilbur mate and possibly produce similar offspring. But the dad of four said: "While he might be an ugly creature, we think he's lovely." Peter, who is chairman of the Turkey Club UK and sells his poultry for £3 a pound to pals and neighbours, smiled: "Wilbur will simply become one of the family. "His first Christmas may have been meant to be his last but nobody chose him because he was too sad and bedraggled. "Now so what if he doesn't have the looks? His appearance has made him the luckiest little bird in the world."

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