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Purdue community welcomes pardoned turkeys home

T

he Purdue community welcomed the Presidentially pardoned turkeys to the Memorial Mall on Nov. 29 as they posed by the Boilermaker Special. With the opportunity to take photos with Peanut Butter and Jelly in an enclosed pen, attendees saw firsthand what made two Broad Breasted White turkeys worthy of President Biden’s pardon. 

Leading up to Monday’s Welcome, Marisa Erasmus, associate professor of animal sciences, said they have worked to keep Peanut Butter and Jelly comfortable with meeting new people and situations by having different students and faculty care for them daily.

 “They handled everything really well, from the red carpet to the pardoning ceremony,” Erasmus said.  

After the long trip home to Purdue from Washington D.C., the 18-week-old pair have settled into their new home.  

“They have a nice outdoor area as well as an indoor, heated area with straw and shavings, food and water, and ample space for them to perform all of their natural and motivated behaviors,” Erasmus said. “Peanut Butter and Jelly will have their custom enclosure all to themselves, with a door allowing them outside with weather permitting.” 

Peanut Butter and Jelly have bright futures at Purdue, Erasmus said, as they plan appearances at future campus events with the goal of educating students on more in-depth poultry care. 

“We will be highlighting them in some of our teaching programs and when we have events, such as the annual Spring Fest,” she said. “We are excited to see how this evolves and how we can feature them and educate students about turkeys and poultry, and animals in general.”

Peanut Butter and Jelly on campus November 29, 2021.

 Photos By Tom Campbell

Turkeys and the Purdue train
Welcome to Purdue turkeys
turkey selfies
Turkeys arrive at Purdue
turkey selfies
turkeys at Purdue
turkeys up close

The pardoned pair have begun showing their caretakers their true feathers, Erasmus said, letting their personalities out as they continue to get comfortable in their new home. 

“Peanut Butter is a bit more stubborn, a little more independent, and Jelly seems to be more of the go-with-the-flow kind of a turkey, but they are friendly, and they approach people,” Erasmus said. “They like to strut their stuff.” 

Erasmus said being there to see Peanut Butter and Jelly walk the red carpet and the pardoning ceremony was an honor. 

“I really want to highlight the great job the turkey farmer, Andrea Welp, did to get the turkeys prepared for the big event. It certainly made things easier for us here at Purdue.” 

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