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Turkeys make smooth adjustment to Boilermaker life

June 19 was National Turkey Lovers Day—and while that day focuses on encouraging people to eat turkey year round (IN is #4 in turkeys raised), Purdue Agriculture is celebrating by checking on Indiana’s famous presidentially pardoned turkeys Peanut Butter and Jelly with Animal Sciences Assoc. Prof. Marisa Erasmus.

Peanut Butter & Jelly - pardoned turkeys

How have the turkeys settled in to their new home? 

Since arriving at Purdue in November, Peanut Butter and Jelly have adjusted well to their new environment and interact daily with their regular caretakers, who ensure that they have everything they need to perform their naturally motivated behavior. Their personalities have certainly become more pronounced. Peanut Butter usually approaches people first, whereas Jelly likes to take a bit longer to take things in before approaching. They both enjoy being able to go outside when the weather permits and strut around their enclosure. 

How have they handled public appearances? 

Peanut Butter and Jelly have adjusted very well to life as Boilermakers, and have made a small number of public appearances. Our farm staff and students have done an excellent job at continuing to socialize the turkeys and make sure that they are used to being around people. They were great to have at Purdue’s Spring Fest, where people of all ages could learn more about turkeys and these two turkeys in particular.

Will they be making an appearance at the Indiana State Fair?

We do plan to have them visit the state fair and will be sure to include that information in future communications.

How has their presence on campus affected students?

Purdue students have learned a lot more about turkeys and the tradition of pardoning turkeys at the annual White House ceremony. For some students, visiting Peanut Butter and Jelly has provided a much-needed break from the daily stressors of college life. Other students have had the opportunity to develop ideas for enriching the turkeys’ environment and encouraging their natural behavior and to participate in some of the decision-making around the turkeys’ care. In addition to interacting with the turkeys, our Poultry Club students have participated in outreach activities, such as at Spring Fest.

 

Banner Photo Caption: Four-year-old Ellie Clayton meets Peanut Butter and Jelly at the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry, where her grandfather Mike Veenhuizen was honored as a Certificate of Distinction winner. 

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