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Turkeys and Thanksgiving go hand-in-hand

November 17, 2018

It is that time of the year, which families gather and eat many feasts. Some of those feasts revolve around a certain bird: A Turkey.

Turkeys were first domesticated in Mexico many centuries ago. It was not until the 1500s when the bird was introduced to England. It was not until 1620 that the Pilgrims brought the bird with them to the new world. Introducing them to the first Thanksgiving. However, wild turkeys still roamed the land.

Thanksgiving was not celebrated annually President Abraham Lincoln made it a federal holiday on the last Thursday on the month of November in 1863. Franklin Roosevelt changed the date to one week earlier to add an extra week of Christmas shopping in 1939. There was a huge disapproval from the American public so the date was reset to the last Thursday again in 1941.

In 1843, with the release of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol,” the turkey became a popular serving during Christmas dinner. Several turkey varieties live in America and the largest is the Bronze turkey. A tom turkey can reach a weight of 50 pounds. They are popular for use in restaurants since it would be too large for a standard home oven.

Every year you hear someone talk about being tired from eating turkey. They say that it contains tryptophan, which is correct. The thing is that other foods also contain tryptophan. Chicken actually contains more than a turkey does. What actually causes a person to be tired after eating turkey? Since the bird is often served at large feasts like Thanksgiving and Christmas people tend to overeat. This overeating makes the digestion process work overtime, which uses a lot of energy. I am sure the mixture of alcohol does not help the sleepiness factor at all either.

A few interesting facts about turkeys:

• Big Bird on Sesame Street is covered in turkey feathers.

• Only the male turkey can gobble.

• Male turkeys strut their stuff around the farmyard trying to attract a female.

• Turkeys can fly in short bursts.

• Bowling three strikes in a row is called a turkey.

• In the 1970s, turkey was used as a slang expression to insult someone for doing something stupid.

Animal Control would like to wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving. Always be safe.

On a side note, Animal Control will be sending out license renewal postcards at the end of the month of November. Licenses will go on sale on Dec 1.

Shawn Flowers is lead animal control officer for Columbus Animal Control.

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