Inspiring Kindness and Compassion towards Animals, Our Planet, and Each Other
Inspiring Kindness and Compassion towards Animals, Our Planet, and Each Other

Cuddle Turkeys

When guests come to visit The Gentle Barn, they can expect to hug cows, feed horses, give pigs tummy rubs, cuddle turkeys, hold chickens, pet goats and sheep, and so much more. Over the last seventeen years when we ask visitors what they liked the most, they usually say cuddling turkeys. They say that having turkeys fall asleep in their laps is so surprising and unexpected that they carry the memory of it away with them and it changes the way they think of animals and the world around them. Then, as if on cue, they ask me how did I learn that turkeys like to cuddle. I answer that I found it out by accident.

Seventeen years ago, I rescued my first female turkey, and called her Chloe. Each morning while I fed the animals, filled water buckets, groomed the horses, and cleaned the barnyard, Chloe would follow me and talk to me while I worked. She would chirp and squawk and tell me all about her day and I would answer her back with stories of my own. I loved chatting with her and it made my chores go so quickly. One morning she was especially talkative and kept following me. After a while, I started worrying that maybe something was wrong and that she was trying to tell me something. I put down my rake, I sat down on the ground, looked her in the eyes, and asked her if she needed anything. Chloe walked right on to my lap, sat down, closed her eyes, and fell asleep. I worried that there was something wrong with her and examined her body, which was fine. I held her, stroked her feathers, and talked softly to her as she napped for almost an hour! Finally, she was fulfilled and hopped off my lap to chase bugs and explore the barnyard.

After that first day, cuddling with Chloe became a ritual. I would come out to the barnyard early each morning and put hay out for the goats and cows, feed the pigs, chickens, and turkeys, and then I would cuddle with Chloe before cleaning up. It brought me just as much comfort and joy as it did her. Since then we have cuddled all our female turkeys and shared it with our guests from around the world.

At first glance, turkeys seem like unapproachable reptiles with their two eyelids, scaly feet and long necks. However, underneath the bumps and feathers is a warm heart of gold that will lodge itself onto a piece of your soul and never let go! I will forever be in love with turkeys and will spend the rest of my life telling their stories and helping others fall in love with them!

If you haven’t already visited, please come out to The Gentle Barn, cuddle the turkeys, hear their stories, and be enchanted!

By Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn
Author, My Gentle Barn

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  • Thermal Horizon - Windsong Retreat (Spring 2024)

    May 4th 2024 - The Gentle Barn California

    Let’s come together as a community as we support The Gentle Barn in their endeavor to enrich the lives of abused animals worldwide. Let’s bring our loving hearts, the spirit of opportunity and fill our cups emotionally, spiritually, and physically as we celebrate unity in community by helping these wonderful support animals.

  • Chakra Meditation and Sound Healing (Spring 2024)

    May 18th 2024 - The Gentle Barn California

    Clear, Balance and Align your 7 main Chakras through guided meditation, chanting, and Integrative sound bath. When your chakras are aligned, the energy moves through you more freely, and you can feel in harmony with all aspects of your physical, emotional and spiritual self.

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    We are excited to be open to the public again on Sunday, at The Gentle Barn: Tennessee.