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No Turkey for Thanksgiving? One Oklahoma farm says never again

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PONCA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- The morning chores, even on a small farm like this, can take Tera Biaggi clear to lunch time on a busy day.

There are chickens to feed and eggs to gather.

Her goat just had two kids last night.

The little ones are still finding their voices.

Cats yes, dogs sure, and lots of horses.

Tera has close to 60 on her place.

She trains some and rescues others.

Biaggi explains, "So diversification uses a farm's resources much more."

Since the first freeze her garden is the only place she can ignore now, but there is one other.

Walking into a small, fenced off pasture Tera says, "This was turkey world at one time."

The old turkey coop is empty.

No turkeys on this farm, not this year.

She recalls past years, "When they got a little bigger we would let them go out on this alfalfa field. They loved that."

Tera and her husband agreed last spring to leave turkeys off their farm menu.

They were kind of expensive to buy, too much trouble to raise.

Their free range philosophy carries risks when the birds are young.

"For those 4 to 6 months it's kind of like 24/7 baby sitting," she says.

But it might have been on one of those lonely walks through the turkey patch, or maybe during one of the many calls from customers who wanted to order for Thanksgiving.

Biaggi started to miss those stupid birds, and vowed she wouldn't go another Thanksgiving without them.

"I miss them," she says. "But I just got busy too. Turkeys are so personable. They're so fun to raise."

There are still plenty of beasts to keep Tera and her family busy this fall.

The table will be groaning with farm raised food for the holiday.

And they can, at least, fill themselves on the promise that, like swallows to Capistrano and buzzards to Hinckley Ridge, Tera's turkeys will come back next year.

There are at least two other small farms in Oklahoma that raise turkeys.

One is near Big Cabin.

The other is near Stillwell, Oklahoma.