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Science

A California farm is inviting visitors to 'cuddle' turkeys

The farm describes turkeys as intelligent and compassionate sentient beings.

turkey; turkey cuddling; California; The Gentle Barn
Photo by William Stark on Unsplash

A farm in California is offering turkey cuddling this Thanksgiving.

With the holidays right around the corner, people are starting to make their plans. One farm in California is offering a new way to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and some people may just take them up on it. The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita, California, is a nonprofit hosting a turkey cuddling event on Thanksgiving Day.

Sure, most people are probably thinking that you planned to eat turkey for Thanksgiving and then complain about how tight your pants have suddenly gotten. But the people that run The Gentle Barn are saying turkey cuddling should be on list.


Turkey cuddling is exactly what it sounds like, which isn't what most people think about when the image of a turkey comes to mind. The Gentle Barn rescues a turkey each year that would otherwise be slaughtered and brings it to the farm for some wholesome family-friendly cuddles. The farm describes turkeys as intelligent and compassionate sentient beings. Thanksgiving on the farm is nothing new. Previously they used to have dinner after the event but this year it's strictly turkey cuddles and a slice of vegan pie.

Wild turkeys.

Photo by Tyler Moulton on Unsplash

The Gentle Barn has two other locations, one in Nashville, Tennessee, and another in St. Louis, Missouri. All three of the locations offer Thanksgiving turkey cuddles, though prices vary by location. Once you pay the minimum donation price, you get 90 minutes to hug, chat with and feed the turkey. It's kind of like how every year the president pardons a turkey and we never hear about it again. Think of this event as a chance to cuddle the pardoned turkey.

If you're curious what happens to the turkeys after they've had their fill of human affection, the answer is nothing. The turkeys don't get eaten later or anything, they get to just gobble gobble until their little hearts are content. Big birds aren't the only animals on the farm. It has more than 200 other animals including cows that are used to provide cow hug therapy. I'm noticing a theme here and something tells me that the animals at The Gentle Barn are not lacking cuddles.

In a video posted to the farm's Facebook page, they explain that they hope the event will change people's minds, saying “Just because we’ve always done something a certain way, doesn't mean that we always need to in the future."

The woman in the video concluded by saying, “We can change our traditions and we can make them kinder and more gentle. So this year we are inviting you to come to a Gentle Barn location near you and celebrate turkeys."

If going to hang out with an affectionate turkey sounds like a good time to you, then check out one of the three locations on the big day. Bring the kids and go give the bird some well-deserved cuddles before heading back home to eat all of the other fixings, minus the turkey.

via Chewy

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Children's smiles are infectious, and not in the scary pandemic kind of a way. There's simply nothing better in this world than the face of a bright-eyed little human beaming with happiness, which is why a recent TikTok trend has people grinning from ear to ear themselves.

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@thechavezfamilyy

The end 😭😭 why am I bawling at this trend?! He’s SO CUTE #momsoftiktok #momtok #toddlersoftiktok

That face. OMG.

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@themarshhfamily

The end did it for me 🥹😭I birthed such a sweet, loving and encouraging little boy!! #momtok #toddlersoftiktok #taylorswiftchallenge #lovestorychallenge #boymom #toddlermom

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@makingthemoffitts

#nationaladoptionmonth #adoptionawareness #thisisadoption #thisisfostercare #adoption #fostercare #makingthemoffitts #lovestorychallenge #taylorswift

Some dads have gotten in on the trend as well. Look at the way this little girl beams at her daddy.

@durbanofamily

Had to jump on the trend! Love this beautiful girl!

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@haleigh.booth

It’s the side eye at the end for me 😆😂😂😂😂

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@elliegoldenlife

This is why I don’t dance 😂

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This is the most important van in NYC… and it’s full of socks.

How can socks make such a huge difference? You'd be surprised.

all photos provided by Coalition for The Homeless

Every night, the van delivers nourishment in all kinds of ways to those who need it most

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Homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Over 50,000 people sleep each night in a shelter, while thousands of others rely on city streets, the subway system and other public locations as spaces to rest.

That’s why this meal (and sock) delivery van is an effective resource for providing aid to those experiencing homelessness in New York City.

Every night of the year, from 7pm to 9:30, the Coalition for the Homeless drives a small fleet of vans to over 25 stops throughout upper and lower Manhattan and in the Bronx. At each stop, adults and families in need can receive a warm meal, a welcoming smile from volunteers, and a fresh, comfy new pair of Bombas socks. Socks may be even more important than you think.

Bombas was founded in 2013 after the discovery that socks were the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.

Access to fresh, clean socks is often limited for individuals experiencing homelessness—whether someone is living on the street and walking for much of the day, or is unstably housed without reliable access to laundry or storage. And for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness —expenses might need to be prioritized for more critical needs like food, medication, school supplies, or gas. Used socks can’t be donated to shelters for hygienic reasons, making this important item even more difficult to supply to those who need it the most.

Bombas offers its consumers durable, long-lasting and comfortable socks, and for every pair of Bombas socks purchased, an additional pair of specially-designed socks is donated to organizations supporting those in need, like Coalition for the Homeless. What started out as a simple collaboration with a few organizations and nonprofits to help individuals without housing security has quickly become a bona fide giving movement. Bombas now has approximately 3,500 Giving Partners nationwide.

Though every individual’s experience is unique, there can frequently be an inherent lack of trust of institutions that want to help—making a solution even more challenging to achieve. “I’ve had people reach out when I’m handing them a pair of socks and their hands are shaking and they’re looking around, and they’re wondering ‘why is this person being nice to me?’” Robbi Montoya—director at Dorothy Day House, another Giving Partner—told Bombas.

Donations like socks are a small way to create connection. And they can quickly become something much bigger. Right now over 1,000 people receive clothing and warm food every night, rain or shine, from a Coalition for the Homeless van. That bit of consistent kindness during a time of struggle can help offer the feeling of true support. This type of encouragement is often crucial for organizations to help those take the next difficult steps towards stability.

This philosophy helped Bombas and its abundance of Giving Partners extend their reach beyond New York City. Over 75 million clothing items have been donated to those who need it the most across all 50 states. Over the years Bombas has accumulated all kinds of valuable statistics, information, and highlights from Giving Partners similar to the Coalition for the Homeless vans and Dorothy Day House, which can be found in the Bombas Impact Report.

In the Impact Report, you’ll also find out how to get involved—whether it’s purchasing a pair of Bombas socks to get another item donated, joining a volunteer group, or shifting the conversation around homelessness to prioritize compassion and humanity.

To find out more, visit BeeBetter.com.

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Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

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