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‘B.C.’s luckiest turkey’ dies

A one-legged turkey well known to British Columbians as Gertie has died.

The Vancouver Courier dubbed the bird the province’s luckiest turkey last fall after she was rescued from a barn stall days away from being served as Thanksgiving dinner due to an accident that severed her leg. 

Michelle Singleton, founder of A Home for Hooves Farm Sanctuary, took care of Gertie after her accident and confirmed to the Vancouver Courier that the bird died this winter from complications with a septic wing. 

“It was a constant battle dealing with cuts and abrasions on her wings due to her mobility issues,” Singleton said. “One of the cuts on her wing became infected and we had her under the care of the local farm veterinarian.”

Singleton added that it was difficult to treat the turkey because many antibiotics regularly used to treat an infection are prohibited with turkeys.

After consulting with a specialist at a veterinary hospital, they decided to use an “off label” antibiotic that they thought might treat the turkey’s infection. 

“We then took her home and I kept her in my room to keep a close eye on her,” Singleton said. “At 4 a.m. I was awoken to her having a seizure and she died in my arms.”

In October when Gertie was rescued by Singleton’s animal sanctuary she caught the attention of many British Columbians, especially those in the vegan community. 

Singleton partnered with the Vancouver Vegan Resource Centre and two other community organizations to throw the bird a Thanksgiving dinner that would raise money for a prosthetic leg. 

The event raised $1,100 where it was spent on Gertie’s new leg in addition to a special bird run that would help Gertie and a chicken named Henry that had similar mobility issues. 

It also helped cover some of the costs required to care for the sanctuary’s 35 animals. 

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Gertie owes a special thank you to Susan M’Gonigle and Lindsay Howden for sewing the material on her therapy chair together. This chair allows her to spend some much needed time off the ground and standing upright. Also wanted to update everyone on her prosthetic – we received the first prototype but her leg shape has changed so we are having it adjusted. We should have the new one in a few weeks. #mercyforanimals #veganlove #poweredbyplants #endfactoryfarming #veganheart #veganfoodshare #saveanimals #speciesism #animalexploitation #picoftheday #veganstatement #compassion #veganwerdenwaslosdigga #animallover #idonteatmyfriends #veganism #veganquotes #compassionoverkilling #veganactivism #veganactivist #empathy #earthling #fightforanimals #veganmovement #animalsarefriends #veganfood #nocrueltyfood

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While the prosthetic leg ended up only arriving one day before Gertie died, Singleton told the Courier that both the prosthetic and the run would be used for any other birds that need it. 

Gertie has been buried in the sanctuary’s memorial garden alongside a cow that died of cancer and two other chickens.