Video: Hopetoun turkeys ‘sing’ along to radio

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STAFF a Lothian estate claim a flock of turkeys destined for the dinner table have formed their own choir – and love singing along to the radio.

Workers at Hopetoun Farm, near South Queensferry, noticed the gang of turkeys were gobbling along to tracks they heard on a farm tractor.

Hopetoun farm and estate manager Mike Eagers with 'his turkey choir. Picture: contributed

Hopetoun farm and estate manager Mike Eagers with 'his turkey choir. Picture: contributed

It sounds feather-brained but – to prove it’s true – farm workers have now filmed the unlikely choir “singing” along to a track .

The result, posted on YouTube, is unlikely to threaten for the Christmas number one spot, but it has got tail feathers all over the estate shaking.

One estate source said: “At first none of us could believe it, but it’s hilarious, the turkeys all love singing along to the radio.”

Christmas tunes such as Jingle Bells are the ones most fancied by the doomed birds.

But modern chart tunes have also been known to get them shuffling their feet.

Estate workers say they can tell the birds are “singing” because of the range and intonation of the gobbles they use – and because they go into a chirping frenzy only when they hear music.

Our insider said: “They are definitely reacting to the music. We’re used to rearing turkeys here and, I have to say, we’ve never come across behaviour like it before. It’s very odd.”

Mike Eagers, farm and estate manager at Hopetoun, said he was the first to notice.

He said: “We first noticed when I left the radio on in the tractor and they began to join in. Now it has become a bit of a routine that when the Hopetoun staff go to feed the birds and tuck them in for the night, they bring along the radio and a chorus begins.

“The turkeys particularly enjoy the high notes and chip in with their own little ad libs.”

It is the male species of the turkey family which appears to be the most tuneful, with the leader of this unusual choir said to be a male turkey called Bing.

The loudest and most vocal of the gang, he has been labelled the Gary Barlow of the poultry world. And – in what should be music to Bing’s ears – we can reveal he is likely to be spared the Christmas chop.

The same, alas, cannot be said for his singing chums.

At present, their singing days are numbered, with most, if not all, of them likely to end up on Christmas dinner tables in a couple of weeks.

Our estate source said: “It’s what they are reared for and they have good lives. Most people’s experience of this kind of singing is the programme The Choir on telly. That always has a happy ending, but this is reality.”

Lucky Bing isn’t the first turkey to dodge the butcher’s blade. Last year we revealed farm bosses spared a turkey named Miss McFeathers after she fell for a strutting peacock by the name of Pendragon.

Mr Eagers said: “We love that our turkeys have talent and would certainly give them a spot on any Christmas top ten.”

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com