Turkey to Chicken Assignment Surgery

Turkeys are Going Under the Radar for Thanksgiving

by Tim Neavin, M.D.

Turkeys across the country are wobbling into plastic surgeon’s offices just weeks prior to Thanksgiving requesting body altering surgery to look more like chickens. They’re attempting to  to save their necks from the butcher’s block.

I have seen a surge in the last few weeks of turkeys wobbling into my office requesting to be altered to look more like chickens. Many turkeys naturally become fearful this time of year.  And when they can’t find a suitable hiding spot, they opt for the next best thing. They go under the knife with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to mask their tasty appearance.

Goals of the Transformation

In my experience of turkey-to-chicken assignment surgery, I’ve found the most important physical components to address is to not only the alteration of color of the birds, but to also modify the feather distribution. Of critical importance, one must also pay close mind to the chicken head’s prominent comb.

The surgeon must learn to appreciate the turkeys distinctive appearance. This includes the dark colored plumage with a featherless neck and a head. Thus, feather lightening and feather transplantation are critical in properly transforming the turkey.

In addition, turkey-to-chicken assignment surgery may also include a gender assignment component. Turkeys do not possess the rooster’s head comb. Thus, male turkeys (also known as a Tom, gobbler, cock or stag) must be transformed to look like Hens.  Creation of the head comb is a rather lengthy procedure with long down time.

Current Obstacles to the Transformation

However, even these surgical maneuvers don’t always fool the neighborhood butcher. Turkeys generally are much larger than chickens, and for the overgrown turkey, even liposuction can not provide the necessary body modification to create the chicken’s natural body habitus.

Thus, for turkeys weighing over 15 pounds, I generally decline operating as I do not feel comfortably that I can meet their expectations. For this subset of turkeys, I recommend rapid exodus to either to Canada or Mexico, where Thanksgiving is not recognized or celebrated.

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