Stacy Benjamin Of 5R Farm Loves Raising Turkeys

We talk turkey with farm owner Stacy Benjamin about how she got into raising turkeys, the birds' curiosity and those eye-catching snoods.

by Phillip Mlynar
PHOTO: Stacy Benjamin

When Stacy Benjamin picked up four heritage Narragansett turkey poults from a local feed store in 2014, she “instantly fell in love” with the birds. Since then, Benjamin has built on her initial turkeys to run the 5R Farm in St. Helens, Oregon. Alongside raising turkeys, the enterprise now includes bees and produce, plus a line of home goods featuring all-natural soaps and lotions.

We spoke to Benjamin about the roots of her turkey love, how social media helps connect turkey lovers and the popularity of #TurkeySnoodSunday, a hashtag she invented.

Picking up Turkeys

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SUSPICIOUS SNOODS ?? a little pile of wood shavings carried on a garbage can lid was the talk of turkey town! ? Funny how two things they’re used to seeing separately when stacked together become a totally baffling object worthy of much speculation! ?‍♀️?‍♀️ What’s the snoody news at your farm? I’d love to see your turkeys for #TurkeySnoodSunday! Please say you are playing along with me and tag me on your pic so I don’t miss any of the snoody fun! I’ll post a collage of my favorites on Monday. ? As a special treat, I’ll be giving away a piece of turkey themed art to my favorite #TurkeySnoodSunday post this month, so be sure to join me every Sunday! ??? #backyardturkeys #heritageturkey #raisingturkeys #backyardpoultrymag #iamcountryside #countrysideandfarmlife #iamamodernfarmer #farmlifebestlife #farmlife #countryliving #farm #farmlife #rurallife #lifeouthere #raw_country #rural_love #trb_rural

A post shared by Stacy ?‍? Soap ? Snoods ? (@5rfarmoregon) on

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Looking back on her first foray into raising turkeys, Benjamin recalls instantly noticing how, “Baby turkeys have really large eyes, and they are very curious of nature. In contrast to baby chicks, which can often be skittish and run away when you put your hand into their brooder, young poults (baby turkeys) will usually come right over to you and can be picked up without the usual fuss that occurs when you try to pick up a baby chick!”

The Fab Four

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Happy Thanksgiving from Ringo, Eleanor, Dear Prudence, Pumpkin Pie and the entire feather family at 5R Farm! ? We hope your day is filled with good company, good food, love and laughs, too much dessert, and a feeling of gratitude and contentment in a life well lived! ? I’m so thankful to have connected with all of you here on IG. It’s so important to be able to share experiences, whether it’s a good day or a bad day on the farm, and know that you can relate. So thank you for following along and taking the time to connect and comment. It really does mean so much. ?? #thankful @iamcountryside ??? #countrysideandfarmlife #homesteadeverafter @faulkfamilyfarm #smallfarmcharm @smallfarmcharm #backyardturkeys #turkeysofinstagram #turkeys #raisingturkeys #heritageturkey #backyardpoultrymag #iamcountryside #iamamodernfarmer #farmlifebestlife #farmlife #homestead #countryliving #homesteadersofamerica #farmlife #rurallife #oregonfarm

A post shared by Stacy ?‍? Soap ? Snoods ? (@5rfarmoregon) on

One of Benjamin’s original four turkeys is named Ringo and has become a star of the 5R Farm’s social media accounts. “Ringo is very well behaved with me and will put up with my affections,” says Benjamin. “He absolutely loves the camera and is quite the photo-bomber—whenever I take photos in the turkey yard, regardless of whether I’m trying to photograph him or not, he’ll come right on over and get right in front of the camera.”

Ringo is flanked by Eleanor and Dear Prudence, who were added to the farm when they were five months old, and Pumpkin Pie, who hatched a few years ago. “Prudence has got a very big personality for a small lady,” says Benjamin. “She is often seen strutting and exerting her dominance over pretty much everyone else in the flock! And Pumpkin Pie is my absolute favorite of all of my turkeys. She’s the first to come up to me whenever I go into the turkey yard, and she will tolerate lap time and snuggles—sometimes she will even fall asleep in my lap!”

Curious Birds

Asked whether turkeys are sociable animals, Benjamin says she considers them more “curious” creatures. “They will come running up to me every time I go into the turkey yard whether I have treats or not,” she explains. “If I have feed or treats with me, they will come up and eat out of my hand. But if I try to pet them they will back away a few feet just out of arm’s reach. No matter what I’m doing in the turkey yard, whether it’s chores or just hanging out, they will always come up to investigate—but I only have a couple of turkeys that will sit with me and tolerate petting or snuggles.”

Turkey Snood Sundays

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Turkeys are magical unicorns ?? I mean just look at that pointy snood riding high and proud, it’s pretty dang amazing if you ask me. ? I’d sure love to see your turkey today for #TurkeySnoodSunday! Please say you are playing along with @5rfarmoregon for #TurkeySnoodSunday in your description and tag me on your photo so I don’t miss any of your posts. I’ll post a collage of my favorites on Monday. ? ? ? #backyardturkeys #turkeysofinstagram #turkeys #raisingturkeys #heritageturkey #backyardpoultrymag #iamcountryside #iamamodernfarmer #farmlifebestlife #farmlife #homestead #countryliving #farm #raw_country #country_features #rural_love #homesteadersofamerica #farmlife #rurallife #trb_rural #oregonfarm

A post shared by Stacy ?‍? Soap ? Snoods ? (@5rfarmoregon) on

If you check out the 5R Farm Instagram account, you’ll quickly come across a series of posts tagged #TurkeySnoodSunday. The trend is all about showing off turkeys posing in a proud fashion to display their magnificent snoods. Benjamin started the hashtag as a way to “connect with fellow turkey lovers.” She adds, “Tom turkeys have the most impressive snoods when they are fully extended and hang down several inches alongside their face, but I love all kinds of snoods. I think it’s really cute when tom turkeys have their snood retracted into a short pointy unicorn snood, and I also love the sweet little snoods of lady turkeys and turkey poults, too.”

Beyond Turkey

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I’m so thankful to have found not only my chicken lady and turkey loving tribe here on IG but also for the support and friendship of the wonderful maker community. ? Whenever I need a gift and I want to give something besides the soap I make ? I have a whole group of talented makers I can turn to for the perfect gift idea. If you are looking for unique holiday gift ideas, swipe to see a few of the beautiful treasures I’ve received from my fellow IG makers, each maker is tagged on their pic, and of course if you are in need of any natural handmade soaps, lotions, or other farm made gift ideas I’d be happy to help you out! I do most of my maker posts over @5rfarmsoap so give me a follow there so you don’t miss out on the latest, and also check out my shiny new website at ✨ ? or see link in my profile and let me know what you think! ? Thanks as always for your support. I REALLY appreciate it and you! ? #5rfarmsoap #handmadesoap #treatyourself #scrubadubdub #holidaysoap #pumpkinspice #hotcocoa #applecider #peppermint #frankincenseandmyrrh #homesoapmaking #makersgonnamake #communityovercompetition #shopsmall #supportsmallbusiness #smallbusinesssaturday2019 #farmmade #madeinoregon

A post shared by Stacy ?‍? Soap ? Snoods ? (@5rfarmoregon) on

Alongside raising turkeys on 5R Farm, Benjamin also sells a line of home goods and beauty products. “I think handmade soap is such a great way to treat yourself, and it’s great for gift giving, too,” she says. “It’s practical because it’s something that everyone needs. Handmade soap has such wonderful moisturizing properties as compared to many commercially produced soaps. It’s an affordable luxury that everyone should try.

“My lotions and lotion bars are made with all-natural ingredients selected for their moisturizing properties,” she adds. “I have had lots of people tell me that my lotions are a lifesaver for their dry hands in the winter.”

Follow the 5R Farm at Instagram.

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