Chiken and turkeys

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"Chickens are common throughout the island though they are especially abundant in the towns of Porreres, Felanitx, Manacor, Binissalem, Santa María, Marratxí, Establiments, Palma and others on the plain. Porreres has the greatest reputation in this respect, both in terms of the quantity and quality of the animals. The birds are generally left to roam freely during the day out in the countryside, though before letting them go they are usually given handfuls of barley or oats, a process that’s repeated when their owners want to gather them back. Few properties have henhouses proper, as occurs on the Marquis of Palmer’s estate, S’Avall in the town Santanyí, La Torre belonging to Ms. Catalina Villalonga in Llucmajor, Biniatró belonging to Mr. Bennasar in Campanet, Rafal property of Mr. Moragues in the town of Manacor, La Granja belonging to Mr. Fortuny in Esporles, and Bendinat, previously belonging to the Marquis of La Romana and later Marquis of Despuig.

Recently, the so-called Padua chickens have been introduced, distinguished for their tasty meat, though they only lay eggs in the spring. Mr. Antonio Moragues raises a large number of these on his estate, Son Moragues, in Valldemossa. Some aficionados have attempted to import other species but more out of entertainment than for their use. This is the case with the “Silky” chicken and the “American dwarf” varieties.

After chickens, turkeys are some of the most common birds on the island. They can be found on almost all properties of some importance, though rarely in the mountainous area. By contrast, they are abundant in the municipalities of  Marratxí, Palma (near Prat de Sant Jordi), Sencelles, Santa Eugènia, Algaida and others. We see them in large numbers feeding on grains, insects and and grass in the fields and garrigues, watched over by their young herders (indioters) who use a stick to guide them. These animals are very fond of mastic berries, in addition to feeding on leftovers, acorns and boiled bran. There tend to be two female turkeys in every farm (polles d’Índia) for breeding purposes. In Sa Cabaneta, a neighborhood in the town of Marratxí, this activity represents a true industry which most of its inhabitants are dedicated to like occurs nowhere else on the island.

Mallorcan turkeys are black in color with a pretty metallic shine, though there are also a few which are whitish in color. Rarely are they all white."

Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria. Las Baleares por la palabra y el grabado. Majorca: General Part. Ed. Sa Nostra, Caja de Baleares. Palma de Mallorca. 1982.


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