She was plucked from the obscurity of factory life and presented to a stunned Derry mother as the festive dinner, but against all odds Cracker the Turkey will enjoy her own fourth Christmas this year.
For Cracker will be keeping her head while all around her lose theirs as the pet of turkey farmer Mickey Mullan and his partner Joan McGandry, who live outside Limavady.
But Cracker’s story starts in the Springtown area of Derry, where a stunned local couple were presented with the live bird by their daughter.
Mickey said: “This woman found our number in Yellow Pages or something. Her husband had never killed anything in his life. So we travelled up to Derry and duly came home with this creature, her head sticking out of a Lidl bag in the car. On the way out the woman said, ‘Her name’s Cracker’ and she was thanking us and all, ‘God bless you, God bless you’, she was so pleased.
“Cracker was fully grown, ready for Christmas dinner. She is just a commercial bird, not free range. The birds we rear ourselves are black, stylish looking, top quality. It’s ironic really.”
Joan added: “We took her back down to Limavady with us. and we threw her in the garden thinking we would have her for New Year. And here she is four years later.
“She made us laugh every single day since and now she has become a bit of a celebrity. Local people know her, a lot of people come up here for the music and a lot of people come up here for workshops and everybody has got to know her. People ask about her all the time, I feature her on Facebook. She is known in New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Nepal, Denmark, Spain, America. They all follow her.”
And in case the cold ruffles her feathers this winter or a fox should chance upon her, Cracker has her own Wendy House for protection.