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Monday, 11 December, 2000, 15:13 GMT
Turkey spared Christmas chop
Turkey called Biscuit
Biscuit is left with only a slight limp after the operation
A turkey called Biscuit has undergone a life-saving operation after breaking a thigh bone in a fall from its perch.

While more than 25 million of his fowl friends will be killed for Christmas dinners, the extremely rare Bourbon Red bird will survive.

Surgeon Sorrel Langley-Hobbs inserted a pencil-size four-inch screw into his leg and fastened the pin with four, inch-long screws.

The bird broke his thigh bone in May and is left with only a slight limp from his ordeal.

Ms Langley-Hobbs, of the Cambridge University Veterinary School, said she had only performed the delicate operation before on animals like a kangaroo.

Biscuit the turkey's leg
Biscuit's leg was mended with metal pins

"It was a challenging operation and, to be honest, when we'd done it, I would have given him no more than a 50-50 chance of recovery.

"He seems to have made a full recovery now, although he does walk with a limp."

The bird's owner, Janice Houghton-Wallace, said two-year-old Biscuit has won a number of prizes at national poultry shows and will be saved for breeding.

"I found him lying on the floor. He was in a terrible mess and it wasn't immediately obvious that he had broken his leg.

"I took him to the hospital to see if anything could be done. I wanted to do as much as possible to save his life.

"We'll have to see whether the operation has had any effect on his breeding value."

There are only 200 Bourbon Red turkeys in the UK.

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17 Dec 99 | UK
The turkey bites back
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