We stuff them, truss them and roast them for hours. So you must forgive our Thanksgiving turkeys if they don't feel like smiling for the camera.
You're welcome to take photos of them anyway, for a contest sponsored by the California Poultry Federation.
The Modesto-based industry group invites holiday cooks to post photos and videos of their finished birds on its Facebook page, along with descriptions of what made them special.
"We all hope that consumers will find this to be a fun idea and work with their family members to promote the California-grown turkey they are preparing," Bill Mattos, the federation's president, told me this week.
It will award $200 for first place, $150 for second, $100 for third and $50 for fourth. All four winners also will get you guessed it a free turkey.
The entry deadline is Nov. 30. Entrants must be California residents and use turkeys from any of four companies based in the state Foster Farms, Zacky Farms, Mary's Free Range Turkey and Willie Bird Turkey.
The cooks should not submit recipes. Instead, they can describe their general techniques. Do you brine it or dry-rub it to prepare it for cooking? Do you roast it, barbecue it or deep-fry it?
You can share a method long used in your family or something new you have brought to the table.
The contest promotes a farm sector that's quite important around here. Turkey farmers last year had gross income of $67 million in Stanislaus County, $66 million in Merced and $16 million in San Joaquin, according to county crop reports. Tuolumne County contributes, too, thanks to Diestel Family Turkey Ranch.
Mattos said the state's producers sell about 40 percent of their birds at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Much of the rest end up in deli packages and other products consumed year-round.
I'm not allowed to enter contests I write about, but I must say my family has cooked up some photogenic turkeys over the years. The key, we've found, is to rub the skin with plenty of olive oil, salt and spices about as much makeup as Lady Gaga would wear to a photo shoot.
I wish good luck to all of the contestants and to the industry that provides the turkeys for the holiday.
But I think the most memorable photo will not be of a glistening bird waiting to be carved. No, it will be the one taken of the serving platter an hour later, bearing the scraps left by the folks who shared the feast.
To enter the photo contest, visit www.cpif.org. Hover over Consumer Info, then Holiday Cooking, then click on the contest link.
Have an idea for the Farm Beat? Contact John Holland at The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; email@example.com; or (209) 578-2385.
FOSTER FARMS: Visit www.fosterfarms.com any time or call (800) 255-7227 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The Livingston-based company produces turkeys in Turlock.
ZACKY FARMS, Fresno: Visit www.zacky.com any time or call (800) 888-0235 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
MARY'S FREE RANGE TURKEYS, Fresno: www.marysturkeys.com
WILLIE BIRD TURKEYS, Santa Rosa: www.williebird.com
CALIFORNIA POULTRY FEDERATION: www.cpif.org
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: Call (888) 674-6854 for food safety tips and other information.