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Almost Turkey Time !!!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by jab91864, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. jab91864

    jab91864 Songster

    Apr 3, 2007
    Northern Michigan
    Just curious how many days beforehand everyone will be butchering their Thanksgiving turkey ??

    I already butchered my two largest and put them in the freezer last month. The other turks are all heritage breeds and smaller so they got to live longer...lol.

    With Thanksgiving being on the 22nd, I was thinking of doing the deed on the 17th which is the Saturday before. I figure I can let it soak until T-Day.

    What are your plans ???

    Julie [​IMG]
  2. eggcetra_farms

    eggcetra_farms Songster

    Jun 26, 2007
    San Antonio, TX
    My husband and I were thinking about getting some turkeys for next year (with it, of course, being too late to do it this year). We've never had turkeys before.

    I'm curious - when do you butcher them? Are they loud? We live in the city, and I don't know how well keeping them will be if they're very loud. What would be the best breed for a nice Thanksgiving meal?

    Sorry to jump in on your thread Julie. Just thought that whoever could answer your questions could answer mine too. Kinda like "killing two birds with one stone." lol
  3. jab91864

    jab91864 Songster

    Apr 3, 2007
    Northern Michigan
    LOL... no problem.

    This is my first year having turkeys so I can't give tons of advice but will tell you what I've learned so far.

    *Turkeys fly well
    *Turkeys like to be up high
    *Turkeys have big feet that LOVE to scratch all the food out
    *Turkeys will stand in the water tub and irritate the ducks by doing so
    *Turkeys eat a lot, more so if they are penned up all the time
    *My cats are afraid of the turkeys
    *The poo is messier, atleast in my opinion...maybe cuz it's a bigger splat I dunno.
    *If you have a big family to feed or like tons of left overs get a meat turkey, the giant white or broadbreasted bronze....be warned they grow FAST and from spring to turkey day can weigh over 30 lbs dressed out.
    *If you have a smaller group to feed and want to have the whole bird on the table looking pretty you might want to consider a heritage breed as they grow slower so will be smaller.
    *Toms fight just like rooster but being bigger it can be more intimidating
    *The gobble can be loud if you have a group, would probably stand out in the city as not a normal noise
    *Turkeys look so pretty all fanned out doin their dance
    *It's sorta cool to see the whole flock get excited and run right at you.... because you bring food..lol
    *It can be intimidating to have them run at strangers or circle strangers/other family members
    *It can be scarey to wake up and see a turkey staring in at you because you over slept past their normal 7am feeding time
    *Turkeys won't always come out of the rain no matter how much you beg them
    *Turkeys do not need help getting down from high places even if they seem to be asking for help..I have scars from that one..lol
    *Turkeys need extra help learning to eat and drink in the beginning...someone told me put them in with a couple chicks and they will watch them and learn...worked for me.
    *Turkeys can put up quite the struggle if you try to pick them up to make them do or go where you want
    *It takes a very big pot to scald a turkey...I tried a new metal trash can but it leaked all the water out before I could get the water hot enough...next time note to self is use a bead of jb weld on the bottom seal.
    *In my opinion the turkeys pluck easier than chickens

    Well guess thats all I can think of for the moment. If I were going to get big meat turks again and wanted to butcher them fresh for Thanksgiving I would not get them until June or July otherwise they get so cumbersome they looked pained to walk, almost seems cruel.

    Julie [​IMG]
  4. eggcetra_farms

    eggcetra_farms Songster

    Jun 26, 2007
    San Antonio, TX

    Thanks for all your words of wisdom. I'm going to share this info with my husband, as he is becoming interested more and more each day about "country life." My chicken trap worked!! lol Thanks again.
  5. adoptedbyachicken

    adoptedbyachicken Crowing Premium Member

    I'll add one more thing, turkeys bark. Yip just like a dog they bark when disturbed and I think if noise is an issue to you don't go there. They are way noisier than chickens even on a good day. the smell is much stronger too so if you have close neighbours that could be an issue.
  6. jab91864

    jab91864 Songster

    Apr 3, 2007
    Northern Michigan
    Until you mentioned bark I forgot, they growl. The other night I didn't get home till after dark. The turkeys had been free ranging that day and my son couldn't get them to follow him in the pen.

    So they were roosted right beside the pen and one by one I started to pull them off their chosen spots and carry them to the pen. Experience has taught me how to grab them so I don't get mauled and hold them tight and close keeping the kicking legs from doing any damage to me....lol.
    Anyway I grabbed the last tom.....you would figure by now he's seen the other FIVE get plucked off and me talking he'd know what is going on, anyway I get hold of him and he growled at me like a mad dog.

    My son who is a foot taller then me backed up 6 ft and said OMG, did you hear that........

    Like I said just like chickens but think bigger scale which makes them more intimidating to some ppl.

    I originally ordered 9 poults because I had heard there was such a high death rate in turkeys when they are young. I was fortunate that from 1-day old chicks shipped I only lost one.
    I never planned on having 8 reach butchering size. I have toyed with keeping a trio of the heritage for breeding so next year I will not have to buy poults. Now that fall has come and they are bigger and the toms are coming into themselves I am thinking do I really want to hassle with turkeys next year...lol.

    I plan to butcher one for our Thanksgiving dinner and give several away, beyond that I am unsure.


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