Difficult to slaughter?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by rmonge00, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. rmonge00

    rmonge00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Are turkeys hard to slaughter? They seem so big!! With chickens, I just grab them by their legs, lay their necks on the block, and chop their heads off. Can I do the same with turkeys or are they too aggressive/heavy? What are the ways people on here slaughter their turkeys??

    Thanks for the help!
  2. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    I've never slaughtered either. However my mother tells the story of someone giving her mother a turkey as a gift - this was in the 1920s. Her mother regularly processed chickens, but that was the first time she had to process a turkey. After she was finished, she swore she'd never process or eat turkey again. [​IMG] And, as far as I know, she stuck to it.
  3. CowgirlJules

    CowgirlJules Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2010
    Atwater, CA
    I'm having a hard time developing a decent way. With chickens, I put them in the cone and slit their throats. These turkeys I'm working on now fit in the cone, but it takes them at least half an hour to bleed out and die, and I don't feel that that's very humane.

    So this last one, after he still wasn't dead, I went and got me a stump and a good hatchet. Turns out that's a little tricky to do by oneself; if they move at all, and they do, good luck getting that first stroke in the right spot. And then he bruised his wings flapping around, which they don't do in the cone. I think I'm just going to have to accept that this is a two-person job.

    Sure do wish I had a ten-gallon stock pot for scalding too. They do not fit in the five gallon.
  4. FarmerGilland

    FarmerGilland Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2011
    On Top of the Mountain
    Could you not shoot them in the head? Just asking.
  5. CowgirlJules

    CowgirlJules Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2010
    Atwater, CA
    I may try that next time. I was hoping to keep the spasms to a minimum, which is why I kept trying to use the cone. I don't want them to bruise the meat in the slaughter process.
  6. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Haven't done a turkey yet, but this works for geese.

    Stump, hatchet, and you have to have 2 nails spaced so that the neck will fit through and the head won't. You place the neck between the nails and pull the body out so the neck is straight. That will hold the head and neck still.

    If you are alone and the bird is heavy, you will need something to support the body of the bird.

    Once the bird is killed, hang it by the feet from a "clothesline", a strong wire or rope stretched out and high enough and far enough from anything solid that the bird can't strike an object while in the death throes.
  7. poultrypalacewhidbey

    poultrypalacewhidbey Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 5, 2012
    Whidbey Island, WA
    My method is similar to oregons blues method. I have an old piece of a wooden bead about 4" thick, 12 " wide and 16" long. I lay the turkey down on its side (on one wing) with the birds back toward me, holding both feet with one hand (away from me). The birds body is on the ground. I then stroke the birds neck so that it relaxes and lays its head down on the block. i kill it by chopping the head off with an axe. after cutting off the head I immediately hang it upside down by its feet from a piece of wire hooked to a tree limb and let it bleed out. Severing the spinal cord kills the bird instantly. My turkeys usually flap for about a minute maybe two and they have bled out completely after three minutes. This is my standard way of slaughtering all my birds from bantam chickens to guineas, turkeys and geese. It has worked for me for all sizes of turkeys from young ones that are only a few pounds to big old 26 pound toms (and trust me not all the turkeys wanted to be picked up). Even the wilder turkeys will calm down if you firmly hold them for a minute without letting them flap their wings or kick their feet. If they feel they cannot escape they will not struggle. For some of the big toms i also hold a few primary feathers from the wing that is not pinned to the ground in my hand with the feet. This keeps them from flapping that wing. I have killed over 35 in this manner this year alone and it works better than anything else I have ever tried. I only had one case where I did not kill the bird with the first swing of the axe and that was my fault because I had slaughtered too many birds without resharpening the axe. In that case i was quickly able to cut off the head completely with the second swing.
    hanging the turkeys keeps them from bruising when they flap. I tried a killing cone in past years but found that with a bird as big and strong as a turkey they would struggle while in the cone and tended to panic when I put them in it. I dont think that killing cones hold the bird very securely and getting the bird in the cone causes it a lot of stress so after using one a few times for different types of birds I gave up.
  8. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2008
    I just find a solid branch, make sure there is nothing close enough for them to hit while flapping and hang them by the feet. Then I get a good knife and cut the head off...
  9. litterbitt

    litterbitt Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 6, 2010
    West Central GA
    I did two at Thanksgiving, basically by myself. I used an old feedsack (plastic), and cut a corner off. I had my husband hold it for me while I put the turkey in by the feet, and pulled his head out the corner. Then I tied feet and bag together with a loop through-itself with a dog leash... then draped the whole thing over the deck rail.... it worked!

    I cut the neck like you do a chicken, and left the turkey to bleed out.

  10. mr.mc.

    mr.mc. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2011
    I have done many types of slaughtering, and shooting may be the best way I know. almost no spaz at all if you are a good shot!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by