How do I know if my young turkeys have the weight for processing this thanksgiving?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by natyvidal, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. natyvidal

    natyvidal Chirping

    Mar 1, 2018
    Good morning everyone.
    I have 5 turkeys, narangassett breed, one female and 4 males. I bought them as poults in May, having hatched April 28. They have been fed meat maker, 28% protein and free range plus corn and scratch as treats. Planning to feed them more carbs the last few weeks in November. (Read it’s important.).
    How do I know they’ve gained the weight for processing in November? Can I wait for Christmas? Do I weight them? How much do I allow for the feathers, legs and head? Any info at this point greatly appreciated! Thank you.
  2. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    Weigh them. The general rule of thumb is the dress weight is 70% live weight.
    Heritage breeds reach butcher weight around 28-30 weeks so you should have decent sized carcasses.
    FortCluck and EggSighted4Life like this.
  3. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

    Feb 24, 2013
    Natrona County, Wyoming
    You have a heritage variety of the breed Turkey. They should be near 7 months old for Thanksgiving.

    You can weigh them to get an approximate processed weight. I might be wrong but believe that the live weight minus 30% to 40% will give you an approximation of the processed weight if they are plucked. If they are skinned, the processed weight will be a little less.

    If you don't think they will be big enough for Thanksgiving, you can hold off for Christmas or even Easter.

    You might get better answers in the Meat Birds ETC forum.
    Trimurtisan and EggSighted4Life like this.
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Agreed with others take 30% off of live weight, and process heritage turkeys at 30+ weeks... when YOU are ready... Put one of the Tom's on the Thanksgiving table and grow the rest out longer if he doesn't put out enough meat for your crew.

    Don't forget to process far enough ahead to allow for resting. Brining is recommended... heritage turkeys will NOT cook the same as as a butterball type. So I also suggest researching which way you wanna go. In the past I have done both slow and low or high and quick on leaner meat. I really enjoyed the Pork tenderloin cooked really high for six minutes per pound... then turned the oven off and left inside to rest and finish cooking for a couple hours. If you see method that is similar, it's worth trying sometime. Though it may not be convenient to have the oven off for on a major holiday, so maybe try that one when it's just a regular family dinner. :drool

    We have also served a spatchcocked turkey, and while not as impressive LOOKING as whole.. the flavor was phenomenal and it still presented well enough.

    Also beware, making gravy from drippings after brining can get salty.

    Happy harvesting! :fl
    Trimurtisan and R2elk like this.

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