How to prevent bruising when processing?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Lelilamom, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    We raise BBWs and each year our Toms dress out at 50 - 60 lbs. We have tried a few different methods of processing but have found no real way of preventing bruising on the wings. They don't fit in our 100lb feed bags so we don't have that as an option to keep them contained. We hang the birds by their feet, necks stretched and remove the head in one swipe. We would like to be as humane as possible.

    Our females dress out at 40+ and last year they tore the feedbag open when thrashing about. This year our hens are about the same size and they are being sold. I'm particularly keen on making sure their wings are not bruised.

    Any ideas on how to prevent bruising?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    IMO, a killing cone is the best way to prevent the thrashing and bruising. For birds that big, commercial cones are very pricey. You could make your own out of sheet metal and rivets.
  3. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    We used duct tape. We hugged them and kept them calm and a second person hooked their feet with rope and duct taped their wings. We tied the rope to the bucket on our tractor and still hugging them, held them up until the bucket was up in the air and we could lower them until they were upside down. My husband stretched their neck and removed the head with one swipe. Both toms and one female ended up breaking the duct tape but only after about 10 seconds. None of the birds ended up bruised at all. We were very pleased with the results and not putting a bag over their head was great - they remained calm right through the end.

    I'm always super concerned about how we process. I want these birds treated humanely and with respect. I think we achieved that.
  4. LittleRock

    LittleRock Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 30, 2014
    Sunny So Cal
    We just did our BBW tom yesterday. He weighed in at 43.6 pounds after the feathers, head & feet. Don't know why I weighed him then, I could have weighed him alive or I guess I can still weigh him now that he's been cleaned and gutted. Anywho, this is my first year doing a bird this big and my usual feed bag method was not an option. I did something similar to Lelilamom's duct tape method except I used rope. I wrapped the rope around him about 3 times before tying it and he still managed to break loose and bruise a bit :(. Guess I will be trying the duct tape method next time. Or perhaps a automotive ratchet strap will work?

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