methods of dispatching *large* turkeys?


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
I really, really hate to say it but the time has about come for my three BBB's. We need to serve one to relatives next weekend, so I am figuring next wednesday or thursday will be the day.

However, they (Larry especially) are so darn *big* -- they are about 5 months old -- that I am having a little trouble wrapping my mind around how I am going to do this singlehanded. And it *does* need to be singlehanded, sigh.

At the moment I am thinking I can temporarily bolt a spare fencepost across the two gateposts of the turkey paddock, throw a couple loops around the bird's feet and hoist it up, upside down.

I am leery of planning to just slit their throats, though, as I have recently been whacked briskly in the face by the wings of slightly younger Ridley bronzes and it *hurt*, I do not think I want to get inadvertantly punched by a 30-40 lb bird. But I do not know how I could make a Larry sized cone nor get him *into* it.

What if I poked a hole in the corner of a feedbag for the neck to stick out, I wonder if that would control the flapping enough, do you think?

Or I could lug a stump over and use an axe, I spose, then stand waaaay back.

I dunno, anyone have any advice on SOLO processing of very large turkeys? Biggest thing I've done previously was a 9 lb CornishX and that's really not in the same league.

(I am figuring that Larry will have to be parted out, I don't believe he'll fit in the fridge or oven whole and i don't have big enough bags anyhow - the hens are more reasonable sized although of course still Large)

Thanks very much for any suggestions,

I'm looking forward to replies, because I face basically the same dilemma: monster birds that need processing. Right now I plan on putting them in cages, transporting them to the kill area, and hoisting them up with a rope something like you suggest only tying (or perhaps wiring) the feet together rather than just wrapping the rope.

We will be doing the deed this Sunday, so if you hear no other feedback before then, I'll be sure to let you know how things went.
The feed sack will work. It doesn't take as big a hole as you would think, just big enough to get the head through. The you have to tie the feed sack up tight behind them to keep them from drawing the neck back into the hole, and reduces the amount of flopping they can do. The advantage of this is not having such a bloody carcass to deal with. If you are going to part them out, skinning would be the easiest if you don't just have to have the skin. If you don't have a pot big enough to scald with, you can wrap the bird in towels and pour boiling water over the towels. This will scald them pretty good.
I have the same problem I plan to butcher on Sun. as well, 10 cockerels and my 2 largest BBW. If I don't do them soon they are not going to fit in the oven!! The feed sack is a good idea. My birds are so tame you can walk up to them and pick them up so I'm thinking about wrapping the wings down with some duct tape to reduce the flapping.
Ohh why did I click on this?

I am glad my turkeys are just wee babys and my RP hen is so skinny she wont have to worry about ending up on my table.
Turkeys are for lovin` not eatin`....

I understand tho. Those heavy breeds have to end up on the .. table..
If they are real big you will want another to help you.

The helper stands on the wings while holding the feet and you would slit the throat and helper hold on to it till it bleeds out.

Or solo one would just need cones

or solo tie its feet to a close line (stronger) or ?? and proceed that way.
I like the feed sack idea. I am considering using the club stun method Jako uses then doing a slit for good bleed out. I tend to prefer the axe because it is so quick, but there ain't know way I'm going to be able to hold one of these big babies on the chopping block long enough to get a proper swing.
Ditto, I have two sons and a husband that fight each over the pleasure/chore. Somehow I think thats wrong, but it gets the job done.
My experience is limited having done my first 2 this past weekend. It went surprisingly well in good part because this forum got me ready to do things correctly. I had a good helper, killing cone, sharp tools and a huge scalding pot. Getting the birds in position was no problem. Doing the deed was emotionally hard but very fast with a sharp heavy cleaver instead of an axe.

Hardest part was dealing with the strength of the nervous twitching after the head was chopped off. Take that back the hardest part was cleanup after dressing the birds. Next time I will do several at once and do the dirty work of plucking etc. over soil instead of on the patio next to the kitchen.

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