Processing BIG birds...

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by peteyfoozer, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. peteyfoozer

    peteyfoozer Chirping

    Jul 5, 2011
    SE Oregon
    My BBW is obviously not going to fit in our killing cone that we use for our CornishX. I am HOPING he will fit in my roaster pan!

    How do you all kill and butcher your turkeys? WIll they fit in the whizbang ok?

    ~nervous in Oregon!
  2. chicken pickin

    chicken pickin Crowing

    Mar 3, 2012
    We have only processed one Turkey ourselves( the others have been sent out) He was a 9 month old bourbon Red(heritage turkey). We decided he was too big to hold upside down to cut his neck so we opted to use and axe and a stump. He didn't bleed out as nice as he would if we cut his neck but it got the job done fast with out us or him getting injured before the deed was done. We also hand plucked(which is more difficult on a turkey then a chicken.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  3. Celie

    Celie Songster

    Mar 23, 2012
    Tickfaw, Louisiana
    I raised really large turkeys, some of the BBWs were about 80 pounds on foot. It took the tractor to lift them! We lifted them as high as we could, so when I cut the throat, I could duck and get out of the way, before he started flapping his wings. If you don't have a tractor, you could install a pulley onto a tree and use a rope to lift him and tie the rope off at the desired height.
    We now raise White Hollands, which max out over 40 #, some over 50#. I didn't weigh them before processing, but after, they dressed out at 34 to 35 #s not counting giblets. We do not have a whizzbang and don't think it would fit, anyway, but if you try, make sure you pluck the large tail feathers and wing feathers, and you might have a chance with a plucker. After the turkey is bled out, we gently lower it into a very large seafood boiling pot, while still hanging from the tractor and into 155 degree water. Hotter water will tare the skin while plucking and cooler water makes plucking a lot harder. We plunge it into the water and count to 10, pull it up and try the wing and tail feathers, if loose enough to come out easily, it ready, if not lower it back in for another 10 count and repeat. The feathers should come out quite easily. It is not much work plucking only 2 or 3 at a time, by hand! Since there are so many squeamish people who read these threads and should realize processing fowl is not like petting a kitty, but will complain at seeing a dead bird, I will send you some pictures of the White Hollands we processed last Thanksgiving in a pm! Hope this helps.
  4. focusonfarming

    focusonfarming In the Brooder

    May 30, 2013
    Placerville CA
    I am new to raising turkeys and currently have 10 birds, 5 BBW and 5 BBB. They will be 5 months old on Sept 4th. The sizes range greatly and I am not sure when to process the birds and at what weight. I know the feathers make them look bigger than what they are, but I have read online that you can butcher them anywhere between 18-24 weeks. Is this a standard time frame to follow?

    Here are some recent photos of some of the Turkeys. I would appreciate any feedback regarding my questions and anything else anyone has to offer regarding care and or time frame to butcher. I was thinking of having someone come to do the "dirty" work since I have never done it before. I was hoping to have 5 done first and learn from the professional and when my last five are ready, I would butcher them myself. Is this a good idea or should I leave this to the pros?

    Oh and I also was wondering what the best way to prepare the bird to freeze and how to package it for such storage.




    1 person likes this.
  5. XOurSimpleLifeX

    XOurSimpleLifeX In the Brooder

    Jul 25, 2013
    I hope someone responds. I am going to be doing the same thing and would love to hear from an experienced person.[​IMG]
  6. chicken pickin

    chicken pickin Crowing

    Mar 3, 2012
    I have also heard of people using the back of a pick up truck. Open the tail gate and lay the turkey in the bed of the truck with hid neck and head hanging off the end. PLace a bucket under his head and have 2 people hold him down and then cut his neck and let him bleed out.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  7. chicken pickin

    chicken pickin Crowing

    Mar 3, 2012
    T prepare the birds for freezing this is what I do. After the birds are culled plucked gutted and washed they get put into a tub of ice water where they stay until all birds are done for the day. I take them out of the ice water 1 by 1 and drain the water from them and pat dry. Then I place them in a freezer stoage bag doing my best to remove all the air I can and zip tie the bag closed. Next let the chicken or turkey rest in the refrigerator for about 3 days and then eat or freeze.

    Im not sure what else your looking for specifically. There are many threads here on BYC covering all of the raising and processing of meat birds. Maybe try specific search words or phrases in the search engine or look through the meat bird forum which has many things talked about daily.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  8. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Songster

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I just purchased some turkey shrink wrap bags from the same place I purchase my chicken shrink wrap bags. While my 4 turkeys are not yet at the correct age for butchering, I've had great results with the chickens I've stored this way. I plan on having one of the turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner, freezing a second for Christmas and then turning the other two into ground turkey or turkey sausages.

    Here's the link for the shrink wrap bags:

    The bags come in several different sizes.
  9. hdmax

    hdmax Chirping

    Jul 29, 2013
    Central Ohio
    I've never raised or butchered BB turkeys, however I have seen many hatchery sites selling then in July/August for Thanksgiving feast. So I am guessing that 16-20 weeks are a good starting point for butchering them.
    Everyone has his/her opinion, and here is mine. I would NEVER pay someone else to butcher my birds. A few weeks back I butchered 8 Cornish cross chickens, and I had never done such a deed in my life. It was easy for the most part. If you do go with having them processed by someone other then yourself/friend, expect to pay a minimum of $10 per bird. And maybe as high as $15. (Chickens cost $2-$5 per bird!) To me that eliminates the cost savings of raising your own meat. I know many including myself raise meat for independence and knowing how they were fed/raised, but money to must be a factor, and adding 40-75 cents per pound is a lot of added expense.
    When I processed my birds, I had a grand total of $1.21 per lb, if I had paid $5 per bird, I would have had more like $2 per lb.
    As I stated, this is just my opinion on the processing of birds.
  10. SIMZ

    SIMZ Crowing

    Apr 29, 2011
    Northwest Indiana
    We just butchered our very first BBB yesterday. We were very concerned about how it would go since we're used to chickens.

    Ours were 16 weeks and dressed out at 25#, 18.2#, and 17#. Not too bad for birds who ran around chasing tomatoes & apples all day with the chickens and Midget Whites. lol

    We use a turkey fryer to scald and the big guy wouldn't fit. We had to hand pluck them because they were too heavy for our standing plucker. I found XL ziplocs at Walmart (10 gallon) to put them in and they work very well - with plenty of room to spare. Next time I'll probably try the shrink wrap bags....although we'll need a bigger pot first.

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