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processing questions

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by BlueMouse, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. BlueMouse

    BlueMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 5, 2013
    Esperance NY
    Well, we're doing our turkeys this sunday, and although we have the drill down for the meat birds, this is our first time with the turkeys. I have a couple questions I was hoping someone with more experience could answer so we can have a good experience with this. First, how big does my scalder actually need to be? I have a 15 gallon pot but that's honestly looking a bit small.... (they're not the hugest turkeys in the world though. dressed weight I'd expect 17-25lbs) and what kind of bag do you suggest for wrapping the birds? I don't have a good source for the shrink bags, and with only five birds was looking for something sort of simpler and cheaper this year.

    lastly a question about the actual killing. We have done all our butchering to date with a killing cone, but that hardly seems feasible with such a big bird. Seems like getting them into the darned thing would be hard on us and hard on the bird. Does anyone have another method they've had good luck with? We'd prefer to frighten the birds as little as possible, and avoid being beaten to deat by very large wings!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You can make a turkey sized killing cone with a big piece of flashing type sheet metal and pop rivets.
    A big traffic cone may be large enough too.

    Other than that I don't have a lot of advice.
     
  3. BlueMouse

    BlueMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was more concerned with getting the turkey into the cone than making a cone! With even quite a large chicken flopping them upside down and getting them into the cone isn't hard. but the turkey's are BIG and object strenuously to being picked up. We had thought about shooting them with the .22 pistol and then bleeding out....
     
  4. hdmax

    hdmax Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 29, 2013
    Central Ohio
    Do you have feed bags, such as burlap, or the plastic burlap? If so, cut a small hole in a bottom corner large enough for it head. Place the turkey head first into the bag, and with twine, or tape wrap the bag several times to firmly, but not tightly hold the turkey. Make sure the legs extend out the top of the bag securing them together to prevent kicking loose. Then hang the turkey up by its feet on a rafter or tree limb to cut and bleed it out.
     
  5. BlueMouse

    BlueMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    we ended up using the feed sack with the corner cut off. It worked well. We popped it over their head, and my husband shot them with the .22 rifle. Then immediately slit their throats and hung them up to bleed out. It was quick and clean and I think we will do it that way again. It was over before they stopped looking around wondering what was going on. We also ended up using a large stainless steel trashcan on our high powered propane burner (I use for canning) for a scalder. It worked perfectly. I never like butchering day, but tt actually went very smoothly, and I was pleased.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    thanks for the update
     
  7. hdmax

    hdmax Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congratulations on the processing! I to processed Birds today, I really like the burlap bag method for turkeys. I have 1/4" x 30" wire ties that I use to secure them inside the bag, it keeps the wing flapping in check, I also have a ladder hook mounted on the side of the coop and with a nail sized hole near the top of the bag, it makes hanging a snap. A scrap piece of 4x10 oak fastened about where the head hangs makes a perfect spot for a quick swing of an ax.
    I did 2 turkeys, and 8 chickens. How many did you do?
     
  8. BlueMouse

    BlueMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    we did the five turkeys and two extra roosters. we still have a dozen meat birds to do but they're still a bit smaller than I'd like. the chickens we use the killing cone for, very simple and quick. The turkeys were much easier to process after they were all plucked because the carcass is so much bigger. The first one we didn't get the sack over well enought and it flopped everywhere after my husband shot it..... after that we did better with the sack.
     
  9. hdmax

    hdmax Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought you'd like the burlap bag idea. I don't remember where I read about it, but it works great. Yea, getting my big ol paws in a 20 lb turkey was much easier then a 5 lb chicken. I love the traffic cone for chickens, but it is out of the question for turkeys.
     

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