Thinking of getting into meat birds and just want advice/opinions

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Chicks & Turks, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. Chicks & Turks

    Chicks & Turks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Fayetteville, NC
    I have 2 broad breasted white turkeys now, they are 4 months old and we were wanting to keep them as pets before we learned they were meaties and keeping them healthy and happy would be difficult. We may butcher them when they get big. I was thinking of meat chickens though!

    I looked at frugal's thread that is stickied, lots of information. I have a few questions.

    - How hard is it to hand pluck?

    - Is it hard to butcher them, even if you didn't get attached?

    - How do you cut them open?

    - Slit the throat or chop off the head, which one is better for the bird?

    Any other advice is welcome.
     
  2. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 14, 2009
    WV
    - How hard is it to hand pluck?

    Not so bad if you scald them right. With the Cornish X we butcher, if they are not overly pinfeathered (new developing feathers), you can pretty much rub them off. You get faster at it as you go.

    - Is it hard to butcher them, even if you didn't get attached?

    My husband does the actual killing. I can manage to hold the legs. If you hunt or have other livestock for meat, it's not hard. You just remind yourself from the day one that these guys are for the table, those guys are for eggs/pets. I think it helps that they all look alike too!

    - How do you cut them open?

    For the absolute best online tutorial that I have ever come across, see http://www.freetimesw.com/blueoakranch/pasturedpoultry/turkeyprocessing.htm
    Lots of pictures and very descriptive. They're doing a turkey, but it is the same thing.

    - Slit the throat or chop off the head, which one is better for the bird?

    Well, I'd have to say IMO that chopping off the head is quicker for the bird...chop...dead...then they flap.

    However, to get the best quality meat for your table, you really should slit the throat. Chopping off the head allows blood to suck back into the lungs and also they don't bleed out as completely. You want to have a waterhose on hand to hose the cut to keep the blood from coagulating. They go into shock, pass out and die within a few seconds cutting the throat. You don't cut all the way through, just slice the jugulars on either side. You can see how to do this on that website as well.

    Another thing I would highly recommend is that you buy or make a killing cone. It keeps the bird quiet, contained, and does not allow them to flop around and bruise the meat. I feel it is a little more humane for the bird to have as little upset in the process.

    Also, it is important to work quickly and quietly and cause the bird as little anxiety as possible. Anxiety releases a chemical reaction in the bird that causes the muscle to tense and will affect the quality of your meat.

    All meat has to come to the table in this way. Most people just don't know how it gets there. I feel good about raising my own meat because I know the animal was healthy, treated well, died respectfully and was processed cleanly. Good luck on your endeavors!
     
  3. Jessika

    Jessika Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 31, 2008
    Eagle Creek, OR
    I am no expert, just another backyard chicken lover.

    1) Hand plucking is no to hard, as long as you use the boiling water trick. I have gone to skinning instead. Super fast and less mess imo.

    2) The first time you kill your first chicken is the hardest. After tha you get a "Hey, I can so do this" rush because you just did 1. All the rest is easy. But don't get attached....that does make it harder. I just figure it was a way better life than the "grocery store chicken" gets, so even if I love them I do it.

    3 ) I take off feet (cuz head is gone already), lay it on it's back, then slit my knife in right above the gental, egg spot, whaterver you call it and start skinning. Wings I cut off and you basiclly peel the skin off inside out. Then I gut and butcher to pieces I need, or leave whole for baking. Less than 10 minutes a bird, 5 when I am focused.

    4) I use a chpping block and take the whole head off. I tie their feet at one end, head at the other (I have nails I use to tie them down to the stump) and 2 nails in a V where I place their neck. I am not a strong woman, nor good with an axe, but I get the job done. But their feet being ties you dont have to watch them run around the yard with out their head.

    Also tried cornish cross chickens and I was not impressed. This year we did 100 JM freedom rangers and they are mighty tastey and act like a "normal" chicken. We also butcher any accidental roosters.
     
  4. catfish/okie

    catfish/okie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Journeys post was great. I posted here for easy future reference.
     
  5. Chicks & Turks

    Chicks & Turks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Fayetteville, NC
    Quote:Journey as well as Jessika posted awesome information, thanks! And I'm glad you could benefit from this post too!
     
  6. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chicks & Turks :

    I have 2 broad breasted white turkeys now, they are 4 months old and we were wanting to keep them as pets before we learned they were meaties and keeping them healthy and happy would be difficult. We may butcher them when they get big. I was thinking of meat chickens though!

    I looked at frugal's thread that is stickied, lots of information. I have a few questions.

    - How hard is it to hand pluck?

    - Is it hard to butcher them, even if you didn't get attached?

    - How do you cut them open?

    - Slit the throat or chop off the head, which one is better for the bird?

    Any other advice is welcome.

    Keep in mind that ALL of your questions are very dependant on personal opinion, so you're going to get a bunch of answers, all of them correct. Here are mine:

    Hand plucking sucks. I built a plucker after I did my first batch of 25 birds, and it took me nearly an hour to clean each one. Granted, it was my first batch and I probably didn't have the scald right either, but it was very discouraging. With a $300 Whizbang plucker, I now do 2 birds in 15 seconds, CLEAN.

    -Follow Frugal's thread, and butchering is easy. It takes a bit to get used to so you are efficient, but it's not bad at all. Don't get attached.[​IMG]

    -Cut them open by making a small slice between the breastbone and the vent, then RIPPING it open. Ripping rather than cutting ensures that you don't cut into anything inside.

    -I put them in a cone and slit the throat, because it holds them still, protects them from breaking wings, and I think I get a better, less messy bleedout. Although, I sell the cones I use, so I'm biased towards that method.


    Study all the advice people post here, then do what seems like it will work for you. With some trial and error, you'll do fine.​
     

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