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turkey butchering questions

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by chickymama32, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. chickymama32

    chickymama32 Out Of The Brooder

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    So hubby and I have watched all the videos and read what to do for processing. He will be doing the killing and I will do the plucking. For me I would slit the throat vs. chop the head off of the turkey. Hubby wants to chop the head off. Can you do that with the turkeys like chickens? Is it better to slit?

    I have heard that if the animal is stressed right before kill the meat could be tough. Is this true? Experiences?

    And lastly to scald before pluck, would a large canning canner do the trick or think it would be too small? What are some of *the things you have used to scald the turkey in? I imagine the birds will be about 17-18lbs at butcher.
     
  2. Sustained

    Sustained Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Personally, I think chopping the head off is more humane. I've done both and slitting the throat can be a slow death if you're new to it and don't get the cuts placed right. You can chop the head off. I always make sure to sharpen my hatchet really well and make a very firm chop. Occasionally I've had to chop twice but if you're quick it's still a faster and more humane death than slitting the throat. Just remember to bleed your turkey thoroughly whichever way you go.

    I'm not sure about stress making the meat tough. I've never noticed that to be the case but I try very hard to make the process as calm and quick as possible. Age definitely has a part in meat toughness however.

    Again, I'm not sure about the scalder. Sorry. Hope someone can help. I've always just plucked while the bird is still warm and never had an issue. I know some people just skin rather than plucking to save time. I prefer to leave skin on.
     
  3. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've used a killing cone and "Pithing" (stabbing a knife up through the roof of the mouth and into the brain) before slitting the throat with meat chickens but have done hatchet "off with their heads" with the turkey's I've done so far (total of 6). This is partly because the cones I use are too small for turkeys. They are so strong that I have someone help hold on their side on the chopping block while I stretch out their heads and give a hard chop. We cut a corner out of a fabric laundry bag that I put over the turkeys head so that the neck sticks out the hole before I bring them to the block. This makes it easier to hold them still and hold them over the bucket to bleet out. Be warned that I have never gotten away with chopping off a turkey head without someone getting sprayed with blood before we get the turkey over the bucket.

    So far I've been able to get away with using the pot from a turkey fryer as a scalding pot but none of the turkeys I've done to date have been above 12 pounds. I think that is about the maximum weight turkey I can do with what I have. I need to find something bigger before I butcher the 4 remaining Bourbon Red toms I have left because I'm guessing they'll be 15+ pounds.

    Good luck.
     
  4. retlaw

    retlaw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After trying a few different ways of killing them I settled down with a .22 head shot.
    And then the axe.

    The biggest issue I had was to caught them with out chaos happening.

    They would fly around and hit things which ended up bruising them.
    And of course sending panic running through out the flock.
     
  5. Beer can

    Beer can Overrun With Chickens

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    My inlaws raised the giant whites, most dressed out around 25lbs!
    They left one hen in the barn and I kept feeding it. I asked them what they were going to do with it, and they told me I could have it, they were sick of butchering.
    They had a pair of long handled tree branch pruner loppers with a hooked head. I put it around its neck and,,,,,,,,the girl died a few years later of old age. I do think the tree pruner would work good though.
    I usually chop the heads clean off when I butcher chickens, I did have to resort to the .22 once, I couldn't do the deed, but I am a avid hunter and didn't have a problem pulling the trigger.
     
  6. Fetch33

    Fetch33 Out Of The Brooder

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    My husband shot this one with a .22. Then we hoisted him in a tree and bled him. His neck was so thick tha I didn't want to risk an axe blow. He dressed out at 42 lbs. Scaulding was done in a big Rubbermaid tub.
     
  7. Beer can

    Beer can Overrun With Chickens

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    After reading your post I realized I was off on the weight of my inlaws turks, I asked her and she said they were all over 40lbs dressed! Didn't fit in a turkey fryer. They have a small wholesale bakery with a wood fired brick oven, they cooked their turkeys in that. They were just as tender and juicy as store bought but the skin was weird, tough. She raised the bronze before and said they didn't get as big.
     
  8. chickymama32

    chickymama32 Out Of The Brooder

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    That is a big bird! Mine will probably be 20-25 at butcher time.
     
  9. msgoldielocks

    msgoldielocks New Egg

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    Hi can I add a question? Is processing turkeys basically the same as chickens? All the organs in the same place? I've done chickens but this will be my first year butchering turkeys.
    Our first year butchering chickens we slit their necks and used a killing cone. The second year an ax. I think hubby preferred the quickness of the ax.
     
  10. Beer can

    Beer can Overrun With Chickens

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    Yup, everything is the same, only bigger. I prefer the ax also, but a cone keeps them from flopping around and bruising themeselves. The first turkey my mother inlaw chopped the head off last year got away from us and flopped end for end down her driveway for about 50 yards, she was mad at us but we couldn't catch it. It did have some bruising.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014

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